Tag Archive for India Bike Challenge

Ops Manager Jo’s Rajasthan Cycle Diary, Day 7 !

The final 100km cycle from Ranthambore to Jaipur via Bhanderej took us through two days of new scenery and continued surprise for how unique this cycle really is. Venturing into parts of Rajasthan where the kids are running from their schools to the side of the road shouting ‘white man’ and ‘crazy’! Tourists in these parts just do not exist.

After a night Glamping, ‘another’ early rise for our Tiger safari in Ranthambhore National Park. With only 33 Tigers in a 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub we knew that the chance of sighting the Tigers would be an exclusive one. With one sighting in Five we had a good chance but unfortunately for us footprints were as close as we were going to get.  This however was fine for all of us as we witnessed the courting walk of two antelope and were surrounded by deer, wild Boar and the chance to cruise around in a safari truck for a few hours before putting ourselves back on the bikes.

I have to say one of the highlights of the Challenge is the food, and that includes the packed lunches. The  food is delicious and there’s lots of it, but then the calories burnt on the cycle justifies the amount you can eat. With lunch on the bus we are transferred a short distance to the start of the cycle today where our amazing support team, Matt, Vineet, Naveen, Raju, Baba (our mechanic) and Bhola are waiting for us.

We soon discover that the Safari has made us a little sluggish and its taking some time to get the legs working. After 45km of better roads than yesterday’s Sahara Cycle, we cycle into the grounds of the Maharajas Palace. With a few more aches and pains today we have some real troopers; Sue has been an inspiration to us all this week, Moyra pushing through with an earache that’s taking its toll and Kate who’s knee is progressively being a pain. Vineet is going the extra mile and offers to push Kate up the hill which she declines and so seeing as the offer is out there, I choose to take it up instead(after all why not – Kate you missed out there !!.) Tonight sees many retire to their beds fairly early in preparation for the final days Challenge and evening Celebrations.

All raring to go after a good nights’ sleep for our final days Cycle we set off and within an hour we are starting to see some different scenery. With the sight of rolling hills we are a little apprehensive that we may have to cycle one of these but soon discover that the few days we have had with hills previously, we’ve dropped our gears and pushed through it. We are however relieved to know that we are cycling between the hills and enter a lush tropical environment where the roads are quiet and palm trees line the route with monkeys and cows lurking. We suddenly feel like we are cycling through a tropical paradise for our final 10km leg to the finish line. As we regroup for our finale km cycle we hear drums and clapping and as we approach up over the hill we are welcomed by Sian and Vasante and a team of drummers at the finishing line in Jaipur.

We celebrate at lunch with some relieved it’s over, others sad its come to an end, but  all proud of  what we have accomplished this week. Feasting once again on delicious food and a well-deserved beer we relax and reflect on the week. The afternoon brings shopping for some and a snooze and freshen up for others before we come to the end of our week with our last night dinner and dance. Six days cycling and 430km has flown by leaving us with new friends and lifelong memories. What an incredible experience of India. Thank You to Sian and the team for their Support and each individual in the group for being  team players and supporting each other through the challenge including the jokers (you know who you are ) who kept spirits high and continued to hide pieces of my bicycle at each break stop. You should all be very proud of yourselves.

You can also find out more about the challenge she is embarking on – The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge! – by clicking here. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all our challenge news, please subscribe to this blog. You can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Ops Manager Jo’s Rajasthan Cycle Diary, Day 6!

Another early rise to head off just as the sun rises, although today we have a slightly warmer start to the day. Leaving from the Maharajas Palace, Matt picks up the pace from yesterday so we have a chance to warm up, and then throws us in at the deep end to ease the tenderness of our bodies form the day before. With Raju supporting the back of the group, he finds that on today’s cycle more of us seem to stay back and chat with him…maybe due to his charming personality, or perhaps it’s because  of yesterday gruelling ride taking its toll on our bodies and energy levels.

