This is all about augmentations of human energy with electric power for cycling
as the most sustainable form of human transportations

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last leg planning & confusion on Kerala....

Lot of things happened in the past week. Getting hold of the suitable stuff is quite tedious job. Last week took trike to Puttur & got a camera mount fabricated. The finishing was tolerable and only thing bothering me was it was bit heavy. I was shocked to find that camera looked skyward when turned to front and my belly, not my face when turned towards me. He could have bolted a flat iron piece and made sure it is level before handing it over to me. So took the trike again to the same place, paid more money & made it more satisfactory.

There was some confusion about net access. GPRS charges ( 2 GB for 99 Rupees) are much cheaper. The USB modem that has a GSM slot is in market & with that both browsing & uploading becomes much cheaper. Finally realized that it is not within my reach at the moment (Minimum one or two weeks needed) & took a data card from infamous private operator that is supposed to be Number One. It is expensive but I am hoping it will be more reliable.

The Hydration management is a tricky job & got a 2 liter hydration sac from Wildcraft outlet in Mangalore. Suffering from urinary inconsistency, I tend to take less water and that could be very dangerous in hot climate in long rides like this. Now this water sac will be in the bag & I can keep sipping all the time.

Few days back Anil was following me on our Omni in village road. A scooter coming very fast & overtaking us did not see me till last moment and passed very close to me. So it is clear that a slow moving vehicle behind will hide me from the view of the drivers coming from behind. So I have to very careful about my visibility. Here is a interesting article on visibility.

There is still confusion about crossing Kerala. Shankaranna & Ravi have advised to avoid many parts because the road is in poor condition due to heavy traffic & heavy rain. My B plan has always been taking Tamilnadu route to travel towards north & I would be happy if you share your thinking on this aspect. With lower visibility on road, riding trike will be dangerous in heavy traffic. Tamilnadu means taking NH 7 upto Karur but bypassing Madurai and after that towards Sathyamangalam via Erode.

I had opted for Kerala on first leg thinking it is safer. With higher literacy and vibrant media, I had hoped it will be better. Now I am seriously reconsidering the pro & cons of taking Kerala route regarding Heavy traffic, Communal problems & frequent haratal, I am feeling Tamilnadu could be better. 24th hartal in 6 months in Kerala was observed in July. I could be easy target in such disturbed circumstances.

On the Shiradi trip, I had told Dinakar that I need thirty minutes rainfree to set my riding rhythm. Unfortunately there was heavy rain within fifteen minutes & it unsettled my riding. Same way, the trip from Thiruvananthapuram will decide whether I finally take Kerala or Tamilnadu to ride.

Now things are all in place for me to take a train to Thiruvananthapuram on 17th. Reaching there next morning, I will be pedaling to Kanyakumari. I will be starting from Kanyakumari on Friday, 20th morning. Comments and suggestions are welcome, especially on Kerala / Tamilnadu choice.


Shree Kumar said...

Hi Govind,

I feel you need to weigh very carefully the differences between the Kerala & TN roads.

Kerala will have more traffic, just as you say. Kerala most traffic passes through the major highway. Kerala drivers are also considered rash. Kerala's non-veg food in many places may not go down with you very well, either.

TN will definitely have less traffic, and the traffic load does tend to be distributed. However, some of the major roads and highways in TN are comparatively narrow.

The visibility issue does not depend that much on the road width as it does on other factors like you noted - overtaking. You could consider changing your "flag" to be a big red piece of cloth - or keep that additional. Folks like lorry drivers use this; it is definitely more recognizable than the small flag you currently carry.

Food is another plus for Tamil Nadu. However, I'd prefer Kerala over TN for lodging. Kerala is also more friendly towards tourists, and you may have less communication problems.

Choose wisely !
-- Shree

Bala Bellary said...

Hello Govind,
First of all thanks for your hospitality, when we visited you. The food was great. It was a pleasure meeting you and your family. I wish you lots of luck for your trip. 

I personally found the Keralites much more friendly and accommodating to tourists. Maybe, you can find some interior quieter route and avoid the highways in Kerala. Ultimately, it should be your comfort level with the language and your gut feeling that should help you decide.  

Maybe, you can consider adding a bright orange / red flag for better visibility plus even a small reflective red triangle on the back (like what you see on the front of the lorries).

Good luck,

Mohith said...

Hi Govind,
All the best for your expedition.

Bala Bellary said...

Hi Govind, the rest of the ride is is 20% work as they say that getting to the start line is 80% of the work... Take it easy during the first few weeks as you plan to go a long way...

ವನಿತಾ / Vanitha said...

Wishing you all the good wishes..
- Vanitha.

Ravi Hanj said...

My Dear Blog Friend Govind, This is truly amazing that you are back in action! I wish you all the best and hope this will be your most memorable one!

Ravi Hanj

ಚೆ೦ಬಾರ್ಪು said...

Great to know about your trip. All the very Best!