The Italian Giro Files : Day 4

Day 4 : “It’s not the mountains we conquer but ourselves”, Edmund Hilary .

Distance 104 km,

Elevation gain 3140 m,

Moving time 7.55 min

Conquering the Italian Dolomites was the dream we dreamt for the last 8 months…. And the day was here!

The ride started as usual with a 5.30am bag drop. There was a eerie stillness in the air during breakfast, as if the riders were about to go to the battle front. And boy, battlefront it definitely was 😊😊.

8 miles into the ride, we came face to face with our first climb, Passo Valles, a 2037 metre climb over 26km …. The route was spectacular, resplendant with gushing waterfalls and pristine emerald green lakes.

The company was varied. Caught up with Milind. Reminiscing of memories from our past from 1997, of experiencing the first snowfall together and long walks with the then chubby toddler Varun took us happily through a few miles. Cruising behind the father son duo Ashutosh – Parth / Sunil – Miheer was equally interesting. They kept pace with each other and encouraged each other to go ahead at times. Moments like these are the cementing blocks of any relationship and it felt beautiful. Watching them reminded me that somewhere in front even Ram and Varun were creating history together. The latter half of the climb was with Vijay, one of my ideal cycling partners….. We climbed slowly and steadily to the beats of music, trying to chat intermittently about life in general but knowing that nothing could distract us from the difficulties ahead.

Soon we reached Passo Valles and after the customary photos etc, the thrilling and knuckle buckling descent started. My music playlist changed to all the soothing numbers and I was in seventh heaven on the loop of Ae Zindagi gale laga le….

Following lunch break, everything changed and soon the climbs started again. The much awaited hair pin loops went on for 30km and soon I realised that everything that I was holding on to dearly in this journey was slipping away from me.

Ram and Varun zoomed past me. Vijay decided to take an extra long break in anticipation of the climb. At the 4th bend, when Parth declared that we had 29 bends in all, Subhash lost it and just charged ahead , disappearing for the rest of the day.

My phone battery soon died down and at that point, I suddenly realised that I was on my own….. The feeling was immense, being surrounded by colossal mountains, the light air closing down heavily upon me, silence so loud that it was deafening. Soon, a new sensation set in, I felt totally disconnected from myself and everything that belonged to me. It was as if I was up in the clouds, watching this lone figure struggling her way up the killer climbs. All I felt was the need to just move on and that’s all I did. A cleansed soul, it was pure and devoid of any emotions…..

But that didn’t last for long. At turn 17, I decided that enough was enough, my mind suddenly connected itself and chided me for my actions. I was not getting any younger, I was not getting any medals or accolades for this, was I? So why was I going thru this pain…..I tried to flag the support van down but they thought I was waving at them and they waved back merrily and went away. The skies opened up after that and as if laughing at me, soaked me to the bone. I took shelter in a nearby hut but it was only turn 20 and I had 8 more km to go. I was in tears, I just wanted to stop, I just wanted to be somewhere warm, but there was no choice but to carry on.

My mind wandered to all those who had left me, to those who were going through either battles in life. My speed was barely recordable and I was stopping after every few metres. At a distance I saw the faint outlines of some of our cyclists and soon enough, Ram and Varun came up. They were such a beautiful sight to see and I immediately announced my decision to stop cycling. Ram cycled for a while with me, and reasoned that if I have done marathons, I should be able to do this easily.

That was my wake up call….. Yes, I was a marathoner, and a proud one at that. How could I give up now?! One thing that the marathons have taught me was never to give up, and so with this renewed vigor, I pumped ahead, the end in sight…..

Alas, a few minutes into my new pumped up avatar, I heard Ram shouting out to the support team that I wanted a break and a lift!!! I went into a total apoplectic shock, refusing velhmently to get into the support van! I had climbed the steepest and most difficult climb of the Giro d’Italia, not to give up in the last 800 m.

