” What’s in a name? That we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.


Stratford upon Avon- a name that is synonyomous with Shakespeare and thronged by millions of visitors each year. Being only 21 miles away, for us, reaching there and back has always been one of the easiest ways to grab bike miles , however, it has always been a very daunting task. Especially when you ride with bike-demons like Mahesh in the group who is known to do the 40 mile return journey in less than 3 hours without a single crease on his forehead.
Anyway, last weekend was the day we decided to head for the S town and capture it. As usual, our ever so punctual group started off a good 45 minute late ( but hey, thats the IST ( indian standard time :). The main and most cheerful addition to the group was Rashmi. It would not be politically correct ot say that I would prefer her to Subhash as a co-rider , but then hey ho, who cares!!! Subhash ( the other half-better or worse, hmmmm….) cant giggle like she does, nor can his peals of laughter ring and scare the colws in the countryside ;)).

We took the usual route from Solihull to Stratford via Henley in Arden. The day was perfect with the odd shower. Passed this field of yellow buttercups and spotted Mrs Moo’s family , taking an early morning siesta, wondering what in hell are these guys doing breaking out into a sweat….for a moment, that thought echoed in my mind too :). Stopped for a quick pic and sped ahead.


Mahesh came across an old friend, a recycled scarecrow. No idea why he was placed there, in the middle of a residential area and no fields in sight! Probably a scarecyclist rather than a scarecrow 🙂


A few miles ahead, we spotted some huge horses with the most delicate and kind eyes you could ever see. Ram was a bit intimidated by them initially and soon they were munching greedily on grass from our hands.


Soon, we were back on A34 in Henley in Arden and thats where the thoughts of the cows started re-echoing in my mind. There was a sort of competition between the beasts on the road to mow us down. It is indeed really scary when these 100 ton machines whizz past you, leaving you shaking like a sole leaf in autumn.


One of my favourite stopping spots: the Manor hall in Wooton Waaven. There is something very magical in the way the water flows down this beautiful waterfall , which always always slows me down. I have taken so many pictures but still keep going for more.

Ah, and my loyal steed , proudly posing on the bridge. Isnt she a beauty!!! so proud of her 🙂


Soon we were at the outskirts of Stratford….all excited. It was great to see Rashmi still pedalling. a bit envious too as I remembered my first ride to Stratford and fighting with Ram midway because he would not let me have the desired breaks ( although it was bc i was stopping too frequently for more photos 🙂


Loved the moments spent resting by the canalside, watching life go past, as if in slow motion. Moments we all have experienced and forget so quickly. The pleasure in sharing the same cup of coffee and hot chocolate with friends, of stealing bites of a sole sausage roll and taking innumerable useless photographs.

The rest of the ride into S town was a breeze with ram being ‘mobbed’ by a group of chinese tourists for photographs who demanded that he should pose on his bike and not just stand with them 🙂 Although he denies it, i think he was pretty chuffed at the whole experience….


Prashant did try and go upto the chinese tour bus in an attempt to get noticed and have his star shots taken too, but for some reason or another it didnt work out. We managed to cheer him up with a solo shot in front of the Shakespeare museum 🙂 now proudly his facebook profile picture


Stopped for breakfast at this riverside cafe The Encore. It just seemed so perfect and quintessentially english! Soon, all that vanished because it had items on the breakfast menu like florentines and egg benedict. No full english breakfast with hash browns and sausages, that is blasphemy if you ask me!!!!  That was  a total no no. It was then no surprise that the restaurant was the haunt of the pretty Stratford upon Avon ladies in summery white dresses and gladiator sandals with perfect blond hair and equally perfect kids to match :/ . However, due to hunger pangs, even the guys agreed to cross the road to the sausage rolls and egg bacon bar and feast their tummies rather than their eyes 🙂


But of course, being the shameless cyclists we are, we jsut had to take a small peek in the washroom….the above picture is of the Wine cellar en route to the wash room…aesthetically decorated place. Would love to come here in the flowery summery dress routine ( ahem/amen to the pretty and blond and delicate stuff )


Anyway, the decor inside was admirable. The doors of the washrooms were really interesting; in the design of old books,  really impressed ( will pardon the egg benedict or some saint’s name. Imagine calling something Krishna chicken or Narayana egg roast  😉


On the other hand, guilt ridden for having left Subhash behind and that too on Father’s day, Rashmi tried to get something for him and settled on cheescakes instead ( now i am not to be fooled into thinking that she wanted to cycle with cheesecakes packed inside her backpack!!!)


