- ODO: 6229
- Location: Raigarh
- Weather: 29-36 Dusty and polluted
My next adventure on the bike has come after another long break working out of co-working spaces. I was apprehensive leaving from the dirty, smelly and polluted streets of Mumbai. A memory of my second ever cycle trip across France. Stepping off the Eurostar train and riding out in the rush hour on 4 lane highways streaming past the airport. Camping out in a few bushes outside someone’s house when full exhaustion hit. But this mornings riding has been a nice surprise. The road not nearly as potholes as I expected. The cars relaxed. Horns signalling; “I’m here”, “I’m overtaking”, “I’ve overtaken”. There’s no anger on the drivers here. Shouts from drivers aren’t curses they’re greetings. The bike here is a tool for transport. The dabbawala’s have been navigating the streets here for a hundred years before me and shift a truck load of fruit or rice or pipes through the narrow streets with just one gear.
Within the first 5 hours I fixed a bulging tyre, found water, filled my stove tank with petrol and left the sprawl of Mumbai for somewhat quieter highways snaking through small towns. As I write I’m sitting well fed at a veg restaurant. This country is a vegetarian dream. The majority of people are vegetarian. Everything, even McDonalds, is clearly marked with a green dot for veg or red dot for meat. Eggs with a grey dot. Before leaning the city I filled my bags to the brim with baked beans, cheese, bread and biscuits in case I couldn’t find any trustworthy places to eat along the road. It’s too early to tell with today’s lunch but of all is well I can ditch the kilos of supplies and stuff my face each day with fresh food that puts any English curry house to shame. And all for £2 per meal.
The heat is something else. I’ve cycled in a heatwave in Southern Spain. So hot that I sweated through to my roll mat while sleeping in the shade at midday. Here the air temperatures seems lower on my thermometer – if only by a few degrees – but the shear strength of the afternoon sun scorches the skin to a level of brown I normally achieve after a week on a Mediterranean beach. That does mean I need to rest in the middle of the day. My eyes are drooping so I think I’ll have a lay down.