Monday, March 28, 2011

Travelling in... Bangladesh to India by Bicycle - Leaving Dhaka

After trying to plan the cycling trip from Dhaka to Kolkata between five of us, all working full-time jobs that involve foreign travel and jungle retreats, the bike ride itself wasn’t so hard. Following the dilemmas of choosing a sufficiently macho tiger logo, which flavour energy gels we wanted, planning a jungle party, and synchronising 5 different dietary requirements, riding from Dhaka to Muksudpur on the first day even took me less time than I spent queueing at the Indian High Commission to get my visa  (they were highly suspicious of my 6 visits to Pakistan over the past 2 years, although I made it clear over two interviews that in a cricket match/nuclear war I would support India).

The night before we departed we were lucky to avoid the first storm of the year which just missed Dhaka, but left us with a cool morning and clear skies as we left early the following morning in the inevitably chaotic Dhaka traffic. Following a suprising amount of local press coverage, we retched our way across the Buriganga river and hopped over many roadkill frogs that must have been fatally celebrating the rainfall of the night before. At he ferry crossing of Mawa, we crossed the huge Padma River on speedboats.

Leaving Dhaka
For some reason, the road was incredibly good on the other side of the river with the traffic also vastly reduced,  so we were able to maintain a nice pace and avoid wilting too much as the afternoon sun. Arriving in Muksudpur 90km later was a local event in itself, and we had a crowd of interested villagers who crowded outside the gates of the government guesthouse we were staying in. But apart from one performance in a banana suit by one of the team, we were too tired to do much more than refuel and estimate how long the next day's ride would be. 

I'll post a video of the ride here once I've had a chance to edit it.

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