Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 6 - Bhadrak to Chandikohl, 70 kms

We have a briefing/de-briefing each evening where we share our thoughts for the day, lessons learnt, problems, if any, and decide on the plans for the next day… We decide on the two LoD's or the Leader of the Day, who leads the line of cyclists and sets the pace… and also the Sweepers, who cycle at the back of the pack to ensure that noone is left behind.

We had our first eve-teasing incident today. 3 guys on a motorcycle were going on the opposite side of the road when they saw us and started hooting.. They decided to take a u-turn and come back hooting again.. They went a little ahead and stopped… then overtook us again making obscene gestures… Then they took a u-turn and went by yet another time in the direction that they were originally headed in, but not before they repeated some gesture again… we decided to ignore them and were very focused on our next loo break :)

We were originally supposed to stop at Barchana for the night, but were told that it is a very small place and no arrangements would be possible there. We were instead asked to stay at Chandikhol which is about 5 kms before Barchana… Not a problem :) we were here by 11.45, much sooner than we had expected.. And this was after a lot of loo breaks, breakfast break, a tender coconut break, watermelon break, water breaks…. not bad for day 6 of cycling :)

We're staying at the Chandi Temple here.. What a beautiful location!!! The temple is in the hills (there are just these 5 hills in the middle of nowhere.. everything else is flat) surrounded by huge trees: banyan, mango and jackfrut, and infested with monkeys… They are everywhere and are so cute… We were part of the feeding exercise at 4pm where they take channa from our hands. We discovered that monkeys have soft hands.. hehehe..

Went to a Shiva temple close by after the monkey feeding and then came back to the Chandi temple for the aarti at 6. It was a surreal experience with the lour cymbals and bells and the drums. This was followed by singing accompanied by all these instruments plus a harmonium.

Tomorrow is a long day - almost 80 to 90kms of riding. And then we have a rest day. Will put up today's pics tomorrow.. sorry for the delay :)

After a breakfast of Idli and vada..

Watermelon anyone?

Monkey feeding at the Chandi Temple

Immersed in the aarati... Was a divine experience, albeit loud..

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 5 - Baleshwar to Bhadrak, 85 Kms

I guess the initial excitement is wearing off.. The ride was a little more boring today and we have a feeling that it is not really going to get more exciting than this. We are slowly learning to understand our cycles better and also learning to pace ourselves while cycling.. we are also getting attached to our own cycles, refusing to ride any other. hehehe… Just a mechanical apparatus, but for us, it is like an extension of our bodies for the next one month… Our physical bodies are also getting stronger and we are able to ride without too much discomfort.. Our seats (translated to: backsides) are still a problem but we hope that all those aches will also get sorted out in a day or 2…

Krishna's getting better on the cycle and is at least not having 'landing problems', as we call it :) when we started 5 days ago, she could not stop the cycle without falling down, and sometimes taking one or two girls down with her… It is really commendable that every time she falls down, she picks up the cycle and start again without any complaints… She has stopped falling down now.. :) Our excitement is now in looking forward to the great reception at our rest locations each evening, that we seem to be getting used to.

The concrete roads are over and the regular tar road have started again. The highway is being converted into a 4-lane double road so we got opportunities to cycle on the unused side of the road without having to worry about lorries honking from the back… The roads here are very good.. only problem for cyclists is that it is not flat.. the highway Is built on an embankment about 10 ft higher than the ground below.. and this means that even though the ground is flat, there are constant ups and downs that we have to battle with (the downhills is quiet enjoyable, I must admit).. And there are a lot of places where the local village roads go below the highway.. this creates more uphills for us to cycle on…

Left half an hour earlier today because of the longer distance. Breakfast on the way as usual. We had quiet a few upset tummies today as yesterdays menu consisted of puri's for breakfast, lunch and dinner.. not to mention the kachori's and other fried snacks that we were given in the afternoon… Pudin hara's for everyone today…

We reached Bhadrak at 12.30 pm (much sooner than we had anticipated) and were given a grand welcome by the Bhadrak Rotary Club Midtown and the inner wheel, which is the Ladies wing of the Rotary. Today, being the last sunday of the month, they had their free homeopathic camp (they completed 2 years of this programme today). Great potluck lunch of pav bhaji, kadhi, chutney, pulav and rasgulla.. did i mention that we stopped at a dhaba about 10 kms earlier and ate 30 malpoas? (between the 10 of us).. It was just so tasty and we needed the sugar rush, or so we tell ourselves… we're all food lovers hehehe… and food loves us :)

We had a formal presentation with the members of the Rotary and Inner wheels and they really enjoyed Bimla didi's talk about climbing Mt Everest and did not let her stop talking… All in all, a great day…

early morning...

