Monday, February 14, 2005


Day 17 cycling: Sasan Gir to Junagadh
Distance: 53.87 km
Ride time: 3:40
Maximum speed: 27.9 km/hr
Total cycled: 1591 km
Total between towns: 1407 km

What a great ride today was! The road itself was in pretty poor condition - a narrow strip of bitumen & rocks on the shoulder meant that I had to be especially vigilant for vehicles in either direction, as there was a great risk of toppling over when moving onto the shoulder (you really need both eyes & ears in the back of your head). I suspect the rocks were there as part of a plan to upgrade the road at some point. Nevertheless it was a very nice ride - not too great a distance, the weather was perfect for cycling, but the best part was the wildlife on the way - monkeys, peacocks, deer (? well, they had antlers), birds and some sort of fat possum-like creature. I also realised that I must learn to cycle with my mouth closed, as to date I've swallowed a large quantity of the Indian insect-life. It's not that I cycle with my mouth hanging open - I'm either talking to myself, gasping for air, or saying "hello" to a passer-by. I suppose I could take a leaf out of the Jain's book and wear a scarf over my mouth. The other nice thing about today's ride was that some folk pointed out a short-cut to me which I took (always a little bit risky) & I saved about 8km as well as having a very quiet road to cycle on.

One of the things to do in Sasan Gir - in fact the main or only thing to do - is to go on a 'safari' to see some lions. For some reason, I really couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to do this & so headed out this morning for Junagadh, after an absolutely inedible breakfast of lightly toasted stale bread provided, at extra cost, by the Hotel Umang at which I stayed overnight.

I was again momentarily disquieted by a road sign that said "Look Out For Lions" as I pedalled off into the distance. I'm sure they were joking.

As I hit Junagadh, a government official sitting in a booth at the side of the road waved me over to shout me a cup of tea. As usual, a small crowd gathered, asking the standard questions about me & my bike. My first impressions of Junagadh are that it will be an interesting place to look around - the town has quiet a nice feel to it. I'm staying at the Hotel Relief, in a very clean & pleasant room (Rp 300), although the traffic is pretty noisy.

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