– ODO- 11125 – 11249
– Location- New Dehli, India
– Weather- 13-21 Smog through the morning
For my last day into Delhi, I only had 120km to ride so I cancelled my alarm and slept in that extra hour in my highway-side hotel. I woke to a thick smog that rolled out from the city to meet me, even this far away on the edge of the geographic bowl that surrounds it. I packed up my kit, donned my visibility vest and as many flashing bike lights as I could clip onto my bags and headed out on to the road. Within seconds my leg hair, eyebrows and any exposed Velcro beaded with moisture. The highways were smooth and damp. Every few minutes a truck, car or tractor would rumble from the mist beside me. Thankfully this road had a nice big hard shoulder.
Since leaving Pondicherry I covered 2,500km. The largest leg in India so far. The first few days on the road I didn’t enjoy myself that much. The coastal regions are flat but very overpopulated. I chose to take highways exclusively this leg to make sure I had access to food but initially this caused issues with places to camp. Once I got past Chennai and headed out into the centre of the country things changed. The highways began to wander through large open forests full of monkeys. I was left alone with the occasional truck. Rarely any mopeds or even busses. Over the last few weeks, I’ve slept under the trees and under the stars. Alone but for the mice nibbling my bread crumbs. I’ve sat among truckers and eaten dal and roti with them. I’ve been invited to rest on open string beds in the shade under trees. I’ve settled into my body and fitness to make up to 160km per day without (much) complaint about unending strings of days. I can handle speaking to people, buying food, finding a hotel or a campsite and navigating city, village and highway traffic just as I did in London. I’m at home in India, just in time for me to leave.