Archive for August, 2007

Riding a bike in India

Prior to heading abroad on this little expat journey I got fairly into riding my bike. What I call bike riding most people call cycling. I have a road bicycle: it has a bunch of gears, skinny little tires with no tread and it doesn’t weigh very much at all. When I went to Ukraine I left the bike at home figuring that cobblestone roads and snow were no match for my bike. This turned out to be a decision that I regretted later: I ended up seeing plenty of cyclists riding through town and I wished that I had my bike. So I brought my bike to India.

I’ve been out riding the last few weekends trying to build up my fitness level to somewhere near where it used to be. Slowly but surely I’m getting better. This weekend I went further out into the countryside than I’ve been before, around 12 miles. We live in a district named Whitefield within Bangalore; this is basically the outskirt of the city so anywhere outside of town from here is villages and rural roads. On my way out I ride past small candy stores, a local fish market (just fish, hold the ice), and various other small homes. There are people all along the route: elderly walking around, children playing, stray dogs, cows. It’s an interesting ride for sure.

This past weekend I got way out into the cuts. I road past several elementary schools where the children all wave and say “Hi!” as I pass by. I made my turn around and started heading towards home. I was climbing a gradual hill when a motor scooter with 3 men on it road by checking out my wheels the whole time. I could hear behind me the sound of, yes, the scooter turning around. Great. They came up slowly beside me and started talking in some other language, I presume Kannada, and smiling. Great. I decided it was time for me to start cranking anyway and began pedaling hard easily leaving their underpowered motorscooter in the dust. As I crested the hill and ran out of steam they eventually caught me and, again, began talking to me. Understanding we did not understand each other they accelerated ahead of me, the man on the back of the scooter egging me on to ride faster on this gradual descent. So I did, I got up to 30-something mph and blew past them cranking through two turns before the road flattens out and I quickly came up on the back of a medium-size covered-truck with 4 cow rear-ends pointed squarely (literally) at me. As I closed in to begin my pass the right most cow began urinating. Literally :) . Have you ever seen a cow urinate? It’s a heavy stream of urine. I broke to the opposite lane to pass but was greeted with the sight of oncoming traffic. I got back in my lane and jumped on the brakes just in time to receive a fresh burst of urine splatter.

I slowed significantly to allow the cow splatter to get in front of me and the motor scooter again caught me. I gave the international sign for “I just got pissed on by that cow there in the truck in front of us” but was not understood (or at least they didn’t think it was as funny as I did).

I can’t wait to get out on another ride :)

4 comments August 6th, 2007

Visiting India

From a neighbor we met last night we’ve learned that from now through early December it is considered off-peak time for visiting India. This means that the flights are at their cheapest. There are a few airlines offering SFO -> BLR for less than $2,000 (including taxes). This is far from cheap but since we’re out here you don’t need to pay $200/night to some hotel. It’s kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit India on the cheap. Something to consider :)

1 comment August 6th, 2007


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