National Geographic nailed it on the head when they ran this line in one of their ads some years ago. The problem is, there are just too many roads but too little time and money to send the body to. The next best thing? Just ride as many roads as I can … while I still can.
If you’re here for the first time, welcome to my humble blog. It is as much a personal journal of my cycle-touring adventures as it is resource for others who may want to ride the same routes as I did. There are no epic year-long adventures within these pages (one day, one day … I keep telling myself), only short 2- to 4-week tours, and mostly solo.
To easily navigate your way through the blog, simply click on ‘The Rides’, on the top menu-bar and all my adventures will be shown. Pick one and the entire contents of that ride will be presented, each blog post opening in a new tab as you click on it.
By the way, the post immediately below is the latest one, which gives you an idea of my latest adventure.
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Ponnani is made up of 2 very distinct districts — the old and the new. The old Ponnani is what you’ll see first if you come in to town using the coastal route 17. The new Ponnani greets you first if you stay on the busier route 62, which then meets route 17 just at the edge of town.
I wasn’t impressed at all by the newer side of Ponnani when I arrived yesterday. It’s chaotic, nosiy, busy and without much character. So, this morning, I decide to ride around the old part of town and see if it’s worth my time. As I head towards the port, the houses and buildings seem to age backward in time.
It’s old, very old, but colourful and full of old-world charm and character. Some of the shops are shuttered and locked, abandoned for the glitzier side of town, but many are still in operation. They’re mostly small businesses; selling anything from bananas to ropes to bamboo. Even the residents seem very much in character. They’re very friendly; even more so when I get up close and personal with my camera. If there’s one thing that lets you make friends instantly, it’s the camera. Must be their innate sense of Bollywood in their DNA.
At the end of the sealed road, I find myself riding on a dirt road leading towards the sea. Continuing on, I come upon some huts next to the water, busy with fishing boats and groups of people gathered around some of the boats. The smell of salty air permeated with that of rotting fish, punctuated by the sound of seagulls, crows and egrets cawing and flapping their wings, , completes the whole scene.
I stop to absorb it all. I feel a little overwhelmed, heady even, but I think that is likely from the thousands of rotting fish being dried in the sun.
Some of the fishermen behind the huts are loafing around on the beach, looking at me uninterested. The action seems to be happening around the boats so I ride straight into the thick of it.
Instantly, I become the star attraction.
Next….. I continue towards Calicut aka Kozhikode. A big city, I expect it to be crazier than Ponnani.