Racing Indian men

“Steven, another one is coming!” I shout ahead.
Behind my back I feel a man approaching. It takes a while before he cycles almost next to me.

The sound of the chain goes faster and after a second of doubt the man passes me. He doesn’t say a word, but tries to steer his cycle in between me and Steven. His pace slows down, but the moment I make a movement to pass him he accelerates again.

“Come on!” I tell the man, because I don’t want him to push me off the road. I try to explain him with hand signs that he has to choose to ride in front of me or behind me. He decides to try to pass Steven. He succeeds, but his pace slows down and we pass him again. After a couple of minutes he tries again. The same ritual keeps on repeating. Just before the man arrives at home he passes us for the last time. This time with a big smile on his face he finishes a ride he won’t forget.

Indian men love to see us passing by. A bicycle hasn’t got a high status in this country which makes it special when two western people are cycling through the village. The moment we stop our cycles are going through serious inspections.
We point to our legs and show our muscles…..
“O, ok!”
Most of the men start counting the gears, are staring at our pedals with the click system and want to feel the tires.

From Varanasi we head into the direction of Agra and Delhi. Because of the monsoon showers we stay at the main roads and it seems that the coming part won’t be very exciting. A lot of land is flooded and people have had to leave their houses. They’ve fled to the shoulder of the road and built their temporary houses there with some wood and plastic to survive the monsoon.

In Kanpur Steven becomes ill and a couple of days later it’s my turn. When we arrive at the end of the day in the village of Chibrameau we ask for a hotel. Some guys take us with them, but all the hotels are full. We decide to cycle further and ask the police for a place for the night. When we pass a beautiful house we have a look. We tell our story and the family invites us to stay the night at their house. They buy pie in the village and a delicious meal is prepared for us.

During the night I get ill and I am not able to cycle the next day. The family arranges a jeep for us which brings us to Agra. The ride is terrifying, with a typical Indian driver who’s afraid of nothing and drives like crazy. We are very happy when we arrive safely in Agra. The last meters we cycle to the hostel where we have been before.

After a few days of being ill we can continue our cycling to Delhi. Here we have to wait for a replacement for a camera send by our camera store by DHL.
In the end we are three weeks in Delhi. We don’t see much of the city because we are both ill, with all the things you can get in India. Not much fun, but when the camera arrives we are both ready to leave the polluted capital.
We are heading to the north of India, where the Himalaya’s are situated. From the flat countryside we will cycle into the mountains. We are looking forward to it!

* Varanasi – Allahabad: 130 km
* Allahabad – Fatehpur: 123 km
* Fatehpur – Kanpur: 80 km
* Kanpur – Chibrameau: 134 km
* Chibrameau – Agra: by jeep to Agra
* Agra: Mathura: 64 km
* Mathura – Faridabad: 124 km
* Faridabad – New Delhi: 35 km



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