Massage session in progress...

Just before we saw this board, we asked 4 people for the distance to Bhadrak... They gave us differing answers from 30kms to 5 kms.. we cheered when we saw this board :)

We discovered a new combination: malpoa with lays.. lol.. it was quiet nice..

Bimla didi enthralling the audience...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 4 - Jaleshwar to Baleshwar, 54 Kms

Wow… We thought that it is a short distance and we can take it easy.. But, we still ended up reaching at 1… The weather has become quiet unbearably hot after 12 noon. our 20 ltr can of water does not seem to be enough for the journey (this is despite the fact that each of us already have at least 1.5 ltrs on us when we start).. at least we are all drinking lots and lots of water :)

we started at 6 as usual but Raja stopped at a tea stall before we reached the highway. had lovely tea and big biscuits before we left… Followed our usual routine of stopping for breakfast around 7.30-8 am… unfortunately the dhaba guy was not ready with food.. so we all got into the kitchen and helped him make puri's while he got the aloo gravy ready.. he then discovered that our picture was in the newspaper today - the Sambad.. It was the pic with all of us sitting on the dias, not that any of our faces were visible clearly.. But he was excited nevertheless and almost did not charge for the food..

The highway In Orissa, at least what we have seen so far, is all concrete and the roads have been really good. There is a 4 ft shoulder where we (and a whole lot of other locals) cycle. It feels quiet safe, unlike the city roads, as the trucks and other vehicles stay quiet far away from us. We do ensure we have our helmets in place though… Moreover, we're all bundled up with almost no skin showing for fear of sun burns and also to ensure that we do not breathe in the smoke and dust that the fast moving vehicles churn up. the worst part is that we have to cycle in a single file.. So we have to entertain ourselves for hours on end while looking at the backside of the cyclist in front :P… ipods are a saving grace (wish we could watch a movie or something while we're at it. hehehe)

The RJ School of Management in Baleshwar is hosting us today along with the Rotaract.. They put up a tent in the middle of the highway, about 10 kms before Baleshwar and received us with soft drinks.. They then escorted us to the college… We climbed into our truck with our cycles after about half the distance in town due to the crowd on the streets and the heat… We had after all reached our destination town on cycle :)

we were greeted with more eating and great hospitality… lovely snacks, sweets and typical Oriya food: saag with badi, tomato chutney and a whole lot more… Prof Pani, Director of the college has organised a big function in the evening with tree plantations and interactions with the who's who of Baleshwar and the college students.. we're looking forward to that now.. will update you at night….

Day 3 - Kharagpur to Jaleshwar, 84 kms

Long ride, the longest so far.. The aches and pains have considerably reduced but the heat has gone up… another cycle punctured.. this time, Krishna's…we need to get it fixed.. had nice masala parantha (not aloo this time.. lol) with aloo gobi subzi. was very tasty, as usual..

We left at 6 am.. Mr Manna and Chinangsuk escorted us all the way to the highway through a shortcut… Beautiful country roads with fields on both sides and extra-long goods trains visible on the horizon through the mist… we reached the Orissa border at around 1pm where Sabyasachi Das and _______ received us with huge red roses for each of us :)… we then went to an Industrial Training College where the boys were lined up on both sides of the path showering flower petals on top of us. We felt like queens of the world.. heheheh…

Lunch was from the kitchens of ISCKON temple and was typically tasty Oriya food… We hope this great reception lasts through the expedition :)

The plans for the evening are also big… Jaleshwar Mahotsav is on and they have organised a one-hour function where they will be felicitating the girls.. There is a film star also coming to meet with us.. Wow!!! Will let you know the details when we get back.. bfn..

