November 14, 2013
I was on a tour to a hill-station named manali, a nature’s extreme, enjoying my vacation. It was a cold morning. I woke up from deep sleep at 6 o’ clock in the morning, went to the hotel’s balcony, joined my both hands together and stretched it upward with inhaling deeply. It was dark but I could feel freshness of morning. It was foggy everywhere around me when I decided to go for a morning walk.
With waiting for dawn, I started walking along left of leh-manali highway in the dark. One of the main torrent of bias river was roaring besides me. Nearly after walking down a kilometer, I saw a bicycle rider coming along the way. From far, it was seen that it wasn’t ordinay bicycle I usually use at my home. It was a mountain adventure bicycle with power brakes and gear system. Since childhood, cycling is one of my hobbies.
“wow, what a bicycle..!” I thought.
I felt strong urge to ask that guy to give me a short ride. But I thought that it isn’t courteous enough to ask a stranger for a ride. So I approached him in a different way when he came nearer to me.
“Excuse me my friend.”, I said.
He pulled the breaks and rear wheel swiftly dragged over the road making black stripes.
“Yes, please”, he replied.
“From where have you hired this bicycle?” I asked looking over the bicycle eagerly.
“Sorry,but haven’t hired it, it’s mine” he answered gently.
“Do you have any idea about where the bicycle like this could be available here on rent?”
“I would like to welcome my first customer of the day.” he said.
“Oh.. that means you have….”
“Exactly, I have my own bicycle shop located at a distance of 2 km from here. You can hire it from there. Shop will open at 9 o’ clock” he said.
I was glad to hear it.
“Okay, see you at the shop. Bye”
And we both continued to our destinations. I returned to the hotel quickly. I decided to cancel all of my other plans and go for a long drive on bicycle. On reaching to my room I asked my friends.
“Hey friends, would anyone like to accompany me on a long bicycle ride?”
No one replied me. Each of them denied my offer, as all have had their own plans and no one were ready to change it. As per my perception, the reason to reject for ride might be, no one would dare to do so. Within a moment I deduced that I will have to go alone.
I packed my bag with water bottle, glucose biscuits, glucose powder, fruits, camera, cell phone…. and some other things which might be required. I took my breakfast and got ready quickly. At 9 o’ clock sharp, I reached the bicycle shop. It was just opened.
“Welcome, sir”. Just the man that met me early morning, greeted me.
As I didn’t wanted to waste time of that precious day, I said to him hurriedly.
“I would like to hire that green one”
He gave me some papers to sign, and explained their conditions of policy.
I signed the papers and made a payment. Then quickly, I rode the bicycle.
At the beginning of the journey, it was a bit difficult to judge which direction should I go, because all around I found the beauty of nature.
“Okay, lets go kullu.” I thought.
By road, Kullu was 45 kilometers away from where I began my journey.I started for it. Slope was such that it didn’t required paddling. Instead, it required breaks to slow down the accelerated speed. I stopped after cycling about 2 km downward. Then I thought,
“It is easy to reach kullu in such a downward slope, but what will happen when it comes to return journey up the slope..! Oh… Not possible at all.”
I recalled shop owner’s instruction.
“Sir, please return our bicycle on or before 6 o’ clock in the evening”
I denied to go to kullu and returned back to the starting point.
During climbing that inclination of mountains, I realized within 2 km that cycling was not quite as easy as I had supposed. Then I continued to manali-leh highway,enjoying the scenery around. It was about 10:30 am when I stopped for a rest for first time. I had habit of cycling 10 kilometer a day easily but the way I was on was not that flat ground which I habituated of. I took some photographs of myself by setting self timer in camera. I then removed the cap of my water bottle, added the required amount of glucose into it and then shook it and finally drank few sips. I believed that glucose would recover my dissipated calories. I also had glucose biscuits with me, but I didn’t use it and saved it for further use. I resumed cycling. Then I was feeling a bit tired.Gradually I started to take rests over shorter distances. I continued traveling along the way and completed 7 kilometers, but that felt as if I had completed 15 kilometers on ordinary flat road.