A few metres ahead, I could see the happy yellow jersey of Nandu, waiting to push me through the final 500m and I cried out in joy!!! Nandu and me raced to the top, him running and me cycling and soon enough I was reunited with my flock. A blur of green helmet came rushing through and enveloped me into a tight hug, whispering we did it, we did it….. Kalpa!!!! My partner in crime in all these adventures, who savoured each and every breath of the mountain air….

Ram was waiting at the top, super thrilled and excited…..Passo Giau was finally conquered!! 30km of uphill climbing, 2230mt high.

“It’s not the mountains we conquer but ourselves”, Edmund Hilary .

I am not sure how rich my friends are but I am definitely rich because of my friends (AP)

I am not sure how rich my friends are but I am definitely rich because of my friends ( golden words of a friend )

This statement made a deep impact in my mind. How true, how profound! Found my mind wandering again and again to this very statement leading to an immediate introspection and perhaps a quick reflection and count of how rich or poor I myself was. And as I sit here, writing this blog, just a few days away from ticking one of the boxes of my Top 100 Things To Do Before I Die, I feel proud and chuffed, realising that I am indeed rich too, very very rich because of friends like you.


Preparing for this ride brought together people from all walks and ages in the last 12 months. Each and every person had something different to offer, each valuable in his or her own way. We had our differences, our fights and our tears, but we never walked away from our goal. We could never have managed this without our whole team of 26 people. Once the ride is over, I know that we will all walk away into the shadows, but each richer than before, having amassed the wealth of friendship and kindness.




A mix of emotions well up but some other questions rear their heads like Medusa in full flight. Is it all worth it? Will we raise enough to support the school? Will we all be still friends after the trip? Will the kids be safe? And so on and so forth. Ram always reminds me during times like these that its natural for me to worry like this- its instilled in every mother….a mother’s instinct . And so I take it as a complement and start a full blown panic attack 

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The good news is that our cycling jerseys (which had been finally ordered after many many hours of discussions, unending bargaining/canvassing amongst members for the best options) arrived yesterday and they look fantastic!!!! Got excellent service from the online company called OWAYO. Wonderful quality stuff with names engraved , etc etc. The only downside was that some of the jerseys are slightly smaller than expected but that’s not the fault of the company. They have mentioned in the website that these jerseys fit snugly (If anyone wants to order them, then please go for one size larger )


The final mapping is now completed and the brochure has been sent out too. Hotel bookings and transport arrangements all re-confirmed. Had a wonderful meeting with all those involved in the organising group which was very productive. Decided to get medals made for the final reception. The excitement in the air is palpable , just cant wait!!!!! Rashmi and Sanchita will be coming, kids and champagne in tow, to receive us at the Eiffel tower. I think I am looking so far ahead that I keep forgetting that I have to endure a 3 day ride before that .


But still, all I know , is that today, I am one of the richest people in the world  with so many friends wishing us all the best in our long journey to make the world a better place than it already is!!

London to Brighton…..Its definitely not a downhill route to the sea!!!!

1976, 60 Riders and a 95 Mile Route!

The first ever London to Brighton Bike Ride was in 1976 when 30 friends cycled from Hyde Park to Brighton. The bike ride is approximately 74 miles long and goes through some breath-taking country lanes in Surrey and Sussex and ends on Brighton’s world-famous seafront.
Approximately 750, 000 riders have taken part in the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride since 1980, cycling 40 million miles between them!   Speaks volumes about this route and the ride in particular , isn’t it. Partly famous as it is the day 1 leg of the London to Paris route, via Newhaven and precisely the reason we decided to try it out 4 weeks before our London to Paris ride.
On average, it takes around five hours to complete the ride ( are they joking!!! it took us a good 8 hours )

Our intention was to map out rest places ( pubs, restrooms, hills, etc) but nothing prepared me for what i experienced…..nothing at all!!!!

