Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy accidents...

Well... not all accidents are happy ones, but I managed to get in my first and come out unscathed, untattered and unharmed - along with the Enfield. I was pretty much stuck in Pokhara waiting for someone to join on a bike tour. I found Ran who was going to Kathmandu and then Itay who left his bike in Kathmandu and wanted to head to Benares. This was my plan. The night before I was to leave I met up with Itzak whom I've seen in city after city. He was heading to Benares, so I joined him, Sagah and Yani. We ventured off in a trinity. Unfortunately, the first day I was going around a corner in the mountains down from Pokhara and hit a patch of diesel on the road. My back end (heavily weighted down) came out from under me. I thought my leg would be crushed and I'd be in a cast - not so said the universe. I managed to pull out of the skid and headed straight for a cliff. I slid off the cliff (pictures are up on flickr site) - all 16 inches of it. Managed to get the bike out without a scratch, definitely the strangest accident I've ever been in.

The next day my throttle cable snapped and was stuck in a village surrounded by all of it. Trying to work on a bike in the scorching sun surrounded by people who won't speak with you and only stare can run thin on the nerves. I managed to flag down a man with an Enfield and asked him where I would be able to find a Bullet mechanic. There was one 3km in either direction. The options were looking slim. It was either load up the bike on a Tata truck (you'd have to flag one down and convince them to load up the bike), tow the bike with another bike or just jump on the back of the gentleman's bike and head for the mechanic. I chose the latter. This man was well shaven with a clean moustache and a stench of alcohol. We arrived at the mechanic and I looked at the front plate on his bike - he was a police officer. He made sure the mechanic's would try and pull the wool over my eyes and flagged down a bus for me and the mechanic's assistant to head back to the bike with parts in hand.

Upon arriving, Itzak had fixed my bike and his own which he had messed up upon trying to learn how the throttle cable goes into my bike. What a happy day. So we were delayed and therefore had to do a stint of night driving in dust and off roading through it all. Called it a night in Ghaizapur a mere 71 km from Benares.

Once we arrived in Benares chaos reared it's head to our dismay. I managed to hit 2 bicycles, a bicycle rickshaw, auto rickshaw, get my leg sandwiched between my exhaust pipe and someone else's and my favorite... smoking a pedestrian. I never stopped for any of these minor events.

The day was filled with rest and some train business. Itzak and Sagah were headed for Pushkar with his Enfield sent on the train and I to Chandigarh and back in 72 hours. The following morning we went on a sunrise cruise of the Ganga and all the Ghats. Saw dead babies, goats, cows, ashes and billions of particles of bacteria. We went by two of the cremation Ghats where were not allowed to take pictures (I 'accidentally' did). The small streets of the old city that run parallel to the Ganga are the most amazing to experience - so much culture and life going on about you. I managed to see the evening puja at the main Ghat. Everyone does their pujas differently but Varanasi has to be the most flamboyant.

1 comment:

  1. I had a scary crash on a remote mountain road in Utah and thought I was going to die.

    On this tour I was riding a Rans Stratus Recumbent rather than a folding bike. The Rans was fully loaded with gear and I was heading down a 9% grade at 45 mph. I was riding the breaks to keep my speed from increasing and apparently they overheated the rear rim. The tire blew and the bike began swerving wildly. I maintained control until I had decreased speed to about 15 mph, then the bike flipped. As I hit the pavement, a pickup truck that had been behind me since the mountain pass honked his horn and passed me, as if to tell me to get out of his way. Incredible!

    Luckily, I was unhurt but the rim was trashed. I ended up hitching a ride to a small town at the foot of the mountain range. It took a week for the bike to be repaired. Luckily, I had already planned to stop in that town to go river rafting on a tributary of the Colorado River so I lost no time on my trip.

    Larry Lagarde
    Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.


Thank you for your contribution... may blessings be upon you ;)

Clicky Web Analytics