It was noon, time for lunch. I was hungry but, there was no lunch available. I saw a vegetable shop at left of the road. I stopped there and purchased 4 bananas. I was too hungry, so I ate all of them. I was behaving like a monkey with those bananas. I had not eaten 4 bananas at a time anytime before. My hunger was satisfied partially with it. I poked myself to think that it was my lunch. Then I continued again. I saw a road ahead with extreme slope and having a zig-zag pattern. I was not going to give up easily. I kept my cycle to lowest gear and started to climb it. That slope was the true test of my physical strength. My heart began to beat more faster and I was breathing deeper. I stopped after every 50 meters. In between, I drank my previously made glucose water two times. Finally I won against that extreme slope and felt proud to myself.
It wasn’t the end of slope there but it has just slow down its greatness. I stopped for a while and ate a fruit named as “Japani fruit” which I had purchased from manali market. I refilled my water bottle with ice melted water. Then I thought within “It will be damn easy to return from wherever I could reach, because I’ll only have to roll over the road without paddling”.
That thought motivated me on not to give up and go further. I continued again on the way towards Palchan keeping in mind that Palchan would be my final destination. On the way I snapped few photos. To capture my own photo, I had only one option, to set self timer. I did it. I thought that what a great experience my friends having missed by not accompanying me. I was alone but I was delightful. As I reached Palchan, I saw a milestone with written over
“Solang 3 km”.
I was excited to see that. Solang is adventure hub of manali, the place where I did paragliding, just the day before. Paragliding was one of my memorable experience. All the memories of yesterday were recalled and flashed over my eyes. That milestone stimulated my potential and I made my mind to drove up to Solang. My will was demanding to go solang and my legs ignoring it.I was in dilemma. Finally I started for Solang when it was 4 o’ clock in the afternoon.
Now I could see tourists flying over the sky with parachute and enjoying paragliding. I stepped up the gear and accelerated the speed. It was hard to speed up but somehow, I managed to do so. I reached Solang when it was quarter to five. There I found a few couples who came for their honeymoon. They belonged to my native state (Gujarat). We helped each other to capture some photographs. They were astonished when they were told that I came from Manali on a bicycle. We shook hands and returned to our own ways.
Now I was on my way back to hotel. I was enjoying riding down the slopes. ” Few moments before, how hard they were to climb.” I thought. I was frequently applying brakes to slow down speed. But again and again it got accelerated.
When I pulled only the front brake, smoothly the rear wheel lifted up from the road and when I released front brake, it came to their original position. “wow… cool.” I said. I was excited by this unexpected stunt. “Let’s do it again” I thought. As I implemented it. By mistake I pulled front brake a bit harder and suddenly I was hit on the ground. My jeans was torn from left leg’s knee and my left hand’s palm started to bleed due to dragging over rough road. But thank god, that I was not injured much.
Then I stopped doing such stunts and returned to the bicycle shop without any halt. It took only 45 minutes to return down the hill on the same road which had taken 6 hours to climb up the hill. I returned the magnificent bicycle to its owner and rushed towards the hotel.
From that day onwards I changed my mindset: “Brain is not always braver than muscles”. That day my muscles supported me a lot. Thinking that, I laid over the bed and I do not remember when I got slept…..
Read more English Travel Experience by Deep Vaghani in category Travel with tag bicycle | Himalaya | kullu | Manali | paragliding | road | slope | trip
A visit to a hill station is highly adventurous and pleasurable. It affords us a complete change from the dull, prosaic and routine life in the plains. To escape the searing heat of the summer months in Delhi, Some of us decided to arrange a trip to a hill station. We wanted to go to a comparatively quiet place and not to a congested place like Shimla.
After much discussion we chose Manali as our destination. As the bus proceeded in the desired direction, we left behind the dust, pollution and noise of the metropolis. When the cool, fresh mountain air began to refresh us, we knew that we had entered a world of beauty and tranquility, when we finally reached Manali, the breath-taking grandeur of the mountains cast a spell on us.
There were trees on the slopes, the snow shone like silver in the sun and the constantly changing landscape with varying heights and depths presented a fascinating contrast. We made arrangements for our stay and then set out to discover more of that picturesque wonderland. We learnt that Manali is the distorted form of Manu-Alay, the home of Manu.
The Hidimba temple took us back in time and we tried to mentally recapture the age of the Pandavas. We trekked to a winter sports centre and attempted skiing. We also enjoyed a hot water sulphure bath. All of us took innumerable photographs so that we could recall our visit to Manali for our homes, we were all experiencing a sense of loss.