Sunday, February 27, 2005


Day 20 cycling: Gogunda to Udaipur
Distance: 46.34km
Ride time: 3:01 hrs
Average Speed: 15.95 km/hr
Maximum speed: 42.8 km/hr
Total cycled: 1866 km

It was nice getting up with the realisation that I only had a little over 40km to cycle. It can feel quite a pressure when you know you have a 100km day ahead of you, especially when you have no idea how the road will be. I had a relaxed breakfast before heading off (mind you, if the sounds of hawking & gobbing in the morning are 'off-putting', the sounds of them emanating from the kitchen are especially so).

The road was undulating with some steep parts. Despite this, it was a very pleasant ride. Very rocky, with some amazingly long stone fences snaking across the hillsides. The people seemed extremely friendly, waving & smiling & saying 'hello' or 'bye', and children would coming running up to me from all directions, invariably, and annoyingly, with hands outstretched, demanding, very specifically, "one pen" or "ten rupees". Luckily they didn't know what a kindly spoken "fuck off" meant. But generally, the friendliness was extraordinary. I felt like how the Queen must feel with all the waving she encounters & in turn is expected to return - sweet, but a bit of drag after a few hours, and there's always the risk of falling off my bike as I do so. One kind gentleman even offered to push me & my bike up one of the steeper hills with his outstretched leg from his motorbike. I thanked him but declined this unsafe-sounding offer. The nice part about struggling up these undulations is that you get to hurtle down the other side at great speed, singing "what goes up must come down, spinning wheel ...". I was also struck by how many westerners - either singly or in pairs - were driving past as passengers in Ambassadors & other cars, probably on the way to Mt Abu. Always a hoot to watch them gawp when they see me cycling along.

I've checked into the Hotel Caravanserai. A clean & simple room, good value for Rp 400, with a fantastic view of Udaipur from the rooftop.

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