Day 36 – Haripad to Marthandam

Today was good, not great, then good.. so that works out good overall I guess.

The morning started off well and was really good to ride. Nothing of note really happened though so I don’t have much to say about it. Something I am wondering about though is the influence of communism in India. The past few days, I’ve seen a lot of flags and banners with the hammer and sickle on it and even a few pictures of Stalin. Is this just a certain party trying to get noticed, or is the south of the country actually this way inclined? If anyone knows I’d like to know.

-Anyway, change of subject-
It’s not really a secret that India can be a pretty dirty place. I don’t mean that in a rude way but hygiene really isn’t quite as prominent as in the other countries I’ve been through. So when a local comments on the state of your clothes – pretty much out of the blue – it’s probably a sign to change. It was only 2 nights ago that I said I was considering wearing the same t-shirt for the whole of India; I am now not as keen on the idea. I hit 1000 miles in India today, which is a pretty big milestone for one t-shirt anyway. I’ll wear it tomorrow but after that I’m not so sure.. Either way, Mum and Dad, you probably don’t need to worry about me wanting to send it home.

Just after the halfway mark, the day went slightly downhill. I entered a fairly big town (I can’t remember the name) and the traffic was almost at a complete standstill. If it was England, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem on a bike, but in India it’s a different story and whilst I was faster than the cars, it was really slow progress. I also came very close to coming off my bike. I hit a patch of sand/dirt when weaving around a pothole and completely lost the front wheel. I actually still can’t figure out how I managed to stay up… Maybe the shaved legs have given me superpowers.

The last third of the ride was brilliant. The last couple of days have been extremely flat. This has been great for my speed and made the days pass very easily, but today I was glad to have a few climbs. They weren’t anything very big but for the last 30 miles it was fairly up and down and I really put some effort in. My legs felt better than they have on this whole trip so far and I was loving it. The only downside, I suddenly really missed riding with other people. There was part of me today that really wanted a bit of competition with someone other than myself. My body is tired – no doubt about that – but I’m feeling fitter than ever and my recovery is really getting good. I pushed hard today, and sitting here now, my legs feel fine. 100 miles has also been easier to take mentally the last few days; probably something to do with the speed.

India did get a bit confused at one point towards the end. I got rained on. It wasn’t a massive downpour though so it didn’t clean me that much. What it did do, is prove that shaving my legs has worked. All the muck of the day started easily sliding off my legs. The problem with this, is that it all slid down towards and soaked into my socks – which today were white. Well I say they were white, they were pretty filthy already but they’re definitely not white anymore.

Anyway today has been a good day. 1000 Indian miles ticked off and tomorrow I go through the southern most point of India. I’ve discovered that working in metric and imperial is good; it gives me two sets of milestones.

Distance: 102.49miles / 164.9km
Riding Time: 6:50:36
Av. Speed: 15.0mph / 24kph

5 Replies to “Day 36 – Haripad to Marthandam”

  1. Tom today my reply will be a bit scholarly. I and Grandma were just as surprised as you were about the influence of Communism. Kerala is a Communist State not perhaps as you understand that phrase but simply that is the way it is run by the Communist party, there is another such State later, on your trip, but I have forgotten which and where. To you it is not a problem they are so for the reason that they are in fact Tamil Indians. It is they who populated Ceylon and they are ( and that is said to make them an Indian problem) I am being as careful as I can in my choice of words. They will have no trouble with you and you will find them just as courteous as another others, very interested in what you are doing etc. We went to a little school the kind that you have taught at, very lively, excitable and very normal. The Communism is Historic and at times, very vocal and in many ways not without reason, their regions probably do not get enough funding. There is one other thing, I hope you have not past through it yet, unfortunately we have forgotten the name of the particular town. This is where the TSUNAMI hit that part of India a few years ago. If you can imagine the bottom segment of India above Trivandrum ( I hope that is right where the Airport is), there is the small town that has a memorial!!! It is a train still on rails that was swept over by the Tsunami and it is the area where so many people disappeared. There is another memorial virtually on the roadside it is a very moving place to be. It does bring home the kind of happening that leaves it’s mark on your memory. One other thing that came to mind, it is about washing clothes, has it occurred to you when you see school children in the morning they always seem to be dressed( Boys and Girls) in bright White shirts and dark shorts, the reason is that each day after school as soon as they get home those clothes are washed and dried for the next day. It is a sobering thought that those who have so little should consider that so important. I hope you do not mind my little notes to you as they are, especially for me, being able to respond to you and reading your messages to Grandma, it gives us a constant reminder of what we have seen on our travels. All our good wishes and Love from Grandma & Granddad XXX


  2. Drat looks like my last comment never made your page, probably an error on my part, anyway it was something to do with the fact you have now done two 35 days, unless I am reading in error. Your speed is nuts, I want some of what you have Tom, please send in a bottle or whatever it is you are consuming, 1000 mile marker, brilliant progress, well done.


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