A busy start again through Karauli.  Today’s eye captures the excitement of the trucks with their colours and decorations. After our first snack break we hit some road works which had dumped the whole of the Sahara desert on our Rajasthan route! 20kms of cycling through soft deep sand was an unexpected experience. As the thighs start to burn, we slip and slide and the chatting comes to a halt as our concentration grows

10 hours in, and the afternoon becomes slightly more manageable on the road, we reach our Hotel in preparation for our Ranthambore Tiger Safari tomorrow morning. Another 5.30 am start for us – ouch! But maybe we will spot some Tigers?? Check tomorrow to find out…

So To hear more updates from Jo in India, stay tuned to this blog! Whilst she’s out in country, you can get in touch and follow Jo via her twitter feed at @jojowarren82

you can also find out more about the challenge she is embarking on – The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge! – by clicking here. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all our challenge news, please subscribe to this blog. You can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Ops Manager Jo’s Rajasthan Cycle Diary, Day 5!

We finally arrived after our long haul 113km cycle at Hotel Bhanwarvilas Palace; the most magnificent Maharajas Palace. We checked in and checked out all the rooms with awe. A quick massage for some and sitting by the fire in the courtyard with the Maharajas Son reflecting on the day. 

Cycling from Keoladeo National Park to Karauli is where we really saw it all! With only 5 punctures and an eventful day for Caroline as seemingly events come in threes, a near miss with a moped, two punctures and to top it all off a locked wheel taking Rick out as locals were mesmerised by his bright orange top coming tumbling down! The experience today I have to say was a once in a lifetime. The mix of scenery and experiences on the road just kept on changing.

We set off as the sun rose at 6.30am to a cool crisp ride up a quiet road (as really who is up at 6.30?!). We really became thankful for being here in December. The evenings may be cool but the days are beautiful, fresh with a warm sun.

We soon  approached the first village to a run of kids high fiving as we cycle by, shouting ‘ta ta’, ’ta ta’ (bye bye) and busloads of school children  waving and taking pictures on their mobile phones(yes mobile phones).  Averaging 22km an hour yesterday, today after 3 hours of cycling, we have knocked that down to 18km as the roads turn from sand to rough tarmac, busy villages and plenty of road hog as well as buffalos and lazy dogs. Pot holes and then random speed bumps are also situated too frequently for our liking. Although India on the roads is chaos it’s an organised chaos and the vehicles, people and animals move at a crawl. So the need for speed bumps just beats me!! To overcome this, Vineet teaches us the bunny hop  – well tries to teach us, as we are not doing too well at it, but we still have 3 days to go to practise to ease the rest of the challenge.

With Camels to the right and buffalo with the indian flag painted on their horns to the right, the hours fly by, village after village with colours, people, music, tuc tucs, ‘hellos’ after hellos’ just makes time fly until we hit our 78km mark after a 5 hour ride in a quaint clearing in the grounds of a temple. We park our bikes and stop for a much needed lunch as we turn to see 10’s of people crawling out the woodwork to innocently watch the ‘aliens’ sitting near their land. Their faces express ‘who are these people?’, ‘ what are they doing?’. “Tum Kaha Ja Rahe Ho?” which means ‘where are you going’ as we jump up and back on our bikes to head off to complete the reminder of our 113km day.

As we stop for a water fill and snack in the middle of nowhere, within 5 minutes we find ourselves surrounded by children and teenagers. Where have they come from??! I go off for the toilet and return to find my saddle has disappeared from my bike. If they think I’m cycling with no saddle they have another thing coming! So we have a joker in the group but no volunteers. Sometimes when something is right under your nose you don’t spot it, so I later rather than sooner discover it is sitting on top of the support truck, but still with no volunteers to who was the culprit…….Rick!!
As I’m searching for my seat I turn around and Laura is surrounded by children analysing her ‘heinz bake beans t- shirt’. From here on during the day no matter where we are we can spot Rick with his orange and Laura with her Heinz baked bean tshirt…winner of the fashion statement of the week so far!

