“I am sure there are some people who actually enjoy the pain of long distance riding, however I wasn’t taking any chances when my husband booked an alternative Christmas cycling off-road across northern India.  I got fully geared- up with a wide‘comfort’ sized ladies seat, super comfy Sasha Cycling shorts and at the last minute I threw a gel seat cover into my suitcase! 

I can tell you, despite neither of us being hard-core cyclists, we loved the trip and there was no discomfort or complaints from my perch, however husband Mike made up for it in spades!

Starting out from the city of Udaipur, we averaged around 60 kms a day, riding on mostly uneven tarmac, sometimes dirt tracks and hard-packed desert. All done on India’s best mountain bike offering: hardtail Firefox-branded mountain bikes supplied and guided by 

Our favourite day was the second of the week-long trip, crossing the Avaralli mountain range to Ranakpur. The roads were half decent and climbs were rewarded by some long descents. We were so determined to maximise the free speed gained going down we even surprised a few motorbikers, Tuk Tuk drivers and the odd bus. They were astonished as two silent Lycra-clad cyclists carved through the traffic just to avoid touching the brakes!

 My only serious preparation in the UK was a lesson from a local mountain bike coach just before our departure but I found it really helped learning about shifting my weight back to stay in control.  The terrain was tough at times and I soon started judging the size of each pothole and deciding whether it was worth rising out of the saddle or staying seated and take the impact!

 Luckily during the latter part of the week the terrain evened out, and on day four leaving Korta we had a totally flat ride on brand new,  smooth tarmac. We couldn’t believe it and riding through the quiet desert roads became like a cycle safari. We cycled along two a breast chatting about life and laughing, whist pointing out camels, antelope and colourful birds including many of the region’s native Peacocks.

Two blonde-haired pale-skinned people on mountain bikes, we were a total curiosity to the locals.  Many passing motorcyclists, sometimes 3 or 4 up, slowed for a chat, asking where we were going, or wanting a selfie. Locals either stopped and stared open mouthed or just broke into laughter as we rode through their village.  If we stopped, a small good-natured gathering quickly formed around us with wide smiles and a genuine interest to find out what an earth we were up to?

 Evenings were spent staying at some charming, quaint old palaces, sometimes taking in the odd fort or temple on our evening stroll before supper (curried, of course).  I also had my daily ritual of rubbing soothing cream into my husband’s sore bits to keep me occupied. Power cuts were plentiful and became part of the charm. We mostly ate outside in open air as although temperatures dropped below 10 degrees there was usually a fire-pit to keep us warm. Needless to say with no TV and very little wifi we were usually tucked up in bed by 9pm.

But we made the 300km from Udaipur to Jodhpur across a variety of terrain enjoying the incredible scenery, wildlife and cuisine. Certainly, it was a memorable Christmas with a difference.”






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