A wonderful trip despite having a fall. A wonderful way to see the country and to meet the people. Everyone we met was friendly and kind. The ooty climb was tough - but then I was not as experienced a cyclist as others in the group who all completed it . I did complete it pushing my bike up from hair pin bend number 8 to number 1 and that was enough of an achievment for me. The descent the following day is fabulous. The food on most days was excellent. Amazing to always have vegetarian choices.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I loved meeting people everywhere. That was my reason for doing a cycling trip. I had previously done a trip with Exodus in Africa and felt disconnected being in a truck travelling through places a lot of the time. I wanted to connect more with the people and the country.
Sadly the day after Ooty Hill I had a fall having almost completed the descent. I had a nasty gash and fractured my elbow. I didn't cry until they told me that I couldn't cycle anymore. Following the rest of the group in the support vehicle was tough.
The people and culture was inspirational, different religions can live together with tolerance and respect for one another.
I loved the trip to the orphanage. I had a fantastic time chatting with the girls, helping to make chapattis. That was a lovely place
- What did you think of your group leader?
Vishnu was our group leader and he was fantastic, He gave us a pep talk each day letting us know what to expect.
He looked after me really well when he found me after my fall and sorted out medical care calmly with no panic or stress. I felt well looked after and didn't have to worry about where to go etc.
He looked after everyones requirements and even helped one of the group source a birthday cake for his wife's birthday. Even harder he helped us locate a very hard to find birthday card for us to give her also. I think we found the only card to be found in Allepelly.
Vishnu did join me on the support vehicle when he could so that I did not feel so left out.
Rintu was the his assistant who looked after the bikes. He was very attentive servicing the bikes and adjusting any with gear issues.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Go along with an open heart and mind and enjoy all that India offers you It is beautiful. Do take care on the descent from Ooty. I was unlucky going downhill and around a bend. I am so glad I had a helmet on. So be aware accidents can happen and it can spoil your trip of a lifetime. Be cautious. The traffic can be daunting but it's not too bad if you are sensible.
Be wary of where you have a massage, if you have one. Different people within the group had variable experiences from very good to very bad.
We went on a premium departure and the standard of hotels thoughout was good, however I didn't feel that the houseboat was of higher standard as we all said to one another the following day that the bedding etc was not good, there was no shower curtain and it would not of been possible to of had any less space in the cabin than we did have. I certainly don't feel like that aspect of the trip had been upgraded as promised in the trip notes and so felt a bit let down by that.
As previous people have said we all paid into a kitty for snacks, tea, tips at the start. I certainly did not get the same value out of the kitty as others in the group but it did make the tea stops less complicated so go with it .
Treat the people around you with the respect that they show you and enjoy.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
The trip was lovely. I was just so frustrated by not being able to join in after my fall.
The weather in November was good . We saw one tropical storm when we were at Fort Cochin.
Take a half empty suitcase and buy pashminas, and more pashminas :)
Be prepared for early morning starts to ensure you are not cycling throughout the hottest part of the day.
I wish when cycling it was easier to stop more often to take in the sights, to experience the surroundings and to take photos whenver wanted.
(All typed with my left hand!!)