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South India Mini Tour
By Cathy Colless and John Isles - (contact)

Pre-Trip Stuff: Building bikes, planning a route and gear

Friday November 9, 2007

Welcome to our trip blog thanks for dropping by !

We are John and Cathy and we are off to South India for four months of cycling.
We met 16 years ago on a bike ride and have been riding happily together ever since.

We are quite seasoned cycle tourists and generally think we know the drill, however we have not done much cycling in Asia or the tropics so we do have some apprehensions about this South India trip.

We are both taking 2007 model Dahon Cadenza's with some siginificant mod's.
We chose the Cadenza as we like having a folding bikes that can be taken into hotel rooms, but they don't look like folding bikes once unfolded.

Modification List
------------------
- replace derailleur system with Rohloff gear hubs
- tungstun carbide rear rim and Swiss DT spokes.
- Schwalbe XR's tyres fitted.
- add Thudbuster seatpost.
- Halfords centre Stand mounted at bottom bracket
- relace flat handlebars with Thorn comfort riser handbar
- add rear vision mirror
- add barends
- add SKS aluminium/plastic sandwhich Mudguards
- rear rack
- add Topeak modula XL large bottle cage
- swap out the saddle

When the Cadenza's first arrived from Germany they were fast and stiff!
Now we've made all the above changes they are still stiff but not so fast.

Many of the parts such as the Rohloff hubs came from our Birdy touring bikes.
We really wanted to take them but thought they would attract too much attention in India.

We've decided to take "Proguanil Plus Chloroquine" for Malaria prevention medication.
The local Boots pharmacist consulted the official book for us and informed us that for South India the medication was not required just care in avoiding bites.
However, we decided to err on the cautious side.
We bought the tablets online at travelpharm and saved about 30% off the Boots price. We've tried them to see if they make us feel poorly.
The one you take once a week Chloroquine did make me feel a bit off, but if I take it before bed I'm fine by the morning. The daily Proguanil tablet seems to have no effect on me.

In addition to all the standard jabs we asked for Rabies and Japanenese Encephilitis. The shots were totally painless and over in 2 minutes. The pain came afterwards in reception when we were handed the bill for £700 (which is a bit of a blow to the trip budget).

Our passports came back in the mail with visa's on the second attempt. After 3 weeks of anxiety with our passports off in the post each time. The first attempt was rejected because we provided insufficient evidence of our residency in the UK.

After lengthy deliberations we have decided to take a tent (actually a mosquito dome + a tent fly).
Mostly the advice has been not to bother with a tent.
But, we've decided to ignore the advice and take one anyway, because camping is always our preferred option (especially when the alternative a room with dubious hygiene) and we want to camp whenever it's possible.
We've followed Peter Gostelow's great blog, he suggests that camping is not always impossible.
We've just treated the flyscreen on the tent with Pyrethreen which was a nasty business - smells like paint.

We are flying Air India because it is a direct flight and we got a good price.
We have bought the CTC plastic bags to pack the bikes for the flight.
On previous trips we've always boxed our bikes. Hope the bag idea is not a big mistake!!

The plan is still pretty loose, we'll be flying into Mumbai on 2 Jan 2008 and flying back to York in the UK fours months later.
Rough plan is to ride south down the western Ghatts then up the eastern side then back across back to Mumbai (triangle shape).
We'll try to avoid big cities and busy roads.

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Racing bike being converted into a touring bike
(the big one not the little one's coming)

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Out for an inaugrual test ride on the Stamford Bridge railtrail. Do you think the Bikebox is too loud? Should we change it for something more discrete?

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Lockjaw folding hinge in frame

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Route - Top of the map

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Route - Bottom of map

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Test ride


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"South India Mini Tour" Copyright © 2007-2014 By Cathy Colless and John Isles - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on November 9, 2007 13:30 PDT, last updated on December 31, 2007 05:31 PDT
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