Monday, 17 May 2010

What the hell am I doing in India? - Genesis of the Commonwealth Challenge Part 2

The story continues where the last blog left off, Glasgow airport.....

Heartbreak had led me to Glasgow airport, impulsiveness had resulted in a flight being booked to India and lack of preparation had sent me straight back home again.

I didn't have a Indian visa, why did I need one? I was sure I didn't. This can be explained by my hours and hours of planning that I put into this trip. Basically ten days before the start of this trip I found out I had five weeks worth of holidays that had to be taken . So I looked out for cheap flights somewhere in the world. Delhi just by chance happened to be the start location, the Himalayas the end goal. EASY! Planning done. I am sure that is how all Himalayan adventurers do it isn't it!? Ah well apparently not no, no visa meant no flight for me.

Four days later I arrived in Delhi. Though Pinny (aka my bike) hadn't arrived she was a little lost. As for Delhi I must say I was not that impressed by the place. Very dirty, very polluted, crappy buildings everywhere. I went on a crappy tour to see a bit more of the place. The tour tried to show me the difference between "old" Delhi and "new" Delhi. To the untrained eye it both looks the same, dirty and run down. Not much here for the tourist I thought.

In hindsight I do believe I was first off badly jet lagged in Delhi and secondly not in the right frame of mind to go and explore the place. To be honest for the three days that I had there I spent the majority of the time in the hotel room. So I am not really sure that I got to experience the place properly. So when I arrive there for the Delhi 2010 games I think I will be able to give a better evaluation of the city.

So Pinny arrived a day later, phew. That relief wasn't felt for long though. After I started to sort her for the road I realized that Emirates had beat her up pretty bad. Cheers. The rear wheel was in a bad state so I had to try and sort it out. Not being that good at fixing mechanical problems I successfully made it worse. I should have just left it, so the only solution I had was to disconnect the rear brakes. Good start.

It was now time to start the ride to EBC and the first stop would be Agra the home of the Taj Mahal over 130 miles away. When I went to bed to get some sleep I must say I was feeling a bit nervous about the challenge ahead. Every local I had spoke to said I must be crazy for trying to cycle to Agra. "The roads are too dangerous and full of drunk drivers". This was the normal comment and didn't fill me with confidence.

When it was 1.30a.m I just decided to get ready and go and then I was off. Next stop Agra. It was dark, of course but the roads were completely dead. Just I had planned, problem was I wasn't really sure where I was heading. But two random locals on a motor bike solved that problem and gave me an escort to the road I was looking for. It did come at a cost though, I had to stand and pose for pictures with him and a few of his friends? This would happen a lot as it turned out!

Nine hours later i had cover 132 miles and had made it to Agra. Now you are probably wondering how I managed to do 132 miles in nine hours. Now i'm not going to lie it was not all down to my effort. Even though I did cycle every mile of the route, I did have some help. I formed a team with the local truck drivers and what a team we were! They would drive along at an average of 22 miles an hour and I would sit in their slip stream. Amazing. The highlight was slip streaming at an average of 28 miles an hour for nearly an hour. Brilliant.

Before I knew it I had made it to Agra. No drunk drivers had hit me, though the driving style was really starting to do my head in! There is only so much horn beeping you can take after a night of cycling with no sleep. So just before cycle rage took full grip I found the hotel. Checked out the amazing view of the Taj Mahal from the roof and went to bed. Success.

The next day I would start the journey to Nepal with my hand drawn map. Should be easy...

Monday, 10 May 2010

A Kick in the Balls

A kick in the balls for me has two meanings. First off it is a rather delicious cocktail that can cause a few embarrassing moments after one too many. Secondly it is that unwanted moment when contact from a swinging foot connects with a gentleman’s private region. The results being a feeling of surprise agony and for all others involved humorous pain to enjoy.

The planning stage of expeditions is much like this. Just when you think that everything is going fine and that is going to be worth it. Out of nowhere a flying foot makes a sweet crunching connection with the crotch area. This brings everything to a halt. Questions are asked about motivations to go ahead with the idea and confidence in ability is doubted.

But rest assured this apparently is just part of the fun. Even worse than that, it appears to be quite a common factor involved with starting up adventures. The ups and downs in progress in the planning stage are the norm. It is often mentions that the first step is the hardest to take. I sure can’t wait to get started and the easy part can begin.

For the time being though getting to the starting line is still the struggle. I have been working away at getting all the appropriate visas. But the Russia visa is not very straight forward. I really do wonder why some countries have issues given visas if you are on a bike. Really, what can one guy and a bike do?

I have also updated the website. You can now find details about my previous expeditions and both of my cycling film documentaries are also on the site. I am also working on getting a video diary onto the site and maybe a few other short films. So there is still more to come.

Soon I will get back to finishing off the genesis of the commonwealth challenge story. It really is the key to explaining my motivations. Plus I will give more details about Challenge FIVE -During the world cycle I am trying to form the world’s largest cycle team. Basically I need 10,500 people to join me for a 5 mile cycle to achieve this goal!

So for the time being I will be dodging those flying kicks as best I can and trying to spread the word about the challenge. Feel free to invite your friends to join the Challenge team!

A Kick in the Balls (the cocktail not the ball ache from a swift kick)

Cocktail Ingredients: Morgan’s Spiced, Vodka, Brown Sugar, Mint leaves, Fresh Lime, Orange and Mango Juice and Crushed Ice.

1.Add the mint leaves and a large spoonful of brown sugar into a highball glass.
2.Fill the glass to the top with crushed ice.
3.Add a generous amount of Morgan’s Spiced.
4.Add a good dash of Vodka.
5.Flavour with orange and mango juice and a hint of lime juice.
6.Give a good stir and enjoy.