So heading off we cycle past a lush oasis, such a contrast from the dusty off the beaten tracks we have been cycling so far. Our final 45km leg after lunch challenged us with an undulating terrain and our last leg of a steep climb dropping our gear to its lowest. We start to descend but we are still pushing hard in a low gear as Rachel states ‘this road is covered in treacle!’ Out later discussions of why we were cycling downhill but it still being so tough was due to an optical illusion, treacle on the roads or some sort of gravity force!!! Or were we just all tired!

To hear more updates from Jo in India, stay tuned to this blog! Whilst she’s out in country, you can also get in touch and follow Jo via her twitter feed at @jojowarren82

you can also find out more about the challenge she is embarking on – The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge! – by clicking here. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all our challenge news, please subscribe to this blog. You can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Ops Manager Jo’s Rajasthan Cycle Diary, Day 4!

A quick transfer back to Gulistan Tourist Complex this morning to pick up our bikes,

our lovely guide Vasanti is a a strong commanding negotiator and puts the boys in their place and negotiates the coach into the complex without any hassles so we are on the road on time.

With Vineet leading the show and Raoul supporting the pack from behind we set off out of Fatephur Sikri to get back into the hustle and bustle of the Indian Roads. As we are moving further away from Agra the villages we pass through welcome us with ‘hello’, and the children run and wave alongside us,  and men on mopeds and bikes slow down in harmless curiosity to ride alongside us asking ‘what are you doing?’, Where are you going? And “Why?” (Doubtlessly in confusion as to why in this world we would be cycling when surely we can afford a car!).

In India the Cow is Sacred hence it does what it wants when it wants, which Hitesh soon established as he is nearly taken out by one. The cow is the head of the household and also, apparently something we were not warned so much on, ‘rules the road’. So if that’s not enough, Hitesh seems to want to get his falls over and done with and manages to somehow take himself out this time at the snack break just standing still and then again later on into the ride.

We cycle through the village until we reach some back roads where we step down a gear for some ‘off roading’ as we cycle through the sand dunes that make up the rest of what is left of this road. For me personally I think this is great and it gives you a chance to take your bum off the seat and ease the pain as you struggle through the soft sand and rocks. For others they seem to get a little over confident and feel the need to complicate the whole process by battling the sand and navigating around the rocks whilst with one hand off the handle bars taking photos of those behind them. Now there is one lesson to be learnt from this, and one thing that is evidently  going to happen, and yes Richard soon learns that as he falls face down in the sand with the bicycle neatly intertwined between legs and arms. All in all this was a graceful and harmless fall from him, I think his camera suffered the most (poor thing). Rich was left with no scars but an awful look of orange fake tan, unlike Hilary who decided today was the day to get more acquainted with the locals and threw herself into a crowd of them suffering a few war wounds to the legs.

While Hilary is having her moments with the locals, Hiten is chatting again to the children in his pigeon Hindi, as a young boy is checking out his bike whilst on the way to School. The Kids journey to school on a rickety old bike is 50km each way every day. The boy says to Hiten that he has really nice gears and Hiten explains that he doesn’t need gears as his gears are in his legs and the boy replies ‘my gears are in my head’. That certainly gave us the motivation we needed to complete the cycle today, as the boy is quite right, no matter how many gears you have, the source of the power comes from your mind and if we maintain mind over matter this week then we will complete our 430k with no problems!

The Afternoon is spent with an additional cycle to Keolodeo National Park adding 13km to the challenge, totalling 101km so far in two days! So I think everyone is a little apprehensive about doing that distance plus some in one day tomorrow… an early rise for sure and a long day ahead.  The evening is spent with some traditional dancing in the courtyard to loosen the muscles for a good night’s sleep, so hopefully we’ll wake up with ease for our 120km ride tomorrow!

