6:30 am start. Thats 1am in the uk.
Luckily my odd naps throughout the previous day (and I mean odd as apparently Gregor thought I was having a stroke as I slurred and eyes fluttered from confused lack of sleep) seemed to have sorted me out slightly and once the light was on we all seemed to cope.
Last night we met the group leader and the rest of the group, 9 tourists and 1 leader (+bike mechanic and driver to meet us later). 3 blokes from Perth, Australia, a brother and sister from USA, a guy from Switzerland, a lady from Wales. 😊
6:30am today – taxis to a road (no idea where) but there our bikes we’re, it was still dark but we just tested them out for seat height etc.
I was pretty impressed to see they actually had women specific bikes, I’m on a Trek x caliber 6 (it has lockable suspension unlike the 5!!!) And most other bikes are similar. One of thenfirst things I checked (after getting a shock 10 years ago in peru) was which way round the breaks were. The wrong way. So my ledt hand operated the front break, whereas in the UK it operates the back. Whats the problem? Well, if you slam on your back break you slow down quickly but gradually with maybe a skid, if you slam on your front break the bike very much stops and you don’t.
I’ll be honest, I made a bit of a fuss about this. Not in a ‘I demand a different bike’ kind of way, but was asking if there were any others my size or if the cables could be swapped – there is another British woman on the trip who is a similar height and hers were the right way round so I had hope!
Eventually I realised the American woman on our trip has the exact same bike size and model as me, she’d not paid much attention to her breaks as she just said she always pulled them both at once (someone suggested I did this, so I had to explain that I was a moron and it’s so instinctive to me to pull left first that no amount of logic would help). After asking her if I could have a look at hers I discovered hers were the other way round. She was quite happy to swap bikes, which though she said the order didn’t matter to her still seemed sensible as the breaks are the other way round in the US, so after this kerfuffle we were both on bikes with the correct breaks for our country. Yay!
Though the second bikes gears are bit worse for ware, but hey ho – I can safely stop the bike!
Then we headed out for our test cycle, to the Indian Gate. No, not the Gate of India. It’s a war memorial (one of the largest in India) which is hosting a huge parade the weekend that we return to Delhi.
The smog has been insane, levels have been hazardous. We’re very glad we’ve brought our masks!
We felt surprisingly safe on the cycle, our guide had of course picked a quiet time of day and quiet (ha!) roads to cycle on. Whenever it was two lanes it essentially became a very wide bike lane and a car lane. There were a few moments where we had to cross 3 lanes to turn, this was generally fine, but the very last corner as we ended the ride was a bit intense, buses in all directions and tuk tuk a surprising you every time you tried to move out. We all made it though 🙂 and Everything really does just get out of the way!
All of this was before 9am, then we headed back to the hotel for breakfast (Aloo paratha, banana, toast and instant coffee) and packed for Jaipur.
Then onto the metro with 3 of us heading down to the women’s only carriage where we could stretch out whilst the men were packed like sardines! And into Old Delhi where we visited India’s largest mosque Jama Masjid which can fit 24,000 praying muslims, with the red fort in the backdrop and a sudden switch from sanctuary to utter madness if you look over the walls into Delhi.
Then a short walk to a Sikh temple which seemed to have a very bloody past – the 9th Guru was beheaded there and his disciples also killed. The temple itself was interesting, an area for worship of their book, with constant live prayer music, and behind that the kitchens where they feed 8000 people a day! I got to have a go at rolling chipatis, and I’ve seen where I’ve been going wrong… I need to pour 3kgs of flour on the floor before I start.
Then for lunch at a small local place – Masala Dosai all round! And then taxis to the trains station to get our (double decker) train to Jaipur (where I am writing this).
Gregor is tired and a bit jet lagged passes out next to me, I’m a tad uncomfortable as me seat slides forward, dinner was good… I’m building myself up to try the toilet!