There was a plan, at least in my head to ride the Wabash for its first ever 200km journey in a day. It could do it but could I? I was getting close, even on Indian roads and after riding 184 kms the previous day thought I had a chance and I set off from Kota for Jaipur 258kms away and knew today was not that day.
I am riding around 980 kms every week just now so whilst the fitness level is high, strength good, nutrition is generally poor. Indian life expectancy is 70 years (USA 77yrs, Japan 84 yrs, UK 81 yrs) so well below Western levels. The poor quality street food of which I had no choice but to eat, along with the contaminated air quality next to so much traffic was not conducive to such an increase in effort.
Instead I filmed my day as I do, so let me introduce you to "Cauliflower Man" ...
Cauliflower Man, Chambal River, edge of Kota.
The main Highway 52 is not unlike America's Route 66 if iconic scenes are a part of the tradition of such an arterial route, and you don't have to look far to find traces of the old road and that is where the magic lies. Just off to my left I spotted a shrine, quietly hidden away, young lads diving into the lake, as gentle an rural idyll as you would find, the feint rumble of traffic but the bird song had at last made itself heard.
NH52, the Route 66 of India
And then, to add to the merriment and the mystery, a couple of lads joined me, just to watch along with the 'Guardian of the Temple' nearby. He looked as if he were part of the firmament so I stood him by the bike to see what he made of it all, if anything.
Guardian of the Temple
And then, as if that wasn't enough in this rich tapestry of Indian highway life I had to quote from one of my favourite books of my youth, Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road'....
“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
Because that was exactly what this day was all about, that confusion of not knowing what little star was going to fall my way and when it did what to do with it before it faded away.
The Twirly Moustache Man and the Wabash Electric Bicycle
Will that do.....not quite!
So that night I booked into a small palace next to a beautiful soulful village deep inside the state of Rajasthan where from high up the hillside the chanting of the Shanti Mantra Hindu sacred texts wafted down with the cool wind ...
The Palace of Rajmahal
Map of the World