Meditator wrote:Just to confuse matters i'm going to disagree with Fred on a few points he has made. I respect Fred and mate, sorry your partner lost her bike. I was in france when i read the message on TT. I"m newie.
Anyway cheese, i've been to india three times, twice on a bike and i've done one of the internal routes that onrrbikes has done and i didn't feel about it quite the same way as him, nor delhi either.
So here's some tips and perspectives of mine. I"m now a 49 year old woman solo cyclist. I was about 45 when i did my first bike ride in india.
1. there is zero need or advantage in buying rupees in australia. You can buy them at delhi airport and get a better rate. There is an atm outside the main building where the taxis go from or you can buy them over the counter.
2. For maps you will be better served by buying nelles maps from either a good australian map shop or online. They are german. They show a lot of secondary roads and these you need for your journey to stay off the highways as much as possible. I havent seen the maps mentions but unless things hvae changed since i last went maps in india are not comprehensive in their detail and it think the scale is much worse. There are four nelles maps covering india.
3. Delhi is a great city. I like it more every time i visit though the first time it is overwhelming and can be intimidating. For that reason it is a good idea to consider skipping the ride from the airport to your hotel and taking a taxi. Its a lot easier to do this in delhi than in mumbai. Get tips on how to handle taxi drivers in delhi and their old scams but maybe these have improved a lot since the commonwealth games. Go to india branch of the thorntree lonely planet for details. ask for updates on the situation. a taxi costs about 350 rupees but maybe more at night. best to wait till the morning book your hotel room in advance if arriving at night. do not under any circumstances believe anything anyone tells you about your hotel stick to your original plans and do not change your bookings.
I rode around delhi qjite a bit when there. On my first trip i had a hair raising but the most exciting ride of my life going from pahar ganj to old delhi train station. You can see pictures of that experiences and notes on photoblog.com/shangrila and the date will be 2007 january. look up the month and see if you can find that entry. lots of pictures. This experiences was so intense i went back at teh end of my trip to repeat the experience from the back of a rickshaw and that is when i actually took the pictures of that road.
4. It is more challenging when travelling in the interior but people are generally kind and helpful. Not many scammers in their outback either they all congregate in the tourist areas. Teh food is much more challenigng with it being very very spicy and often not so yummy so if you are travelling away from tourist zones, it is a good idea to take your own cooking stove. If you do that, it is worth learning some hindi words for food items. sugar is cheeni, chilli is meerchi, rice bubbles is muri/mudi or a combination of both. I eat them with bananas and milk which is hard to find unless you know the word for it but i can't remember it. I have forgotten all that i learnt 3 years ago. Its actually fun learning hindi on the road with a book and chatting to people. You acquire the useful words really quickly though syntax is hard.
If you are interested in any more of my insights, feel free. Oh i wanted to say that Fred is not wrong its just that travelling is such a subjective experience and often what goes down can vary according to our mood in the moment, who we travel with, the weather, random problems like bike breakdowns and such, how well we can respond to things like potential scammers, curious people and so on. The thing that got me into a negative spin the most was chilli. But it took a while. So we will all experience the place differently adn its hard to actually provide truly objective opinions.
I have an idea to land in delhi and follow the ganges from haridwar to kolkata (and maybe even go across the bangladesh border and depart from dhaka) during October to mid november. Still unsure at the moment, since I also might just skip the delhi side of things so I can thoroughly travel the bengali side.
BTW I am also in the middle of trying to weasel another 10 weeks away from work from early may to mid june 2014 to do uttarkhand (gangotri, yamunotri etc).
I checked out your pics and noticed that you had tags for uttarkhand but nothing posted. Have you been there?