So finally it was saturday and we eagerly and excitedly caught the 6.30 am train from Solihull to London Marylebone. Our Duracell bunny, mom, was up and ready to say goodbye to us at the station. Of course, Vazzy took another nap in the train too….( i am tempted to put the photo of Varun snoring away in the train but dare not 🙂
Reached London Marylebone at around 8am and soon we were immersed in the steady stream of commuters and holiday makers. London! this city never ceases to amaze me…there is a certain magic in its air, a sense of freedom, thrill, suspense and mystery too.
                                Passed a whole rack of bikes parked right on the platform.
Some were really interesting, some pure innovative.
Soon enough, I was reminded of my mummy status…the boys left me alone, juggling with 3 bikes. Felt so embarrassed
Soon we set out on to the streets of London. The first thing that struck me was that London had become extremely bike friendly. There were Boris bikes parked everywhere, bike lanes on most streets and lots of people commuting on bikes. Impressive…..

Passed some wonderful spots  and onto the cycle highway 7, a nice broad expanse that took us all the way from central London to the suburbs.
However, Ram’s experience of cycling in London does sum it all up too….
Cycling in London was some what a bizarre experience. It’s rare to find a place that is so geared up for cycling and yet to have drivers on the road hell-bent on knocking you over isn’t it? Given the number of cyclists on the road and the cycle super highways it’s quite strange that the cars and the lorries have such a scant regard for anyone on the road traveling without a steel cage around themselves. ! It took a while for me to get used to negotiating the streets , not really helped by the constant shrieking of the wife behind me who thought that I was on a suicidal mission.
Of course, what I would rather forget is the path via Tooting and Morden. The roads soon narrowed here to a single lane . Cycle lanes were virtually non-existent because they were hidden by  innumerable HGV s along the road. Fruit markets, saturday shoppers, Big Issue vendors, kids in prams, moms in tow, half in and half out of the shops, etc etc… their midst, my men were on a mission…..they were trying to outdo James….our James Bond yaar… nipping in and out the traffic. sometimes it was Ram, overtaking from the left, or else it was  Varun from the right. They would shoot off leaving me huffing and puffing, in all sorts of stress, phone less and helpless. so obviously as you can imagine, for  the first 2 hours , there was hardly any chitchat amongst us. The moment our eyes would meet, we would just bark at each other and Varun would growl too!!!!
However all this changed once we reached past Mitcham.
Eventually the madness of the traffic gave way to the familiarity of countryside lanes.
That was the beginning of the climbs, one after the other….just long shallow climbs… we just saved all our hisses and spats for use at the end….. 🙂
After a nice downhill stretch on A237 manor road, we reached Coulsdon road, which was the first hill.
Slow and steady on jubilee way near grange pub.
Took left on to Rook lane and the left on to Alderstead lane which led to Shepard hill, another climb….aaarrghhhh
After a few twists and turns, we reached our much awaited next stop!!! By the side of a cricket field!!! Of course, it has to be….you are not an Indian if you don’t pause by a cricket ground and pay respect to it….whether there is a game going on or not!!! Dad and son dutifully stopped and ooh-aah-ed the game while I happily clicked some horsie pics to the left of the field :)))
The next few climbs kept feeling tougher and tougher and our progress slowed down to a crawl. Vazzy who is normally a very strong cyclist seemed to be flagging. The heat was relentless but we kept egging each other on.
One thing that seems to happen when you cycle with a group is that you can almost predict when the others want to stop and when someone will get lost
Ram: I am now quite used to getting an earful from Smita on most of the trips for zooming ahead of her……
Another climb awaited us : Rookery hill, loved it as we passed through its welcoming cool canopy of large leafy trees. Stopped again at the Dog and Duck pub to refresh and reload our bottles.
IMG-20130708-WA0034It was a lovely place and I wished we would turn back at this time. but the look on Ram’s face when i just had that thought in my mind made me hastily change my decision!!! By then, we came across some more cyclists who were headed to Brighton as well.
Back on the road and another climb just after Balcombe road….felt very dizzy and light headed….but carried on. Vazzy had disappeared and Ram was struggling too. Felt so weak and tired that i just couldn’t carry on, so we stopped at a petrol station to get some refreshments. I had heard somewhere that cycling for an hour burns 500 calories, so I had already prepared Ram all along the way that since we would be burning around 5000 calories, there should be no restrictions ont he junk i eat… there we were, munching away happily, on crisps and chocolate bars….ahhhh, heaven at last!!!
But alas, that was not to last long…..we were back on the saddle with renewed vigour ( what a difference calories make – positively and negatively too). Saw the hazy silhouette of a mountain range ahead of us and brushed it aside as it seemed too far away. Varun asked me if we were headed that way and i confidently replied that it was too far away and anyway, silly, we are heading towards the sea, we will go down from here, of course. Aaahh, how wrong  I was !!! Each agonising turn of the wheel led towards the mountains and soon we were doing the painful but as promised by Ram, the last  hill climb towards Devil’s Dyke. It was worth it and we were greeted with stunning views of the area.
A hot air balloon magically rose up and i really really wished i could fly away , then and there in that 🙂
(Ditchling Beacon is the highest point of the Ride at 815 feet. Takes around 45 minutes to reach the top, most of the people walk through rather than cycle!!)
Once that was done, the ordeal was over. The route was pretty flat after that and downhill sometimes too. we soon reached Brighton and cycled back amidst civilisation along the promenade. But there was a strange silence between us….no, we were not waiting to spit and hiss at each other again….in fact, we were rather in a melancholy state because we were at the end of the ride. the pain and effort that gelled us together would disappear soon and we would blend in with the daily shenanigans of life.
Reached a pub who directed us to another pub up the road. I dragged ram and varun towards that side uphill again only to find out that I had taken the wrong route ( drat!!! we cycled 80 miles without losing our way and I had to guide them along 200 yards and still I managed to get us lost!!! ) What followed afterwards was pure heaven: Pimms, wine, fish and chips and chocolate brownies!!!! Could you ask for more……oh yes, need a bed!!!
Caught the train back to london and reached at midnight….once again, London, i love London!
Cycled along the mad streets to our hotel and crashed straight into the soft welcoming bed of our deluxe suite ( free upgrade after seeing our sorry state, i think ) in the Bloomsbury Hotel, very close to all the stations.
It was only the next morning that we realised the beauty of the place….and excellent service too. Had to leave soon and headed back home…..
An interesting conference noted in one of the Bloomsbury hotel suites – Learn to be rich workshop: Rich Dad Education…..Hmmmmm, i wondered what education we were giving our son, who was busy oiling the wheels of his bike, trying to impress the two blondes who went past him, eyeing his cycling gear all over :))))
Ok, back to  the pain…..hmmm, lets say it lasted for a while :/
would i do it again….of course yes….

