Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS

Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby TKOS » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:25 pm

Hey,

We are on a cycle trip from London to Melbourne and are about half way (Udaipur, India). We were originally planning on cycling from Agra to Kolkata but many locals have told us it 'might' be a bit dangerous. Not so much for traffic etc, but more about a little highway robbery, particularly in the state of Biha from a particular group called Dacoits.

Normally we listen to the advice of locals and follow the majority blindly, but in this case, just as many locals have told us that is should be fine but cycle during the day, and many others have said that if we ever see a Dacoit, we should take a photo because they are just an urban legend and do not really exist.

So I was just wondering if anybody has done the stretch from Agra-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanassi-Kolkata and uncovered either the same 'legends' or actually had any issues on this road?

Thanks!
TKOS
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: India

by BNA » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:29 am

BNA
 

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby RonK » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:29 am

Sorry, can't help there. You will find more tourists with experience in this region by posting in the forum on crazyguyonabike.com.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
User avatar
RonK
 
Posts: 4932
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:08 pm
Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby Cheesewheel » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:32 am

TKOS wrote:Hey,

We are on a cycle trip from London to Melbourne and are about half way (Udaipur, India). We were originally planning on cycling from Agra to Kolkata but many locals have told us it 'might' be a bit dangerous. Not so much for traffic etc, but more about a little highway robbery, particularly in the state of Biha from a particular group called Dacoits.

Normally we listen to the advice of locals and follow the majority blindly, but in this case, just as many locals have told us that is should be fine but cycle during the day, and many others have said that if we ever see a Dacoit, we should take a photo because they are just an urban legend and do not really exist.

So I was just wondering if anybody has done the stretch from Agra-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanassi-Kolkata and uncovered either the same 'legends' or actually had any issues on this road?

Thanks!


I have never done any cycling through india but I can say Bihar is one of the most dangerous places in india that falls short of requiring special visa paperwork (like say sikkim or kashmir). I noticed (about eight years ago) that when you catch a train that passes through Bihar the security guards are replaced by these sleepy pudgy middle aged guys carry shotguns with newspaper stuffed down the barrel to these elite young rambo sorts with submachine guns.

I drove the same route as well and I never had any issues (its a busy day time route)

This guy has an interesting blog on the subject

Image
Above: Dacoit Surprise! Mr Pumpy, heading out of Bihar State, on the way to Calcutta.

"This mode of transport (the Armoured Amphibious Assault Vehicle, at left) may confuse some, but it's highly effective on the Bombay - Calcutta axis.
It's especially effective in Bihar State, where dacoits (bandits) attempt tourist hijackings by standing on the road in front of the oncoming vehicle. Mr Pumpy calls this activity "Dacoit Surprise!" on account of how surprised they look when he keeps going.
"

I plan to tour india (someday :( ) and I tend to agree with his map
Image

"The North: Across the northern plains, from Delhi and Bombay through to Varanasi and Calcutta, the population is super dense, the traffic is out of control and the folk are desperate for a dollar.

Bihar State (capital Patna), for example, is one of the most densely populated places on earth. The traffic is quite insane and out in the country areas, just to add to your worries, dacoits (bandits) run wild. Bihar has been called the most corrupt place on earth.

Bombay (Mumbai) is another planet, and not Mr Pumpy's idea of a leisurely ride through a fascinating landscape.

This is not to say that the North isn't fascinating. Mr Pumpy loves it, he just won't ride there. He prefers to travel the North in an AAAV."


South India sounds better.

Link here

http://www.mrpumpy.net/rides/9-india-so ... y-map.html

I've known two people who have been rolled by dacoits (or gundas as they are sometimes called). In both cases the road was blockaded with debris or burning tyres late in the evening while a group of men accosted the taxi on a suitable stretch of road (ie outlying country area with poor quality road, even by indian standards). In one of the incidents it got a bit nasty when he resisted (severely bashed). An experienced (car) traveler I know sticks to travelling between the hours of about 6am and 6pm on questionable stretches
GO!! Run!!! GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!
User avatar
Cheesewheel
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:22 pm
Location: GoldCoast Qld

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby RonK » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:52 pm

Hehe - Mr Pumpy has a great sense of humour.

