“Immediately you’ve got the choice of biking 102 kilometers from right here [Periyar] to Kannadipuzha,” Rattan, my Kalypso Adventures tour information knowledgeable me.
Did I appear like Lance Armstrong?
Nonetheless, I cherished that he had religion in my health to assume I may presumably handle such a stretch.
Perhaps if it was on stage floor, however realizing Kerala and its steep mountain and gravel city roads, I knew I couldn’t. I used to be keen to provide it a shot, nevertheless, as I wished to essentially really feel the panorama.
Plus, my objective was to spend as little time on a bus as attainable and as an alternative spend my time mountaineering, kayaking and biking by means of India.
Desk of Contents
- The Scotland Of Asia
- Beginning Over
- An Awkward Encounter
- The “Final” Incline
The Scotland Of Asia
The primary vacation spot for the journey, among the finest biking routes on this planet, was Dewalokam, a serene and spice-laden farm situated within the decrease ranges of the Western Ghats. It’s identified to be lovely and a prime vacation spot for solo journey in India.
After biking out of Periyar, with its myriad spice outlets, Aryuvedic facilities and conventional theaters, the surroundings started to rework.
Essentially the most drastic change occurred once we hit Vagamon — often known as the “Scotland of Asia” — a cool local weather hill station stuffed with meadowlands.
From right here, the route turned a winding mountain street that immersed me within the sort of scenic magnificence that makes you notice simply how small you might be in comparison with Mom Earth.
That is really an epic India journey expertise!
Huge plains of golden grass had been sprinkled with lakes, tea plantations, and villages, whereas historical mountains crisscrossed over the land and showcased rocky peaks rising up like pillars.
The waviness of the scene jogged my memory of a just-frosted cake (if the icing had been inexperienced, that’s). General, the route contained wild pure magnificence.
And intensely steep uphill climbs and downhill holy-sh*t descents.
After one among every, I’m fried. Fortunately, Peter, our driver, was there with the automobile — and snacks! — to assist. I wasn’t executed for the day, only for a breather.
Fruit plantations litter the route from Periyar to Kannadipuzha.
“Take me to the place the street ranges out, please,” I requested Peter, hopping within the automobile and tossing my helmet on the seat subsequent to me.
Little did I do know, the street by no means evened out. Whereas there could have been 5 — generally six-minute stretches of even pavement — I surmised this route may solely be cycled utterly by triathletes and Olympians.
Biking to Kannadipuzha
Nonetheless, it was enjoyable to attempt. Peter drove for about an hour and half till he got here to Mutam, a small city suffering from tea outlets, bakeries and fruit stands.
“You solely have 25 kilometers to go,” he mentioned, hauling my bike off the again of the minivan.
I used to be excited. “Nice! Is it flat?”
He laughed. “Certain.”
Whereas I’ll admit it was extra even than what was firstly of the journey, it was certainly not flat.
That being mentioned, I used to be in a position to distract myself from my bodily ache with people-watching within the cities and the scents of the tapioca, pineapples and spices that lined the roads.
Abruptly, a scrumptious slideshow of egg curry, malai kofta and tandoori rooster floated by means of my thoughts. Perhaps it was finest I cycled extra uphill, at the very least for my intestine’s sake.
An individual togged in a mundu. Picture courtesy of Beverleysutherland.
An Awkward Encounter
Abruptly, a person on a bike got here up behind me. “Excuse me miss! Excuse me! Are you able to simply give me one second?”
I glanced at him. He was wearing a mundu (white sarong) and massive black sun shades. Again house, I’ve issues like this to me occur on a regular basis, and so they often finish with the man shouting some disgusting sexual come-on at me.
“No!” I spat, biking sooner.
“Please, please! Only one second. I’ve a query!”
I’m certain you do.
Abruptly Rattan mentioned one thing to him in Malayalam, and we pulled over to the aspect of the street to speak with the person.
Apparently, he wished to know extra concerning the bikes as a result of he was opening a bicycle store.
I’ll admit I felt like an fool, particularly when, after discussing the cycles with Rattan, he turned to me and mentioned, “It was a pleasure to fulfill you.”
I’m certain it wasn’t, however I appreciated the politeness.
Some structure alongside the route.
The “Final” Incline
The hills appeared to be coming in faster, longer spurts, though that would have been the solar and my drained legs making me delusional.
After one notably difficult ascent, Rattan turned to me and mentioned, “That was the final one. Then we simply have 4 extra small ones and possibly three extra huge ones.”
I used to be confused. “So…it wasn’t the final one?”
He laughed. I assume that was my reply.
Wanting down the river and listening to the birds at Dewalokam.
As had been the routine for the previous few days of long-distance biking from metropolis to metropolis, Peter often stopped the minivan to tug us over and “refresh us” with locally-grown oranges and bananas.
With my sugar up and a few water — and the considered aromatic spice gardens and tranquil river rafting at Dewalokam on my thoughts — I felt able to sort out the journey.
And I did. Not solely that, however I loved myself.
I cherished smelling the candy air as we handed banana and pineapple plantations.
I cherished waving at excited youngsters strolling to highschool of their uniforms.
I cherished seeing how loopy individuals drove with out getting a scratch. Most of all, I cherished not simply seeing, however feeling India.
After we lastly reached Dewalokam I felt sizzling, sweaty — and achieved.
“Do you notice you traveled an extended distance than two days in the past however in a shorter period of time?” mentioned Peter, as I chugged from my water bottle.
That felt good.
Sinta, the co-manager of Dewalokam alongside along with her husband, taking me on a tour of the spice gardens — and reducing a contemporary pineapple for me to style — after lunch.
And as I sat all the way down to a lavish lunch of farm-fresh Keralan dishes — clear soup, thoran made with dry curry and coconut; Kerala bread; fish moillee spiced with ginger and chilie; and a contemporary fruit salad enhanced with cardamom — I didn’t really feel responsible having seconds.
Because of my difficult bike journey, I may eat up as a lot tradition as I wished.
Have you ever ever cycled the “Scotland of Asia” in India?
Keep tuned for extra Bus-Free By way of India, with new articles on this 8-part collection popping out each Tuesday!
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