As you know we have three fabulous sponsors without whom this journey would not happen. Obviously Yamaha and my great lock people SQUIRE and Route YC over on the Yorkshire Coast and a lot more about them very soon. But to help out I contacted just a very few Yamaha dealers in the UK to see if they'd sponsor a few blogs and really happy to announce that Mitchells Motorcycles up there in Inverness are chipping in to support the India section (and also they want to sell a few Wabash electric bicycles, and why not) If a Wabash can get me around the world, they could get a big friendly biker across the Trossachs, right! Thanks Heather in the office - so India is for you guys.....
Electric bicycles need electricity and that comes in the form of a battery. Airline legislation doesn't allow batteries over a certain power size to travel on ordinary commercial airlines so they have to be specially packaged and sent by freight forwarding agents like Motofreight in the UK to receiving agents like Capricorn Logistics who do the paperwork and get it through customs. In the case of India that is a BIG deal and Team Yamaha and the other guys in offices all over India worked their socks off to get it cleared the day I arrived in Mumbai - thank you. Here is that little but truly important story.
The Story of the Battery
Everything will be alright in the end. As I merge into Indian traffic for the first time as a cyclist for 39 years. But what end? And then if it’s not alright, it’s not the end. Definitely not the end, only half a lifetime since I was here. Not a full lifetime yet but you don’t know, in this nightmarish Dantean traffic which moves in the most hellish ways. In motoring terms India is from Dantes Inferno:
Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people”
Dante Alighieri, The Inferno
And how the traffic when nights falls can lead you in your mind as you wander through the streets, the back ways, the over passes and junctions, intersections and lights and screaming brakes and smell of tyres but not blood yet.
“And that must end us, that must be our cure:
To be no more. Sad cure! For who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish, rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night
Devoid of sense and motion?”
India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay. Perhaps what I mean is, when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful and India will still be flapping still, still flapping away.
Blast from the Past
I'm introducing an occasional series of films that will help you dear reader why I am doing this journey and no one else. If it was easy and wonderful to do, we'd all be doing it.
Map of the Day