• City: Kanpur

    Day 16: Katoda to Kota

    In my attempt to get some free speed on my ride, I overfilled the tyres ever so slightly. I thought the reduced rolling resistance will help. Bad idea!

    When you are on a cycle, people are almost always nice to you. But every once in a while, you meet idiots. One such idiot was the owner of a dhaba. He was fiddling with my parked bike and I first told him nicely to back off. But he persisted and I eventually had to tick him off rudely in front of his staff.

    He of course got his revenge by charging exorbitant prices for the food. Only when you meet idiots, do you realise how nice everyone else is.

    100 metres after I left the dhaba, my tyre went phssssss. My first thought was that the dhaba guys must have messed around. I topped up air and rode ahead, only to have it go phssss again.

    Fortunately, there was a tyre shop right there and I got my tyre repaired in the midst of an increasingly curious crowd.

    The tyre shop guy refused to take money from me. He said, you’re riding on a cycle, what money can you afford to give!

    Luckily the puncture was at that point, because there was nothing for the next 20 km. It was barren land.

    Eventually I hit Kota and crossed a fancy new suspended bridge on the outskirts of the city. I didn’t stop for a single picture, because I was hungry and my bottles were nearly empty in the desert heat.

    I waited for the city. Unsuccessfully. I had gotten onto a recently built bypass. It didn’t have a single shop along its entirety. For 30 km I rode without food and water in that oppressive heat.

    It was so hot, that I had to invent games to distract myself. One such game was to pee down a drain on a flyover and count the seconds it took to reach the bottom. It never did. It was so hot, that it all evaporated within seconds, right in front of my eyes!

    Straight roads of Rajasthan…

    But that wasn’t the end of my adventures for the day.

    After what felt like a millennium, I found a dhaba. Curious people asked a bazillion questions of my whereabouts and I proudly said that I was cycling from Goa to Kanpur. Pride as they say, comes before fall.

    In my case, quite literally. As I was leaving the dhaba, I fell at 0 kmph. I couldn’t unclip my shoes from the pedals in time and bam I hit the floor. Much to the amusement of my audience to whom I had been telling great tales of my cycling valour!

    With enough adventures for the day, I stopped at a dhaba for the night as soon as it started getting dark. I didn’t want to push my luck.

    I got a room behind the dhaba in someone’s house.

    What could possibly happen in a room in someone’s house? For starters I found two rabbits under the bed. After the rabbits were taken away, I was given dinner.

    Dinner which comprised of ‘mirch ki sabzi’ floating in a bowl of oil. I didn’t know whether it was vegetable or pickle!

    One thing which struck me during the ride was the number of cow carcasses strewn by the side of the highway. On enquiring from the dhaba owner, he told me. That the farmers had started abandoning old cattle in the middle of nowhere. The cattle would eventually starve to death there. No one was now willing to buy or transport cattle anymore. The holy cow had become untouchable after it stopped making economic sense.

    View the full day’s ride on Strava.