” 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… 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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 Pain in the landing gear! ( google translation)

Route: Solihull to Warwick

Distance: 40 miles circular

Ride 2 : 26.05.13

Back on the saddle for another gruelling 40 miles on the road.  Decided to take the Solihull to Leamington spa usual, I was a bit apprehensive as we had never been on that route before.


The combinations in the group were different too. This time, we had 2 newbies in out toon town- Prashant and Nishant. P had been gearing for this trip for days and was the first to arrive home, with his bike in tow , but with no air…..lesson 1: to reach Paris, you need to learn how to fill air. The others reached sooner or later and we set off, once again through brueton park. Ram, Nishant and me reached the park but the others were no where to be seen. thanks to the wonders of modern technology, realised that they were further ahead, having taken t he ‘short-cut’

Lesson 5:  stick to the map!!!!guys, there is nothing more annoying than waiting for someone 🙂

I wouldn’t complain though…gave me time to get some nice clicks.

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Went along brueton avenue and up the bridge crossing the M42 into Knowle….thats where my backpack started feeling heavy ( who asked me to carry the big camera!!! Moi, of course) and who would be the first one to point it out- the hubby, of course….my ‘I told you so’ man snapped but eventually gave in and carried it for the rest of the ride , awwwww.

The ride was brilliant with some lovely views. Kept worrying about N and P but they were doing great. Nishant’s cheeks started turning red in varying shades and you could tell that we were increasing our efforts by the deepening beetroot colour he had acquired in the next 20 minutes.