So To hear more updates from Jo in India, stay tuned to this blog! Whilst she’s out in country, you can get in touch and follow Jo via her twitter feed at @jojowarren82

you can also find out more about the challenge she is embarking on – The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge! – by clicking here. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all our challenge news, please subscribe to this blog. You can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Ops Manager Jo’s Rajasthan Cycle Diary, Day 2 & 3

So we’ve arrived at Bharatpur after a busy day yesterday spent in Agra visiting the Taj Mahal, jaw aching for its magnificence, but also very noteworthy for the endless amounts of photos taken in front of it to fill a family album for a life time… You have to really don’t you it’s the Taj Mahal… you never know when you will be back!

An afternoon of bike fittings adjusting saddles, testing the brakes – thank god they work! Is followed by an early dinner, a briefing on the rules of the road from the guides… It seems there are none! Just ring your bell endlessly and just keep going… oh wait I forgot one ‘do not under any circumstances stop under a bridge with a moving train above unless its good luck to have someone’s bowels deposited over you, and I’m pretty sure it’s not very lucky!!

So with a more respectable wake up time than on day 1, and a peaceful sleep until the calling for prayer at 5.30, we breakfast and are on the road out of Agra. With only Nescafe offered at breakfast we were soon to realis

e that the caffeine fix hit us in the form of complete ‘organised’ chaos on the roads of Agra. It was a close call on many an occasion with Marcus wedged between two tuc tucs trying to be ahead of the game, horns beeping, cycles, tuc tucs, busses and cows all weaving their way in no order what’s so ever! Half an hour and we are out of the chaos of Agra to find ourselves cycling along a pleasant stretch of road… well so we thought. To describe pleasant on this cycle is to say that the roads are tarmacked and the end result of the day is that we can still sit down on a chair for dinner. We stop 20km in for a snack break to be welcomed by our support team. We build up a bit of speed having a chin wag to your fellow cyclist, every so often swopping partners like musical chairs. Suzanne dec

ided that she likes her chin wag partner so much that she falls into Toms arms … Unfortunately they are cycling at the time and both took a little tumble. Only a few scratches thankfully!

The days passes on and then there we are enjoying the lush yellow fields of mustard and taking in our first experience cycling in

India and then …..HONK!!  They (our fellow Indian road uses) seemingly creep up on you and then sound their horn at its loudest just as you’re least expecting it, Leaving you with a wobble! The adventure continues, we have been told by our guides  to‘keep on the left’..but on the left is a tractor racing along (and when I mean left, I mean its driving up the highway in the opposite direction!)And so you swerve to miss the tractor and then find yourself back to your pleasant leisurely cycle with now a couple India boys cycling along with their school racks looking at you like you have just stepped straight out off the planet Mars!

In India cycling is the lowest class of transport. Any Indian who had to cycle would do anything to have a car or even a moped… so when they see a line of westerners choosing to cycle they immediately think that we must be form a different planet. To top it off we are also all wearing these alien objects on our heads… The kids run out to wave and the buses of people that drive by all have mobile phones hanging out the window to take pictures of these weird foreign objects choosing to cycle for no apparent or sensible reason that they can work out at all.  Young boy Q. What you doing? Mick A. Cycling, Young boy Q. WHY??(very inquisitive look on his face followed by are ‘are you crazy’ look.. followed by a  ‘Il take your car anyday!!) Mick A. to get fit, Young Boy. Q. WHY(even more confused look!) and then Young Boy Q. Where you going? Mick A. That way. Young Boy Q. WHY(Now he is just completely lost and has no idea how to comprehend this and so the conversation comes to a standstill.) A conversation of many to come…so a good start to our cycle today from Agra to Jaipur. Five days to go.

So To hear more updates from Jo in India, stay tuned to this blog! Whilst she’s out in country, you can get in touch and follow Jo via her twitter feed at @jojowarren82

you can also find out more about the challenge she is embarking on – The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge! – by clicking here. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all our challenge news, please subscribe to this blog. You can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.