• City: Kanpur

    The weather looked favourable as we left from Uran Togo, we attempted a 7AM departure, but the weather, food and people so lovely, we eventually left at 10. Talk about schedules! But we are on holiday, schedules were not relevant, having a good time was!

    We rode on towards the town of Murun. But Murun was too far away to cover in a day. We got nice rolling terrain that day, so it wasn’t too hard a ride and we made reasonably good time. By that i mean we averaged around 9 kilometres an hour   We got 3 good hours of cycling in before the wind picked up, which allowed us to cover reasonable number of kilometres. We stopped at a petrol pump with our cycles to buy fuel for our multi-fuel stove. People saw us standing with our pedal-powered bikes at the fuel station thinking we were mad. And I guess we are! Cyclists should get their fuel at a restaurant and not a petrol pump!

    This was the day when the terrain changed from the Steppes to the Mountains, we could see the change in terrain and feel the change in weather. It was getting more rugged, but the tarmac was butter smooth. A two lane highway, but the traffic was awesome. Cars would slow down and give way to us cyclists; a far cry from the treatment meted out to us in India, where every drives attempts to mow you down! No one even honked at the cyclist. A couple of times I got off the road to make way for a car, the car would slow down, give a gentle toot on the horn and wave out shouting their thanks. No one would ever overtake aggressively. A real pleasure to ride there.

    The Sun was harsh and we got a bit browned! Yes we already brown men got a little more browned! We at least do not share the terrible fate of westerners who get sunburnt. Finally (and in cycling terms that is almost a lifetime!) we passed the town of Hutag Undor. There was supposed to be a campsite there, but there wasn’t a camp in sight! We asked passersby and everyone pointed in different directions, so we were left none the wiser as to the locations of the camp. So we rode ahead for another 5 km till we came to the town of Hutag Undor. There we saw a big board which said, hotel with spa, gym and other blah blah facilities and all that other nice jazzy stuff that you get in fancy billboard hotels! Not something that we cyclists could afford. But since we had limited options we headed there and once again bargained to get a small discount.

    45000 tugrik for a double room that was more than what we had budgeted but well, you have to make do with what you get. We got a loaf of nice fresh bread and cherry jam and tried out some local berries. People were selling these berries on the road side. It was sour as hell and my brain tingled from tooth to toe! The women love it but we didn’t! We did get good food there though. A few people spoke English and so we got information for our ride ahead. But no one there had a clue of distances. A distance that we knew for sure on the map was 200km was pinned down as 400km by a cab driver! A distance of 60km was made 120. People I don’t think count distance in kilometres and they just travel in that vast land.

    We got chased by a small pack of dogs, fortunately unlike humans who speak different languages, dogs understood my Delhi abuses pretty well and tucked their tails between their legs and ran off whence they came from!

    A few pictures from that day…

    Breakfast at the camp

    All our meals came out of supermarkets like these

    Berries for dinner!