Came across fellow cyclists who waved and cheered everytime they passed ( except for P, who felt that he was ignored bc he was not in proper cycle gear- now who told you to wear jogging bottoms and tshirt. Mahesh reckons they feel that he is out to buy milk and eggs from the local grocer 😉

Reached Warwick ( no idea how leamington route converted to warwick) and past a steep incline in town, reached a welcoming pub.

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It was a great feeling and loved every minute soaking in the sun and beer.

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Was interesting to see the look on M’s face when he got a whole fish, grilled….scales galore, the whole works….( now, for those who dont know,  us indians, have a habit of destroying all resemblance and  flavours of any type of food with the strongest of spices and fish is no exception, hence it was a surprise when an identifiable object like a fish was on the table 🙂

Anyway, it was not M’s day as he was the butt of all jokes ( pun intended 🙂 but he didnt mind at all and all was in good spirits…..

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Met Louis, a cute dog, who mainly understood french and very little english. Did try to converse with him in moi french, but like most males, all he cared was being pampered and stroked…..and thats just what i did 🙂

The return journey was a blur, the aim was to keep going on and on. Was immensely proud of P and N, both excelled and cycled back safely, considering that this was a 40 mile ride and not easy even for relatively senior riders….. reached home, tired but victorious, 40 mile veterans , and of course with the excuse of ‘i am too tired’ for the rest  of the night!

Lessons learnt:

1. Never underestimate the beginners…..enthusiasm and pride always wins ( cheers to N and P )

2. Wear the ‘proper’ gear if you want to be taken seriously by fellow cyclists ( read as if you want to get the cursory nods and whassups!! )

3. Stick to path, stick to path and stick to path.

4. assess hills and lower gears in anticipation, slowly increasing the resistance.


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Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein



Ride 1: 25.05.13

The idea of the next ride always emerges and solidifies during a charity ride and that was exactly the same old way that the L2P ride was conceived. The  enthusiasm and booming confidence of the coast2coast cycling trip spurred the idea of L2P which soon took shape. I was happy being the secretary of the group, booking hotel rooms, reading up various reviews of food ( ah…and wine too), sorting out travel arrangements. The weather too played host and deterred the ‘would love to cycle but…..’ cyclists from going out on their bikes ever since we returned from the C2C.

However,  months of cajoling coaxing threatening and bribing ( hot pub food followed by chilled beer!! Told you , food always works with me ;), the day finally arrived when the British weather also parted ways with my meandering mind and decided to shine through. There was no excuse to dig deeper into the duvet and I knew that I had run out of excuses. Ram had already decided and spread the word amongst the group so we knew that the ride was on, come rain or storm !

On day 1, we  were joined by the usual suspects: Raja and Subhash and soon we set off through BruetonPark.


DISTANCE: 25 miles

It was a great ride and I was happily clicking away. 6 miles down the road, there was a beautiful bluebell wood and I longed for a peek.

Viola!!! It was as if God heard my prayers and Bang! A puncture.

Obviously the guys got started on it straight away ( I think they feel very much the alpha male when they repair punctures etc, just like a bbq ) while I escaped into the bluebell woods.

The ride continued through a forest trail from where 3 horse riders emerged, a beautiful sight framed by the golden glow of the morning sun. There is something so majestic about horses,the way they trot, head held up high, proud and snooty, but equally deserving.

The rest of the ride continued happily clicking away and then catching up with the guys. Spotted a horse and its pony in a perfect setting….enjoy. It was mother nature at its best that day. had to climb over a hedge to take this shot and cursed myself for not bringing my Canon with me.

Lessons learnt:

1. if you are cycling anywhere in temperatures less than 10 degrees, please layer up. We wore 3 thin layers with winter cycling gloves and a neck scarf ( wish there was a nose clip- nothing is more embarrassing than runny noses during a cycle ride.

2. always keep a good quality tissue on the back of your gloves where the velcro straps to the wrist, useful in dabbing those unglamorous noses.

3. Always carry a spare tube in your bag and puncture repair kit.

4. Do take a good quality camera with you, reagrdless of weight….you never know what you might see around the corner.