Riding bikes and bus rooftops – Training trip contd
After a rest day in Bataar we were up early and ready to start our 45km climb, and 70 km all day ride back to Katmandu. Knowing that the restaurant opened at 6am, we asked for breakfast at 6.30 so we could get out on the road before the sun came out. The young guys running the crazy hotel, smiled and said, yes you can have breakfast at 7am. We did our best to explain that we would like to leave by 6.30. Again, a smile and a shake of the head ‘yes, you can have breakfast at 7am.’
We sat ourselves down in the restaurant at 6.15am to try and convice them of our intent. Some weary looking boys , begrudgingly got some food for us and we were out the door by 7am. Leaving early had it’s benefits, it wasn’t too hot and the traffic wasn’t so bad. It also looked like all the kids were at school today so there were no adventurous hitchikers to contend with.
One hour, two, three, four hours went by, and we were still climbing. Our aim was to have lunch at the top of the hill. But as the temprature got higher our speed seemed to slow down. We found a creek to sit by and eat snacks. We watched in awe as buses, trucks and motorbikes navigated the tight bend that the creek flowed over. In some cases I think the drivers were so surprised to see three red faced cyclist sitting on the side of the road that they misjuged the corner. All the while the passangers hanging off the side and roof were waving and smiling at us. Gavin waved back saying ‘I think we’re still a whole lot safer than you guys sitting on that roof, never will you find me there.’ Little did he realise what was ahead.
Three more hours of climbing and still no sign of lunch or the top of the hill.
We got to a town, we could only assume was coca cola town, because every flat bit of structure on every house had coca cola advertisng on it. Our sugar and hydration levels were low, so naturally we asked for a coca cola, but they were out. As we rode out of town it began to rain. After hours and hours of climbing, we were exhausted and the idea of navigating the roads in the wet with the competing traffic was very unappealing. So, we decided to head back to coca cola town and stay in this strange and unfriendly place. We asked for rooms at the hotel, but nobody wanted to talk to us. They just shook their heads, no hotel. So, despite the coca cola and huge hotel signs, there were no coca cola or hotels.
Eventually we found one man who was happy to talk to us, and when the next bus came into town he convinced the driver to take us. The only catch was that we and our bikes would have to sit (akwardly) on the roof. So, the rest of our journey to Kathamndu was on the top of the bus crammed in with twenty young guys who found us to be hilarious. In particular Eri who still hadn’t taken off her helmet. At first it seemed silly but we soon reliased her genius because she was safe from the low hanging branches unlike the rest of us. Although the view from the roof top was stunnning, we all found the journey quite frightening. At one point we had to wait for a truck to re-lay some dirt on the road after a landslide so that we coud drive over. By the end of the day, the hour bus trip was more exhausting and down right terrifying than any of the riding we had done. We were relived to get back in to Kathmandu safe and sound.
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