10 pm

Wow! it was a great evening. Big mela… Big stage with all of us sitting on it.. The mela was nice with all the lovely stalls and rides. We managed to sit on two of the rides as well and screamed our heads off… Nice dinner and we're just too tired now to do anything else… so will log off :)

just before our 'escorts' left us at the highway :)


Banana and orange break :)

Green girls with red roses..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meet the team Part 1

Vasumathi Srinivasan, Leader, Go Green Girls

Vasumathi is one of the senior most active mountaineers from the state of Karnataka. She is Vice President of Karnataka Mountaineering Association, the oldest mountaineerign association in South India. Vasu is a 2-time Limca Book of Records holder for (a) being part of the first mother daughter team to climb a peak in India together and (b) being part of the first team of women to cross the Thar Desert on camel back.

A highly dynamic lady, she has multiple hobbies apart from being an avid mountaineer and mountaineering instructor and adventurer.. she is a painter, squash player and referee and a great cook… She has been an athlete in her younger days and has represented the state for many years… She has many achievements to list, and two of them are as below:
• Created History by leading the First Army Ladies Mountaineering Exp. to Mt Kulu Pumori (21,500 ft) in 1996
• She lead the first Dogra Ladies Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Ibex (20,400ft) in the Kinnaur Region

She has spent her life believing and proving that women can achieve anything that they put their mind to.. it is a pleasure to watch her play squash or trekking.. she puts the men and younger girls to shame :)

Gangotri Indumati

Gangotri is a pioneer woman mountaineer from the state of Gujarat. Later generations of mountaineers have grown up idolising her and taking inspiration from her achievements…She has also trained successive generations of mountaineers by being an Instructor in Mount Abu. This spirit of achievement began from a young age when she was a national champion in swimming… She is the first woman to cover the Gujarat coast on a bike.. has climbed about 14 peaks in the Indian Himalaya and led a couple of expeditions… to top it off, she is an honorary member of the American Alpine Club…

She is also an educationalist and is professionally qualified as a psychologist. She lives in Baroda and does a lot of work with children in schools and colleges...

Day 2 - Bagnan to Kharagpur - 76 Kms

Today was a long ride, especially compared to yesterday's picnic :) Or so we thought.. But we are strong girls, aren't we?

We left at 6am (we would have loved to leave sooner, but the big light In the sky does not come on before that).. Leaving at 6 am means that we need to assemble with our luggage at 5.30 and start checking our cycles and loading the truck with our luggage… Sigh!!! Surprisingly, everyone is up before time and ready.. Good Girls…

As usual we stopped for breakfast after the first hour.. Luckily we had learnt our lesson the previous day and Informed the cook to make the aloo parantha's on the tava instead of frying it in oil.. The parantha's turned out to be amazingly tasty.. We were all sufficiently loaded with carbs ready to take on the ride for the day.. :)

We had our first cycle casualty for the day with my cycle getting punctured halfway… I loaded it on to the truck and picked up a spare cycle.. Kavitha also ended up getting her cycle punctured later in the day (we decided to blame the food that we had eaten with the Gujarati samaaj yesterday..)

The ride was long… All our butts were hurting and a few of us even have blisters.. Apart from that, our knees and wrists were competing to be more painful… Those of us who had high seats had wrist pain and those of us who had low seats had knee pains.. :).. we're hoping to get over this soon enough.. maybe a few days more..

The reception we received at Kharagpur was great.. The Lions Club, Kharagur Metropolitan, had arranged the whole thing… They waited for us on the main road with their banner and cycles and lead us to our accommodation… We had great food again, not that we are complaining.. Our cycle mechanics arrived from Kolkata to fix our cycles.. They're like new (well! they are, aren't they?) now and I think tomorrow's ride will be more comfortable… blisters… knees… wrists.. elbows.. back!!! :)

After lunch, we had a cycle rally within Kharagpur… lots of people joined us with flags and banners and speakers.. It was a fun rally followed by a press conference (nice reporters.. :)). Nice dinner again and we're about to sleep now… have to wake up early again :) catch you tomorrow… Thank you Lion's Club...

Early morning cycling..

After our aloo paranthas


fun on the road...

