top of page

Blog 76 Bimalnager to Kathmandu

6th December

Awake at 6.30am, couldn’t stir until 7am on the road half an hour later, chai stop 8.20am. My day runs like a finely tuned clock. A Grandfather Clock. Even though I have done absolutely no research about todays ride, I knew that every moment would be a surprise. From the very first day this journey started it has enforced on me the simplest possible life, and that suits me; a daily routine which didn’t change. A life with so few decisions meant fewer complications and that matched the recipe for success being linked to simply not making stupid mistakes. How could you get such a journey wrong when the broad principles of its operation is based on minimalism and not knowing what's going to happen next? I have four articles of non riding clothing and that includes a pair of flip flops. Even if the detail of my life was an experiment with meaning, it had to be simple and without any distractions to pollute the reasoning of why I’m here.





At a random chai stall, the milk tea did not have the spicy cinnamon taste of masala chai but the way the warmed unsweetened doughnuts soaked it up matched my pleasure in watching the morning shadows slide down the slopes of the Machapuchare Mountain and the Annapurna massif. This is the Prithvi Highway, the longest single route in Nepal. It was the worst surfaced road I had ever cycled on 40 years ago and it still is. Prone to landslides and water disturbances which regularly rip it apart, all I had to do was sip my tea and be. It was a nothing else moment and the tiredness and apprehension of the morning ebbed away.


Sliced tyres and truck innertubes weighed down the corrugated roof of a shed adjacent to where I was seated, on a plastic chair in one of the poorest countries in the world. A man was plucking the feathers off a hen whilst a small child looked up at me; a foreigner probably having never stopped here ever. And the leaves of all the trees were covered in road dust to appear baked brown as if by some merciless sun, but there was only low cloud this morning obliterating all but the glimpse I saw of the mountain tops covered in snow.

More trucks passed, their chassis contorting with the effort of being driven on this spasm of a road until the whole vehicle shudders into a death wish only to miraculously recover. With just a bag of spanner’s and brutish mechanical knowledge, drivers here possess a kind of genius keeping these monsters moving.


My only pleasure when I stop is eating. I find prowns. I find a man and his wife with a lovely smile and the feed me their own caught prawns from the Prithvi River behind where they sell them.

I ride and I ride. It gets dark and I start climbing the longest hardest hill of the entire journey so far. Up I climb, my battery on low. I stop at a coffee spot and for a full 15 minutes re-charge and hope it's enough to get me to the top. It's pitch black night time and the traffic heaves itself up the hill, mercifully slowly, braking at every stream-bed turn. This is Dante's Hell Highway with 50ft drop-off's, gullies, broken concrete slabs and rippled asphalt enough to throw me under the wheels of a truck. Each day I calculate the probability of me getting through the day alive. It takes all of my riding and driving experience to keep the levels of chance acceptable.


I wonder if all of this is in that special place called 'In the Moment'


“Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.”

Albert Einstein

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”

A.A. Milne

My battery is bleeping nothing left so I grab onto the rear of a slow moving truck, it gives me more space on the right hand bends, cutting me off as it cuts into the left hand curves. I let go then peddle furiously until i have space enough to hold on with enough road to ride safely - the lights of the truck helping me see. Is this normal I ask myself. Am I exceeding the parametres of what is acceptable around the world cycling? Up we go in the night air, no where to stay, no where to charge, nothing but the night. A night like this is the hardest time to be alive and it knows my secrets, my needs, I hold on until the top and then release I let the lorry go.


The final 9 kms are downhill into the city, the fastest growing conurbation in Asia, ever expanding, now shop fronts, showrooms, wires, cables, poles, poor lighting, dogs, people walking. I use all the protection I know, hiding behind scooters, keeping slow cars near me, using their lights until I find a place to sleep.


Map of the Day


72 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All

4 Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Guest
Dec 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I've been away and just catching up on your journey Nick. I'm doing a bit of 'binge watching Nick"! My God what a daily challenge you have. I agree with Steve ( below) - the hardship is etched into your face. You are doing an extraordinary thing with this ride - and that takes an exceptional person. I feel your exhaustion in your blog, balanced with an interesting canumdrum (?) of needing to recharge the Yamaha bike in snatches as you go to help you tackle such a road, while the need to push on is ever there - snapping at your heels. Ride safe.


Like

Guest
Dec 08, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I always enjoy your field reports , stay safe and thanks for sharing your adventure!

Like

Steve Turner
Steve Turner
Dec 08, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Blimey, that's one wiggly road!! Digging in deep now Nick...can see it etched on your face.

What an adventure...and huge mileages each day. You'd win the Tour de France with your little finger....💪😉

DYYou're

Like

Rory Wilson
Rory Wilson
Dec 07, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Absolutely amazing! And wonderful people.

Like
bottom of page