Review on India (from a cycling point of view)

HONK! HONK HONK! HOOOOOONK! That’s briefly what I remember from India. However, for those who want something more, here is my full summary of it:

(I cycled from Mumbai to Nepali border crossing. Mostly I used four line highways, one third I spent on smaller roads. Total cycling duration was 17 days and around 2000km)

Landscape:

My journey was 98% flat. It was green, with some nice river crossings, but otherwise nothing special. I took one or two pictures of India’s landscapes.

Roads:

Highways were in OK condition, although with  some poorly planned diversions. Smaller roads were mostly in poor condition, after rain they were very muddy. The best sections I had were on freshly paved small roads, but on those I rode only around 80km. Roads through small towns and villages are the worst. I got four punctures in India. I had zero before coming to India.

Traffic:

This is the biggest minus in India. The driving culture. They don’t drive fast, but they are loud and smelly. My last post gave a good picture how they use their horns here.

 

People:

Lots. Curious. Staring. You stop, you have 5-20 men surrounding your bicycle. They shout out you (sometimes politely “hello”, sometimes just a plain shout), laugh at you , but mostly  follow you with their staring eyes.  If you need help, they are mostly helpful and friendly. It’s a gamble to ask directions though.

Very annoying feature was their cycling. One day I realized that half of the time (that’s 1000km) I had somebody always trying to follow me. No matter if I was riding 12km/h or 25km/h, they just slowed down or speeded up to keep up with me. Only at the speed of 35km/h I managed to lose them. They of course tried their best to catch me, but their squeaky one speed Hercules or Atlas-cycles couldn’t match my 14-speed Rohloff.

Costs:

Cheapest place I’ve ever been. I stayed most of the night in hotels, ate outside and surfed internet daily with 10e/day budget. The rooms weren’t always so good, but most of them had cable TV, toilet and a shower. Each of them were big enough to set up a tent in. That I did to keep the mosquitoes and other creatures (f.e. lizards and rats) out of my sleeping bag.

Other:

There are many bicycle repair shops in India, didn’t see any with proper bicycle parts.

Camping was extremely difficult, only once I found a place where I felt nobody would come to disturb me.

Food is very spicy. There are only big cities with western food, and shops have only limited goods. I didn’t use my camping stove at all in India.

Total rank: 1,25

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4 Comments

  1. Posted December 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    hi lukas,
    so india was very special but a mixed experience as i understand.
    i am keen on your up-coming reports on nepal and – tibet!
    take care!
    herbert

  2. Mikko K
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hahhah! Repesin totaalisesti tossa kohdassa, jossa kiihdytät seuraajista eroon 😀 Se piirtyi oitis mieleen terävänä kuin ruosteinen mora! Tosi pitkällä oot jo. Hyvää joulua ja Uutta vuotta! Mä lähen Egyptiin viettämään molempia. Upeita fotoja taas kerran sulla! Elämäniloa! Peace

  3. Dave Edwards
    Posted April 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hahaha, yeah India is a wierd place thats difficult to describe in words alone; you just have to see it to believe it. Love reading the blog 🙂

    • Posted April 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your comment 🙂
      Indeed. I want to go back there one day… but without my bicycle!

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