The 20k cycle ride around Udaipur on our first morning was something that frankly, I expected to endure rather than enjoy. After all, my only training had been about seven sessions of riding a stationary bike in front of the TV for twenty minutes. Never mind having the strength to do the actual cycle ride, I was concerned how my backside would cope. Still, it was all part of challenging ourselves to do something different on this trip so I bought myself some padded cycle pants and hoped for the best. To my surprise, even though the uphill parts were a bit of a struggle, I found myself loving it.
Gaurav from Rajasthan Trekking had organised our cycle ride and he met us at the hotel first thing and walked us down to the old city where we met our trusty bikes for the first time. It was at this point that I realised that I had left my gel saddle back in the hotel. It wouldn’t prove to be much use to me there. It was a good thing that we started out early as negotiating the tiny streets of the old city was far from easy. People, cars, bikes and cows vied with each other for enough space to pass. If only I’d had the confidence to move my right hand off the handlebars, I’d have been ringing my bell too to add to the clamour.
I felt somewhat safer when, after a while, we left the city and headed out along a beautiful lake.
Turning off the main road, the road became much more rural, passing through green wheat fields where women in brightly coloured saris were hard at work. Heading upwards, we eventually came to a small village, amusingly called Big village. Grateful for a breather, it was interesting to see women collecting water from the communal pump and carrying it home on their heads.
Cycling on again, we passed a woman making cow dung cakes for fuel with her hands however, as we were on the uphill, I didn’t stop to take a photo (or shake her hands!)
We were just getting complacent and thinking how well we were doing when we turned a corner and were confronted with a huge, very steep hill. We did try to cycle up it but my “training” in front of the telly had not prepared me for this. I conceded defeat and got off and walked. Trust me, even that was exhausting!
At the top of the hill was Tiger lake – the half way point. Not sure why it’s called that as there were certainly no tigers, but the view of the lake was beautiful and it was nice to stop and rest for a while before the return journey. This was somewhat easier as we were able to enjoy the freewheeling fruits of our earlier uphill struggles for much of the way. An excellent start to our first full day in Rajasthan.