Day 34 – Thalassery to Guruvayoor

Today, like the last few days, has been good. Although as always, not everything went exactly to plan.

This morning I was prepared for the lack of breakfast. I had a (fairly big) bowl of rice to eat that I’d ordered from room service the night before. It was cold and not all that interesting but it did the job. The ride also started off well and I quickly notched up 50 kilometres. In fact the whole first half of the day flew by.

At one point I cycled through Kozhikode – which is a fairly big place – and as expected, the traffic was manic. Luckily, I’d had a change of heart and I really enjoyed riding through it. I’ve come to realise over the last week; that in order to survive an Indian road, you must drive (or ride) like an Indian. Now I didn’t quite go that far, but I did stop riding as I would in England (or any sane country for that matter). Now in case you come to India and rent a car, I feel I should elaborate on this piece of advice:

– DO NOT copy them when they stop in the middle of the road, pull out without looking, drive on the wrong side of the road or do a U-turn in a tuk-tuk (they have the worst turning circle of any vehicle ever invented).

– DO make noise at everything (if you have a horn use that – otherwise shout), ignore the existence of lane markings, assume you have right of way even when you don’t (sounds like a bad idea but you’ll get nowhere if you let braver/stupider people in front of you)

Now when I hit 50 miles, I had to get a short ferry across a river. After a rather tricky conversation with a local he told me where to go and buy a ticket.. Which I did.
I then asked another person (thankfully he spoke English) what time the ferry leaves; to which the reply was: ”it doesn’t”. As it turned out, the ferry was undergoing maintenance and I’d gone and bought a ticket to look round the port, which I did for approximately 0 minutes. This did slightly dampen my mood I’ll be honest but after a bit of a detour, I managed to get across a bridge and join up with my route.

Once I did, I was flying along. My legs felt great and it was the fastest I’ve ridden since the one or two days I had a tailwind early on in Europe (no tailwind today though; just power!)

The final couple of hours were still fast, but the pain in my feet returned quite badly so it did become a bit of an ordeal. In the final few miles I suddenly found the road blocked by 5 elephants, and in front of them, a lot of people who’d decided to start a festival. There were 10 elephants in total and a lots of brightly coloured Indians. It took about 15 minutes to walk my bike through the festivities – I have no idea what all the other traffic did, so I guess I was actually quite lucky. Despite the delay, it was exciting to see, and had I not been with my bike and covered in half of India’s dirt, I might have stopped for a while.

In all, today has been another enjoyable day. The roads were good and the people friendlier than ever

Pleased with today:
Distance: 104.52miles / 168.3km
Riding Time: 6:49:24
Av. Speed: 15.3mph / 24.6kph

3 Replies to “Day 34 – Thalassery to Guruvayoor”

  1. Tom, congratulations you are getting the hang of Indian life (normal life) it makes one realise that our understanding of their way of life is far removed from reality. Their standards,expectations and standards of living in fact everything, bears no relation to anything we are accustomed to. I would say that later on you will look back and realise how much you you have taken into your own thinking and trying to balance the two oh so different worlds. Don’t worry about the dirt, that will wash off. Buy the odd T shirt and wash it when you can and give it away when you feel it is worn out, believe me someone will be grateful for it. Travel safely, love from Grandma and Granddad XXXX


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