This is going to be quite long so I have decided to split it into three different blogs to explain the past week in India. I arrived on Saturday morning and got riding on Sunday out of Mumbai. Things were going well and I was enjoying the riding. The Indian driving ethos of bigger is better takes some getting used to, so does the overtaking/undertaking and driving the wrong way down the road. You need to keep alert at all times here and I would recommend having a horn to people!

The sun was coming up and I had ridden about 40 km and I saw a sign for a cafe 12 km away. I thought this would be a great place to catch some breakfast, drink some tea and rehydrate. I know I don’t look after myself at the best of times so this would be perfect opportunity to start, after Simon Hutchinson’s visit to hospital I didn’t want to take any chances.

Riding down the road a further 5km a motorised rickshaw which are everywhere in India overtakes me and pulls right in front of me. Literally 2 metres from where I am riding and comes to a halt. I could not slow my speed at the time but was going at about 10 km/h so not quick. I hit the back of him and 4 people got out the rickshaw. The driver did not speak English but seemed very agitated. Two of the passengers spoke perfect English and explained that they wanted damage money. I pretended to be French and shrugged shoulders saying I didn’t understand. I was quite angry as this was no way my fault nor could I prevent it! The rickshaw had a small dent in the back to go with the 20 dents already there. Eventually after much animosity they left and I didn’t give them any money.

My body was unhurt in this kerfuffle however the bicycle has seen better days. I have two impact zones, the frame is bent quite badly and is unable to be ridden, I can feel the flex in it when putting pressure on it. I could wheel the bike a long after loosening the brakes and removing a bottle cage. I now had some tough decisions to make and was not in the best of moods as this must of been about 70 km riding after the crash in Ukraine and my initial thoughts were this is it. How/What do I do here?

I wheeled the bike the 7 or so km to the cafe where I got some food. Luckily they had a menu in English with prices so I couldn’t be ripped off! I eat and had some tea and looked at a map. I made the decision before starting this leg that if anything was to happen I would get to Nepal and sort things from there. Having spent three months here previously I know basic language skills and my way around and how things work. I had about 1600 km to the border however. My budget is extremely limited and I was very angry inside about this bicycle misfortune. I did not want to be out in the sun with no certain way forward. I felt in a very vulnerable position. I have a bicycle, 4 panniers, and a bag on the rack which needs to get to the border somehow… hitch hiking seemed the best way to go from here.

Will publish part 2 later!

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