Here's the journal of a tour through Bihar and UP. Haven't read through it but thought it may be of interest you...
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
User avatar
RonK
 
Posts: 4932
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:08 pm
Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby Cheesewheel » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:13 pm

RonK wrote:Hehe - Mr Pumpy has a great sense of humour.


I think Bihar lends itself to comedy.
From my time there I recall that it was alleged that the leading state politician of Bihar (Lalu Prasad Yadav) was illiterate. When journalists asked him if he could read a newspaper he said to the effect "I don't need to read the newspaper, All the stories in them are about me and I already know what I am doing".

On another occasion visiting japanese diplomats told him that if they were given 5 years to work on bihar as heads of state, they could make bihar as productive as japan. He responded by saying if he was given 5 months to work on japan as a head of state, he could make japan as productive as bihar.
GO!! Run!!! GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!
User avatar
Cheesewheel
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:22 pm
Location: GoldCoast Qld

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby gururug » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:38 am

I've travelled across India. I would steer clear of main carriage ways and highways. Small towns like Karala, Srinegar are very cycle friendly ( if you have wide tyres ). Getting a wet bandanna or one of those breathing filters might also be beneficial as dust is prevalent throughout the country.
User avatar
gururug
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:05 pm

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby TKOS » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:14 pm

Thanks for all the advice and the links.

That's some funny stuff about the Bihar politician!

I still can't seem to find much on a particular stretch through Jharkhand via the NH2, but I guess we'll just have to find out first hand. As I say, not so worried about traffic, dust, trucks etc, more about Dacoits and highway robbery.

We are leaving Agra tomorrow (29th Sept) and should get to the safety of Calcutta by the 20th of October, if not earlier.

I have a website that i keep updated pretty often in regards to date and current location. If it stops moving, so have we!!

http://www.thekindnessofstrangers.net
TKOS
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: India

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby il padrone » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:47 pm

So how'd it go TKOS?

Wee you able to travel happily? Were the rumors of dacoits everywhere correct or horribly exagerated?
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
User avatar
il padrone
 
Posts: 17528
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:57 pm
Location: Heading for home.

Re: Is cycling UP and Bihar (India) really dangerous?

Postby TKOS » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:02 pm

PLEASED to report that UP, Bihar and Jharkhand are the friendliest states in all of India!

We cycled from 6am every morning to escape the craziness of the roads, and everything on the NH2 was safe. The roadside diners attracted lots of curiosity to us but all friendly. Prices were all local and honest. It seems that not many westerners go through these parts on a bicycle!

Hotels can be a bit of a stretch but there are a couple conveniently located in Bahri despite what Google says. You have to get off the NH2 to go to Bodhgaya and back, otherwise you'll be cycling up to 200km per day if you don't. And Bodhgaya is definitely worth a visit (especially if you're into Buddhism).

We saw a couple of civilian road blocks (the style used to hi-jack cars), but they smiled at us and said 'good morning' as we nervously cycled passed. I'm not sure what happened to the other cars and trucks in the queue of traffic.

Despite our journey being happy, we were constantly told not to cycle at night (or late afternoon) and camping was too dangerous. It could have just been from cautious locals, but it was advice we were happy to take.

For any specific questions, please email me at [email protected] and I will update our website in the not too distant future.

Happy travelling.
TKOS
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: India


Return to Touring Overseas

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Support BNA
Click for online shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Cycling Express Cycling Express
Ebay Ebay AU
ProBikeKit ProBikeKit UK
Evans Cycles Evans Cycles UK
JensonUSA Jenson USA
JensonUSA Competitive Cyclist