Had I written this a few hours ago, it would’ve been me hurling abuse at the Indian drivers. I have since calmed down a bit so I’ll restrict it to a paragraph. That’ll come a bit later.
The morning was overall quite good. The road quality started off pretty poor but improved again after about 10 miles. I met a guy called Walter who was also cycling the coast; although he was going the other way and didn’t seem overly impressed by the country. Even so, it was nice to talk to someone who’s first language was English.
A bit further on, I also had I guy on a scooter drive next to me and start a conversation with me. He ended up staying for about 20 minutes and it was quite nice to have some company. Only problem was, he kept asking me about advice on his idea to move to London and I really don’t think I was very helpful. He also asked if I was married… which is something I’ve never been asked before.
The afternoon was a bit mixed. I had a bit of trouble with the route and ended up going up and down a few very steep climbs, only to reach a dead end and have to go back. It wasn’t too bad but it added about 40 minutes and not much distance to my day.
It was the last bit that was a pain – cycling through Kannur (which is quite a big place). I genuinely can’t get my head round the driving here.. how that many people can think it’s acceptable to drive like they do just baffles me. I think there was more common sense in the year 3 class I taught in the Autumn than in all the drivers in that town. I also can’t figure out who (if anyone) has right-of-way at roundabouts. It pretty much comes down to a game of chicken. Which, when you know that’s the case, actually isn’t so bad; although I’m yet to win against a truck. The fact that I was constantly looking out for idiotic cars meant I wasn’t looking at my GPS and ended up going the wrong way. This tipped me over the edge a tad and caused a bit of road-rage. To be fair to myself, I’m not sure it was really road rage, it was more like I’ve-nearly-died-a-million-times-rage and probably quite justified.
I finally made it out and the final 10kms were actually not too bad. A lot of anger went into my pedals for that stretch so it actually passed quite quickly. That was until I got stopped at a train track crossing.
On a lighter note, I’m in a fairly nice hotel, and have a bed that I’m happy to sleep in without a sleeping bag for once.
Lastly: when I started off riding in India, I wasn’t sure how acceptable lycra would be. For this reason, I’ve been wearing some gym shorts over my cycling shorts and have swapped my tight jersey for a white t-shirt. Since halfway through the first day, this t-shirt has been a disgusting colour (it has been washed – sort of – every night but even so). Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lycra jersey would not be a problem (not sure about the shorts) but I’ve now worn this t-shirt every day for a week and it is already destined for a bin. Because of this, I think I’m going to keep wearing it; and if I manage to wear it every day in India, I think I may have it framed
Distance: 102.16miles / 164.4km
Riding Time: 7:17:49
Av. Speed: 14.0mph / 22.5kph