Thursday, 12 November 2009

The end of Turkey and The beginning of India.

We have been kindly sponsored and supported by:

Mayo Wynne Baxter
01273 477071
Mayo Wynne Baxter is one of the leading law firms
in the South East with offices throughout Sussex.


Gossypium is a leading brand in Fairtrade-certified organic cotton fashion:
  • All our products are Fairtrade & organic - we're the real thing
  • We only use good quality cotton; organic, pure & strong
  • We are responsible for how our products are made
  • The eco-system & environment are never far from our thoughts
  • We're independent: working together as a family - in business


(click image to expand)


Located in the south lanes close to the seafront Terre à Terre is one of Brighton's leading
restaurants and continuously retaining the prestigious AA Two Rosettes and Michelin: ” Bib Gourmand” awards.


We are obviously trying to raise as much money as possible for the Red Cross, and the default sponsorship donation goes 50/50 for the Red Cross and towards the costs of the trip (Visas, Food, Internet Cafes, Maps etc). We are budgeting as much as possible but it is still difficult to keep the costs down because we cannot control the majority of our spending which is not on food or any other variable but on things like VISAS (It costs £95 for Iranian VISA alone) and maps and unexpected repairs such as my front pannier rack which has given way. Any excess sponsorship cost covering money will go to the Red Cross once we have finished the trip if there is any too.
If you would still like to sponsor us you can by:

Emailing me the amount you have sponsored us, your name, and the amount you want to go to the Red Cross and amount you want to put towards covering the costs of the trip, if any.
The bank account I have set up for the sponsorship money is:

Mr Mohan Everett
account no: 72433983
sort code: 07 00 30

You can pay money into that bank account via phone banking, online banking, cash (in bank) or by cheque.
I'm set up with online banking and will be basing my budgets and checking balance/transferring money with it throughout the whole trip, whenever I'm near a computer.

You can also pay via Paypal to:


Blog update:

