Bike Melt Down

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Niveidas Inn

Flag of India  , Tamil Nādu,
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back on the plains, we woke up feeling confident that today would be fairly straight forward compared to the last week. Although we had 60 miles to do until our destination, flat plains make for speedy riding and we were looking forward to being back at the coast in a couple of days. Little did we know that when it started to pour with rain as we were loading the bikes at 8.30am, it would continue ALL DAY. We both need new tyres and brakes but couldn't find any in Palani that early on a Sunday morning and had to set off hoping to get some enroute. 20miles in, we were soaked, cold miserable and ANNOYED. 3 km before a town we had decided to stop for a break,Mikey’s tyre completely blew up. Using our last inner tube was hopeless as the actual tyre was completely corroded. A crowd of 5 men gathered under umbrellas to watch him try to fix it, swapping the front and back tyres around and using ducktape to bind together the huge split where the inner tube was bulging out. The rain was torrential at this point and a lovely family invited me into their house to have coffee. They had a gorgeous 5 year old daughter,Vinoda, who showed me all of her school books and named all ofher drawings in English. She also got out all of her jewellery and put it all on. Her lovely mother made coffee and cut up fruit and sweets for us. After Mikey came and had his coffee and they had a look at the tyre, the father wanted to go to the next town on his motorbike and try and get one for us.They also wanted us to have lunch with them –so lovely. We said that we could make it the 3km however and swapped addresses before leaving so that we could send them a thank you card. Reaching the next town, luckily it was quite large and had a bike shop open on Sunday. I sat shivering for an hour while Mikey and 2 men helping and 3 watching, bodged some brakes on and finally managed to find some new tyres to fit. The road next to the shop was completely flooded (water over our feet when we were on the bikes) and each time a car went past it soaked us all. Leaving the bike shop, having shown them our speedometers, helmets and gears, we realised that there was no way we were going to be able to do another 40 miles so had to settle for heading to Pollachi and accept that it would be 2 more days until we reach the coast and hopefully the sunshine. We arrived after 17 miles, truly filthy and found an OK room to collapse in. Despite the difficulties of the last 6 days cycling, we both feel really glad that we came to Tamil Nadu. Apart from Thandigudi which was the whole reason for coming, the rest of Tamil Nadu has been a fantastic experience. We haven’t seen any other white people in 6 days (apart from an Albino Indian in Poopara – very surreal) and have had to fend for ourselves as the guide book and the map don’t include any of these places. However, people have been really excited to see us, children waving and random people introducing themselves and asking where we are from. The food is also delicious. We just had vegetarian curry, paneer butter masala and parota. (bit like naan but even nicer). Would definitely recommend a visit, but not now! Rainy season is exhausting and so far it has been constant. We have also just caught a new headline which reports on flash flooding in Tamil Nadu and very sadly over 100 killed. Also for anyone else thinking of coming, I would recommend leaving the bikes behind.
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debbiecoxy on

jeez guys, you really have 'been through the wars' as ma cox would have said when i was a nipper, the last weeks sounds super-hectic. it must have been pretty scary not knowing where you are or where you're going to stay, especially when wet and covered in poo.

I would therefore complain about the 2 weekends of solid house moving, workshop moving we have been doing but having read the blog i have decided not to whinge and to count my many blessings and appreciate my generally ridiculously easy life. Alex and i are now ensconced in the new house and loving it, we have an empty red wine bottle count of over 20 already after 2 excitably celebratory saturday nights and it is all starting to come together a little bit. christopher is sorting out all the diy requirements and the bedroom is still decorated with strewn bin bags where you can't find any clothes, i think alex has changed his pants twice in a week. but then that's once more than normal so pretty good really.

really hope the next couple of days go smoothly and you make it to bombay in time! I saw alan the other day and he was reading his india book and muggling up and getting very excited, we will miss you here over xmas though Xxxxxxx

Jojo on

Well lawks a'lummy what a time of it. At one stage ofr reading how cold you were getting I had to get up and put the heating on in sympathy! The orphanage looked wonderful and it must have been great to return and renew friendships. Please can you cut down on the punctures - I have only give you 15 for the whole trip! It must be a wonderful thought to hit the coast soon - at least you will be able to wash yourselves down once in a while - I thought Polly was wearing leggings not just showing off clean feet. The food sounds slightly bazzar but at least I know you are both keen curry eaters - I be Memories of India hasn't got a patch on what you are experiencing - hopefull no untoward side effects have manifestd themselves. Christopher asked if I was up to cyling round India on my Tricycle - luckily he moved just in time.