Our reception at kharagpur... The lady isthe President of Lions Club, Kharagpur Metropolitan...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Great Job

Hello All
Great job firstly working so hard to set it up and finally making it happen. All praise to Vasumathi the leader and Smitha the Deputy Leader. To make this happen there were a lot of support from all the members WANI. This is truly Women Empowerment. Wish you all the best for the rest of the journey. Will be following your expedition closely and wish you all the very best and hope all you finish the expedition safely.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 1 - Kolkata to Bagnan

1200 hrs, 26 Jan 2011...
Cycling for day one is complete.. have reached lodge Prantik which is about 3 kms ahead of Bagnan... Cycled for about 50 kms today.. nice relaxed ride for day 1... started cycling outside Kolkata at around 5 am and reached here at 11.. not bad considering we had two looooong breaks for breakfast and juice :)

Cycles need fixing though :( we found out last night that things were not quiet as cool as we expected... hopefully we will find a mechanic in Kharagpur tomorrow to fix the cycles...

There is a gujrati group here at the lodge, celebrating Republic Day.. a lot of fun.. the children, especially the girls, were very excited to see so many women cycling.. they came up and spoke to us.. had a nice chat with them.. they have offered to provide lunch for us with the group :) sweet...

GGG girls relaxing after first day's ride...

Total relaxation!!!

FOOD!!!! yummy gujju food!!

Logging out for now...

1700 hrs, 26 Jan 2011...
Lunch was so tasty.... we all ate like pigs and slept... the people were so happy to feed us and meet us... we had a long chat with all of them.. we felt like celebrities :) nothing more planned for this evening.. dinner, meeting and sleep.. we have to leave early tomorrow morning (and this will be the case for the next one month... :( )

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Go Green Girls Route Map:

D Day Date Day Place Distance
West Bengal
26-Jan-11 Wednesday Kolkata Flag off
Day 1 26-Jan-11 Wednesday Bagnan 54 kms
Day 2 27-Jan-11 Thursday Kharagpur 74 kms
Day 3 28-Jan-11 Friday Jaleshwar 73 kms
Day 4 29-Jan-11 Saturday Baleshwar 56 kms
Day 5 30-Jan-11 Sunday Bhadrak 86.3 kms
Day 6 31-Jan-11 Monday Barnachana 87kms
Day 7 1-Feb-11 Tuesday Bhubaneshwar 85 kms
Day 8 2-Feb-11 Wednesday Bhubaneshwar Rest Day
Day 9 3-Feb-11 Thursday Balugaon 95 kms
Andhra Pradesh
Day 10 4-Feb-11 Friday Ichchapuram 99 Kms
Day 11 5-Feb-11 Saturday Kotabommalli 104 kms
Day 12 6-Feb-11 Sunday Ranastalam 87.5 kms
Day 13 7-Feb-11 Monday Vishakapatnam 104 kms
Day 14 8-Feb-11 Tuesday Tuni 96 kms
Day 15 9-Feb-11 Wednesday Tuni Rest Day
Day 16 10-Feb-11 Thursday Kakinada 82 kms
Day 17 11-Feb-11 Friday Narasapur 103 kms
Day 18 12-Feb-11 Saturday Machilipatnam 86 kms
Day 19 13-Feb-11 Sunday Chinna Gajam 100 kms
Day 20 14-Feb-11 Monday Kavali 90 kms
Day 21 15-Feb-11 Tuesday Manubolu 93 kms
Day 22 16-Feb-11 Wednesday Manubolu Rest Day
Day 23 17-Feb-11 Thursday Tada 92 kms
Day 24 18-Feb-10 Friday Chennai 97 kms
Day 25 19-Feb-11 Saturday Mahabalipuram 55 kms
Day 26 20-Feb-11 Sunday Pondicherry 95 kms
Day 27 21-Feb-11 Monday Sirkazhi 85 kms
Day 28 22-Feb-11 Tuesday Velankanni 77 kms
Day 29 23-Feb-11 Wednesday Velankanni Rest Day
Day 30 24-Feb-11 Thursday Adiramapattinam 98 kms
Day 31 25-Feb-11 Friday Devipattinam 117 kms
Day 32 26-Feb-11 Saturday Mel Mandai 91 kms
Day 33 27-Feb-11 Sunday Manappad 95 kms
Day 34 28-Feb-11 Monday Kanyakumari 72 kms