We are now in India!
There's a lot to mention since we last updated... I dont know where to start.
Firstly from Turkey. We had to pinball around a bit in order to get our Indian VISAs. We had to buy a letter of recommendation from the brit consulate for 70 quid. And then wait around for our visas to process, meanwhile we were fishing around for flights on phone, finding out different airlines policy on bicycles and excess baggage etc as this, alongside the actual flying price is the main thing really, as most airlines were charging about 30 euro per extra kg of luggage over 20kg which is a big prob for us.
Anyway, we got a good deal with emirates in the end, with 37kg of free allowance, so just stripped our stuff down which maybe was a good thing anyway. And booked our flights as soon as our VISA processed (7 days). We got the flight cheap and last minute which was a result, and flew to Delhi!
As we were waiting around for our VISAs I spoke to a friend in England. Miguel who had been checking our blog etc and wanted to join in from Delhi til somewhere in Thailand, going back alone when he felt like it.
Me and Finn thought it would be sweet, but we were flying to Delhi in about a week from when we were speaking, and asked him how it would work, seeing as he didnt even have a bicycle etc!
I half didnt think he was being serious but this changed as he desperately started asking me stuff about kit, jabs, malaria tabs, insurance etcccc.
So two days after we arrived in Delhi, he joins in, with a good bike and full kit! He must of had had a manic week...
As me and Finn were waiting, in Istanbul, we were speaking to Thomas (management of Gossypium), and filled him in on what we were up to.
Then, out the blue, told us he would treat us to our first night in Delhi, at Ashok country resort, a luxurious hotel in Delhi as a welcome present to India from Gossypium!
Me and Finn were very chuffed and grateful as you would be!
We jumped on our plane, had a 17 hour wait at dubai for our connection which was grim, but we didnt really care as we knew we had this to look forward to.
We had a couple of hours sleep on the airport marbel floor (in our shorts brrrr)
And the time of our flight eventually did come.
We enjoyed the comfort of the plane and got picked up in Delhi at 8pm by the hotel driver, our bicycles coming out the other end (practically) markless, which was a relief.
We then got to the hotel and were told that not only had Gossypium paid for our room, but also a dinner and breakfast!
We were the happiest of happy. And enjoyed a lovely, hefty meal which sent us straight to bed...
Next day we swam, ate an amazing breakfast, and set our minds on getting our first day done....
This stalled completely when we went to set our bikes up - we had to repump our tyres as they had been deflated (as a requirement of bringing them on the plane) and found that BOTH our pumps broke at the same time, completely unprovoked, just didnt work anymore when we tried them (valve attatchment was messed up on mine, and the connecting tube on Finns had split).
The hotel didnt have a pump so we ended up taking our wheels off, getting a lift with the friendly hotel staff to a tyre pumping station about 1km away.
By the time we were on the road it was late afternoon, and this was our first introduction to Indian traffic.
As the hotel was a bit out of the main town area of Delhi, we had about a 35 km cycle to the main bit again, and we made plans to adjust a bit, while waiting in a cheap hotel near to the airport, waiting for Miguel.
When Miguel arrived, we stayed another night there to allow him to recover from the time difference and flight, and then set off, towards Agra.
We started off slow to allow Miguels legs to adjust, and for all of us to adjust to the different culture and way of cycling. And how to deal with the MASSES of people who bombard you, trying to speak to you, taking pictures of you etc. This makes us feel like celebrities/freakshows. Most the people out of the main towns seem to have never seen a brit or something.
They're all very curious and want to speak to you etc, which is nice, but it has quickly lost its novelty as we ended up covering hardly any distance, and ended up speaking more than cycling.
One of our favourite things about this amazing place is our 'pit stops' - chai men every few hundred metres haha. We LOVE indian chai, and it is the perfect energy booster, and tastes amazing. And costs around 4p a cup which is a bonus.
The road conditions are nothing but mad.
Sometimes it has been like cycling on a a road full of rubble, sometimes it has been like a european road (rarely). So this is another 'obstacle' of cycling here. But even though the place is absolutely MAD in some ways, once you adjust to it, its calmer than european traffic. Everyone spends about as much time not beeping as they do beeping, which at first gets on your nerves, but we soon learnt the difference in meaning between English beeping ''you f**cking twat! get off the road!!!'' and here, where it's ''I'm here, and I'm overtaking you, so dont randomly jerk out to the right and bash into me please''.
After lots of mad times, meeting loooads of friendly people, sleeping in the courtyard of a hindu church (with permission) and sharing our cooked dinner on our now working stove, we are in Agra.
We went to see the Taj Mahal yesterday, which was amazing. And we bought a nice, loose, cotton indian-president (apparently) style suit each.
We look pretty funny to be honest, but it had to be done. And its soooo comfy. We wore them to the Taj, and got indians coming to us and asking to get pics of us haha.
Anyway, the story on the whole is... lovely country, lovely people, perfect weather, dodgy roads but just about cyclable on (so far), and operating day to day on far below our budget!
Miguel brought the latest edition of the India lonelyplanet guide which was a good move, and we have partially planned our route around this.
We're thinking of heading towards bombay from here, though we're not sure if we actually want to pass through it, because all it means is lots of traffic, beggars and pollution.
But thats our rough direction from here (south-west), and we will head south from the down the coast. Then we are thinking of heading east, towards channai, where we are going to give hitching a boat to the Andaman islands a shot, and then to Thailand from there, as we spoke to a cyclist in Istanbul whose friend had done this with ease. But we will see, at the moment we're soaking in the difference in culture and enjoying this amazing country.


Me trying to get some kip in Dubai airport

Cheeky monkeys

Miguel explaining his gears on his bicycle to the indians.

The people who we befriended while we stopped for chai at their stall

Cute elephant!

Miguel after his first day cycling, struggling to stay awake during dinner.

Some nice kid we met at a chai stall...

Camel! They're so big here!

Egg man!!

The decorators we made friends with at the hindu church where we camped one night.

Setting up camp in the grounds of the church.

They swapped belts haha.

Their brothers (the next morning)

Us outside the hindu church with their youngers.

One of many thousand chai man!

The Taj Mahal!


The tomb of the emperors wife (If you know about the Taj you will know what I'm on about)

Finn, me, Miguel and some random people who wanted a pic with us, in the grounds of the Taj Mahal. In our legendary Indian cotton suits!

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