Saw Mums, Dads and Rosie this afternoon along with a few hundred others at Jo's farewell. It was hed in a beautiful converted barn up in the Downs by Singleton and was a really very moving and beautiful occasion and people had come from far and wide to pay respects to Jo and give support to the family. We gave Nicky a lift there as the poor thing has broken her ankle quite badly and cannot put any weight on it for 8 weeks - so will be hobbling around for Christmas.

Keep up the amazing travellog it's going to make one hell of a book!

all love Christopher and Jojo

Bob on

God so many memories!! Amazing to see the place again! Glad you guys refrained from the slightly less orthadox lessons Pols and I taught those poor unsuspecting kids! Probs not appropriate now that you're real life teachers!

When I remember how long it took to get everywhere in India by bus and train, I just cannot imagine cycling it! So proud of you guys!

Crossing fingers for you that you get to the coast ok for a bit of a rest.

All going well here. Puppy coming to stay from 27th December, exciting and a bit of a worry that it will all work out ok! Living room now all but finished...Extension plans having to go on hold as much more expensive than we thought, but does mean that there is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel now so we are ploughing on!

Catch up soon mates. Loads of love xxx

Charlotte on

Wow, your journey has definitely turned into an adventure since you arrived in India. Had Adrian and Jane over for supper last night and we were saying how much we enjoyed reading about your travels - you are often the topic of conversation back here.... India does sound amazing though and looks like somewhere to visit in the future!!
It has become chilly in Bosham now and we had our first snow of the year this morning. Not quite enough to stay at home but beautiful all the same :-) Lot's of caos in the North so wonder if we will get another couple of days off work this year?
Holiday in Kenya was briill and great to get some sun but seems like an age ago now - Giles even won a prize for windsurfing like a ballerina!!!
Haven't spoken for ages so should try and sort a skype session out soon. Seems like internet access is more limited though so we will just keep an eye out for you.
Anyway, stay safe and keep going. Lots of love Cxxxx

Charlotte on

P.S Having re read the above I have to apologise for the spelling - typing with gloves on in our cold office is difficult.....

Spigaroo on

Hi lads.

Wow, just got through last 10 days worth of blogs and tired on your behalf! Epic journeys. Must have been amazing to be back in Goodwill and it sounds as though Tamil Nadu has been fascinating as well as ridiculously hard to cycle through. I know from being in Africa in a rainy season that they're not fun and I hope you get some better weather soon, not to mention better luck with bike situation. It must be quite exciting now that we're almost in December and Christmas with the parentals is in sight.

We've got snow here today but unfortunately no snow day. Think our head is quite determined that we won't shut this year much to everyone's disgust! Other than that we're having house traumas but seems like nothing compared to all you guys are going through. Maddy, Philly and I ran the 'Hellrunner' on Saturday which was horrific. The 'bog of doom' and 'hills of hell' were actually as bad as they sound and it was freezing. We had some very strange times getting coffees in Sainsburys afterwards stinking of the bog of doom, wearing very odd attire and all of maddy's old blankets and shivering like loons...

Please take great care on the roads and look after each other. We miss you. Xxxx

Tricia Gick on

Finally got some good snow here - though not like last year. Still all very pretty and, at the moment, I don't have to go out. Been reading the Nepal book - cyclling goes on there, but the book says cyclists are way down the list for road safety! Also face masks are a must for Katmandu. Just spoken to you, so won't rabbit on now - Claire's birthday today and they are having a bash on Alice!!
Tons of love and hope to talk later xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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