Sunday, 22 March 2015

19 Mar Hampi to Hubli - A record breaker ride!

Day's run: 189 km
Total: 1318 km
Start:  05:28am
Saddle Time:   10:31
Total Climb:    865 m
Total Descent: 674 m
Average: 18.0 kph

Not that I'm into collecting distance records on this trip but I am quite chuffed to have clocked up 189k (116 miles) today, a distance I've never achieved before on any type of bike, never mind this leaden lump of metal. 
It wasn't actually meant to happen, I'd left Hampi early and arrived at my destination Laksmeshwar, at around 3 pm with 133km on the clock and the mercury up around 37deg. Laksmeshwar, a small  agricultural market town, was a real dump with one seedy deserted hotel.......literally deserted. Who-ever was running the place had disappeared..........and I don't blame him. I'd acquired a limpet-like tout, working for his commission, who was trying to contact the owner on his phone. I gave them 5 minutes more to find the owner and then I was off. I found a cold drinks shop and over a couple of fruit lassi's considered my options. The nearest big town was Hubli, a dog-leg to the north and 55km away. I would arrive in the dark but no matter.......time to bite the bullet.

This part of Karnataka is not that inspiring to ride, one of the reasons for the big ride...........just get through it!

05:30 pre-dawn departure. Note the lady of the house was already up and had decorated her doorstep.

On the highway out of Hospete. Another road-side repair. I'd noticed these small tyres hanging from the back of trucks (as you do when you've spent hours cycling behind them) and wondered what they were for. A cushion of course, for when you are sat rebuilding your differential.

Small-townsville Karnaataka. That's an interesting fort on top of that lump of rock but I'll give it a miss today. I guess it must be about 9am as the little guy with the big bag is on his way to school. Ha! Just checked the photo data 08:46:47...........I've been pedalling for 3 hours.

Master and apprentice. You'd think he would have bigger biceps doing this day in - day out. He was chiselling perfectly round holes in this eye.

A dry dusty timeless landscape. He is just smoothing the surface by dragging a  log over it. Materials: renewable, recycleable, locally sourced.........hand-made non-obsolescent, maintenance-free farm equipment. My! How we have 'advanced' in the west.

Out of respect, this humble man took off his shoes that he had been wearing in the field. I wonder what he thinks of me..........why  did I turn back to photograph his cart?

I stop for a tea break and the usual mob gather around the bike to touch and fiddle with it, The have broken my 'ting!' bell because they think the lever is a switch that makes the built-in compass do something ??. Worst of all is when they press or lean on the saddle to see the suspension work as this threatens to break the prop-stand. Some of the richer flashier guys in cars pull up and want to be photographed with me and bike. Some of them try and climb on the bike for the photo (without asking) and get short shrift from me. I don't have an Indian bike centre stand made out of  1" iron bar. They really piss me off because they are not really interested in me/bike......they just want a funny photo to flash around their social media.

If you are out in the sun all day it's not about  'looking cool' but 'staying cool'........... shade and ventilation are key. This is my hat of choice after trying several versions. I threw my Stetson lookalike hat away after someone asked me if I was American. It's not very aerodynamic but hey, I'm not going very fast. Shirt......Craghoppers Nosilife -  insect repellent range........repels everything after one weeks wear! Brilliant bit of kit for desert climes.

Different road, same scenery, new tarmac, hot tarmac!

By 1pm I'd covered 104 km. Check the temperature gauge!

As the sun sets I'm grinding out the final few kilometres to Hubli. This is a National Highway, an A road in the UK. This wide-load has to pass the ox-cart.....the oncoming traffic is fast and heavy. I stop to watch the fun and games.

Hubli is a big city. In the dark through heavy, honking traffic bedlam I find a grotty windowless hotel room near the  old bus station. Any port in a storm. A big day.

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