Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 1 : 5 Jan 2014 : Bhuj to Bachchau: 80 kms

Started cycling at 6.30 am after loading our truck with our luggage and having a cup of tea that the Jain Bhavan had kindly organised for us that early. During this season, it remains dark till at least 7am, after which the sky starts to get bright. So the first half hour or more we were cycling in complete darkness (streetlights were there till we exited Bhuj). Parag from Rotary, who was responsible for our wonderful stay in Bhuj, came out to say bye to us and brought us copies of newspapers that had our reviews.

Moving on to the ride itself. Lets start with the first and most important point – our CYCLES!!!!

1. Our Cycles: The bikes we have are the SCOTT ATACAMA Sport X70. When we rode yesterday, though we liked the cycles, we could not make out too much as the ride was very small. But today we could really feel our bikes and we liked what we felt. Smooth and quiet ride. At one point I distinctly recall that there were no vehicles on the highway and I could actually not hear anything, not even my bike. All the girls are really enjoying them, except for the shorter girls, because we have only a few small sized bikes and some of them are not able to reach the pedals properly on the medium sized bikes.

2. The Route: The road was great for the most part with just small patches of bad roads in between. They are widening the roads, but the road that is motorable is great. So it was smooth riding.

3. The Scenery: in one word – Beautiful. We were surrounded by thorny Babool bushes interspersed with off-white salt patches. Running through all these were electric wires and poles, the obligatory signs of civilization. In the early morning, when the mist rose and covered most of the bushes, it was indeed a beautiful sight. The weather was chill in the morning and our fingers were frozen. But when the sun came out, it got too hot.

4. The Ride: Being the first day and the girls still getting used to the cycles (and some of them to cycling itself), we took it real slow. We started at 6.15 am and reached Bachchau at around 2 pm. This included at 45 mins break to fill diesel in our truck, breakfast break and a few other breaks along the way. Average cycling speed of about 10 kmph. It will get better as we get more used to this (and we don’t have to stop for diesel anymore).

We’re staying at the guest house of EURO Ceramics here. The team welcomed us with kumkum and diyas. Had lovely lunch and we have almost 5 star accommodation in their guest house. They’re taking us around town and to their school at 4pm. Resting till then.


Visited a lot of places. EURO is doing a lot of good work in this area and they took us to visit a few of their efforts. First we visited the EURO school. A CBSE school from 1st-10th std which teaches 700 students at this point in time. It has almost all the facilities that an international school in a place like Bangalore offers its students. We then saw the day hospital started by the Laddabappa Foundation (the father of the owner of EURO). This is located at the Lungi shop that they used to own. In their old house, they have started a Hunar Shala (craft school) where they teach the local women to be independent. They learn English, computers, beauty and handicrafts and also sells products. It was great to see the good work that EURO is doing for the local community.

We came to know that this entire area used to be part of the Rann and was barren. Apparently after the earthquake, this whole belt has started getting heavy rainfall and has become completely green. We ended our tour with a visit to the tile showroom. We now have to have dinner and they’ve organised a karaoke party for us, which we will probably attend for half an hour before hitting the sack and allowing our aching muscles some rest..


Girls getting breakfast from the our support vehicle.

Along with the EURO team.

On the steps of EURO School.

A beehive in EURO school. It has been there for 5 years and till date no bee has harmed a student. It is right outside the classrooms.

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