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CTC Bike Tour Leader course in India Day 2

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Hot hot hot! Preparation for the CTC Bike Tour Leader course in India, meeting the trainees and the course starts, all in 36 degrees and 95% humidity.
A group of trainee tour leaders in India
The assembled trainee tour leaders ready for their course

Wednesday

Route finding and prep

The traffic in any foreign city always has its own culture, and of course India's is definitely something to experience. My recollection of previous visits was of higher noise levels and utter chaos. Maybe further travelling and riding solo through places like Rome since my last trip to India have extended my capacity to appreciate the nuances of local conditions?

Of course, Asian traffic is renowned amongst travellers and that around Kochi was no different.  Essentially, if there is a gap, it is filled by someone or something else filling it, usually from a different direction.

Peter, who manages the guides in Kerala and Sri Lanka stated Indian vehicles can manage happily without brakes but not without a bell or horn.  'Driving by ear!'!

To me its all about three areas, and these apply equally in the UK:

1. Reading and anticipating others on the road.  Awareness is key!

2. Having confidence. Everyone else is reading you too so you being confident helps them.

3. Road positioning.  Your location, speed and direction are all observed by other users and these can be more indicative than signalling.

Put these together and you can fit right in. As always when travelling, it should be a case of 'when in Rome....' So we got out there and became Kerolan road users. I love it!

Whilst preparing our route and investigating various options, we came across a festival. Most people were either watching or part of a big parade with two fully dressed elephants at the head.  Great to see and very inspiring.

The trainees attending this course were based in one of three locations: - Kochi in Kerala, South West coast of India, near to the course base; Delhi and Rajistan in, north India and Sri Lanka, with 4 or 5 from each location.  It was good to meet them all for an evening meal and discuss the various travelling options. Our 24 hours of trains, flights and transfers paled somewhat in comparison to those from north India, who had spent three days on train carriages. No beds or air conditioning.  Seats were considered a bonus and food was sought at station stops.  Not surprisingly, they all retired early for some proper kip.

 

What I learned today:

We rode past a wagon unloading its sacks of local spices. An old guy skinny as a rake - probably not 60kg himself - had a sack balanced on his head, carrying it away to its destination across the road in the shop. As I rode past, I saw it had 50kg printed on the hessian. There'll not be many folk in the UK who could carry nearly their own weight on their head – what a skill!

 

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