Well, the truth surfaced soon and so the cheesecakes disappeared (un)grudgingly . We continued peeking into the shops at all the nice nice nice things inside…..


only to realise that the boys were keeping themselves busy peeking at all the nice nice nice things outside ….hmmmph fake tans!!! Need i say more- the grin on my man’s face says it all :)))

the cheesecake disappeared suddenly and we set off;

Another ride done, another wish fulfilled, another dream dreamt……45 miles clocked and one step closer to fulfilling someone else’s dream.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step !

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

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Once again, its Saturday morning…..my eyes fluttered open to the chirping of birds outside, soft breeze wafted in through the small slit of our window, lovely golden sunshine lighted up the face of my angel who had managed to squirrel into our bed sometime during the night…..and suddenly BANG, CRASH, OUCH, the opening, closing and painful exclamation of someone who was trying to get into gear early in the morning!!!!

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Good morning, Saturday……and once again, its time for the training ride.

As I groan, turn away and try to nab a few more winks, the cycling fairy in me takes charge. I change, still grumpily, into my cycling gear, which by the way, is in dire need of update (unless you think red bike with pink helmet, yellow fluorescent shirt and blue shoes match).

Hubby is busy competing with the morning bird outside the window, both in terms of chirpiness and speed, getting things ready for the ride. Backpack, food bars, drinks, puncture kit, tissues, waterproofs, etc etc…..well, being a woman in a man’s sport does have its advantages 😉

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And soon we are off, on track, on another training ride. ( Ram annoyed at my lagging behind while others are ready to shoot off!!) Its times like these that I always wonder as to why I am in a situation like this….why cant I be like the hundred other mums, enjoying a late breakfast on a weekend morning, sipping coffee with loved ones and snuggling back into bed just because…..well, just because! That was when I remember a title from a blog I read recently, interestingly a Solihull based cyclist blog- the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

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( via brueton park: oh how i would like to just stop here 🙂

Life has been kind to most of us. In the sense, I don’t mean that we all had cushy lives, we all have had our fair share of problems too but we have managed to make it this far. The only way to be thankful to what life has given us is to give it back in some form to life itself. All we need to do is a very simple thing- you just need to make others happy. Life for them, whether they are your family, friends, neighbour or colleague (with the exception of kids, of course! You don’t have to do anything for them because its instilled in you. Living your life for your children comes automatically, according to me)

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( Now when did he grow so tall….dont remember the in-between years at all 🙂

Hence the whole idea of cycling appealed to me over the last few years. Although I started it reluctantly, mainly to keep an eye on hubby’s safety, it soon turned into a passion. Soon, our son joined in with us and weekend rides were one of the things we would all look forward to. There is something special in the air when your teenager rides with you. Flashbacks from the past, of his first tricycle, then his bike with suspensions and his first fall come gushing and so do the tears ( well, I am an easy one at that!!! Years of experience, I guess 😉 Soon, others joined in and it was really heart-warming to notice how we grew into a brood, all happy, relaxed and committed.

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( can cycle along these lanes forever )

Raising awareness for causes by doing long hard rides soon had its fruits and from a small group of 6 cyclists, we are now 22, riding all the way to Paris. Eventually we will raise a lot more awareness and money for our charity than what we would have done as a small group. My thousand miles journey has just begun and I have no idea where its destination is. All I know is that I will have lots of people joining in with me, great hours of fun on the saddle and happiness in the fact that we will be raising awareness for a cause which will benefit the life of others.

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Cycling and other events last year helped us build an entire floor in the village of Bodarli, near Burhanpur, MP, hence led to more education opportunities in India. A girl child will not have to go uneducated and will be able to offer better care to her family in future. Events also helped fund part of a van to transport children with special needs in Solihull, UK as well as a van in India for patients will mental health issues. And all this started with a single step, a small thought and a lot of ideas……

We have already started our first few steps this year as part of our training for the London to Paris ride in exactly 8 weeks from now….OMG , where is the panic button!!!!! Hence, here I make a promise…..Saturday morning, I will not moan, groan, complain , bitch or be jealous of all ye mums snuggled at home at 6 am in the morning……my aim of a thousand miles will start with my first few miles…wherever I am, whatever I do …..Viva la Paris, here I come …

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A step closer to a better life….a better future 🙂

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