Thursday, December 30, 2004

Felix & Mr Pumpy

By the way, a really good blog to keep an eye on is the one by my mate Felix and his pal Mr Pumpy. It's at You might also like to check out the Biking Southeast Asia with Mr Pumpy! site. They're in Kolkata at present, and plan to cycle to Burma. It would've been good to hook up with them, but unfortunately our timings don't quite coincide.

two days to go

Of course, the list below is overly optimistic, as I'm travelling with Qantas. I forgot when I bought my ticket that Qantas insists on your bike being packed in a cardboard box, unlike Garuda and many other south-east asian airlines who are happy enough for you to let out a little air from the tyres & then have the bike wheeled on board (I returned from cycling the circumference of Bali just a few weeks ago, and Garuda remains quite happy with this arangement. They're also pretty flexible with their weigh-in procedures).
The Qantas box weighs about 3 kg, which represents 15% of my checked in baggage. It's also much more of a hassle at the other end. In Bali, it was a delight to be able to collect my bike from the man who wheeled it into the terminal, pump up the tyres, attach my panniers and cycle past the waiting hordes and on to where I'd planned to stay.

I've managed to arrange my accommodation in advance in Mumbai (I had one reply from the 6 hotels I did email ... perhaps business is so good they don't need to bother replying) - Bentley's - which Lonely Planet categorises as budget-range. Hotels in Mumbai seem outrageously expensive in comparison to much of the rest of India. A comparable hotel in Chennai, where I stayed in 2000, is at least a quarter of the price of what I'll be paying at Bentley's. Still, I've happily been able to arrange an airport pick-up of me and my bike-in-a-box, so I won't have to struggle with reassembling it in the terminal and then cycling 24 km into the centre of the city, or of struggling to fit the box on top of an airport taxi.

Monday, December 27, 2004

my plans & what I plan to take

Well, I and my bicycle are off to India on 2 January, returning to Melbourne on 17 March - about 11 weeks. After arriving in Mumbai I plan to cycle to Igatpuri (about 125km) where I'll sit a vipassana meditation course (see until 16 Jan. I'm not sure where I'll head after that - either south to Goa or north into Rajasthan.

here's what I plan to take (this may seem a bit obsessive, but many people are keen to know these things):

Scott Yecora Mountain bike
2 rear panniers & 1 handlebar bag
2 bar ends
bike computer (Sigma 1600)
Kryptonite cable lock
puncture repair kit(s)
"Cool Tool" - multi-function repair tool
Allen key set
ProLink Chain Lube
spare spokes
1 spare inner tube
pair of cycling gloves
bike helmet
lights - front & rear (front light can be used as a torch)
bungy or 'occie' strap

2 small padlocks & wire cable
sink plug
sewing kit
small polyamide towel
ClickZip clickable storage bags
sleeping sheet
3 x Space Bags (to compress clothing)
Plastic bags
clothes line & 3 pegs
Lonely Planet Road Atlas to India & Bangladesh
Lonely Planet Guide to India
several books to read
travel clock
Swiss army knife
plastic spoon
extra passport photo(s)
photocopy of passport, visa, tickets

1 T-shirt
1 Polo shirt
2 long-sleeved shirts
1 windcheater
4 pairs undies
Pair Columbia shorts (for swimming, etc)
Pair Gondwana shorts (for cycling)
Pair long trousers
Pair cycling knicks
Pair sandals (for cycling)
Pair socks
shoes: black Dunlop Volleys
sunglasses/ clear riding glasses (interchangeable lenses)

toilet bag, including small mirror
face washer
"interdental cleaners"
Poly Wipes - for oily/ greasy hands
Wet Wipes/ small tissues
small soap, shampoo, toothpaste (can buy there)
First aid kit - antiseptic, bandaids, alcohol swabs, cotton buds
tongue cleaner
shower cap
Betadine drops (as antiseptic, and for water purification if needed)
RID Sunblock with Insect protection
RID Tropical Spray On (DEET)
nail clippers
Lomotil/ Immodium
Super Glue for cuts & for gluing
? moisturiser/ skin lotion for sunburn

Laptop computer (to keep notes, mp3's & to store photos)
Kensington computer lock
AC Adapter
Canon Powershot S30 & Battery charger
International adaptor plugs
surge protector