Bike-Ride To Australia 8th-December 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 8th-December 2011 Mumbai, India. Yay, I’m in India! The flight passed quickly, the man, an Indian, was very friendly, we spent a lot of time talking. Off the plane, I just followed the crowd. It was so busy. There was a long snaking queue that seemed never-ending! I think the entire population of Mumbai must have just landed!

After three-quarters of an hour, I caught sight of passport control. There were thirty desks. I know that for a fact, I had plenty of time to count while waiting in line! I was the only westerner and just hoped that I was in the right queue! By now, I was starting to get a bit anxious about my luggage, particularly my bike! I’d been queuing for well over an hour!

Time To Retrieve My Bike

I eventually got through and went to baggage reclaim, where there wasn’t a single case! The conveyor belt wasn’t even moving! I was just about to start panicking when the conveyor belt started, and the first pieces of luggage came out. My bag containing my panniers and tent soon appeared, soaking wet, as was everybody else’s! But there was no sign of my bike! I overheard some lady telling somebody that she saw all the cases sitting on the tarmac in Istanbul in the rain! I remembered looking out the window of the aeroplane in Istanbul, thinking how heavy the rain looked! Surely they hadn’t left a cardboard box (my bike) out in the rain, would they?

I could now feel my blood pressure rising! Why wasn’t my bike here? Maybe it had got wet, and everything had spilt out over the runway! And I’d be missing a wheel, or the pedals would be gone! I asked one of the airport workers if that was everything? There must be more. I’m missing a bike! The conveyor belt then stopped! I think I was just about to have a heart attack when from behind a plastic screen next to the conveyor a box appeared, it was my bike! The box was saturated, but luckily just about holding together! And it looked as if nothing could have fallen out! The three reels of gaffer tape that I used to wrap the box had paid off! The tape was the only thing holding the box together!

Oh My God

What a journey, from the airport to the hotel, bouncing around in the back of the cab! Red lights got ignored! Speed bumps didn’t exist! I’m pretty sure the taxi even speeded up as we approached them! The taxi, a Padmini, an Indian version of a Fiat 1100, was too small to fit my bike in. That was placed on the roof and tied down with a thin piece of cord! I spent more time looking out the back window, making sure my bike hadn’t bounced off the roof! After forty bone-breaking minutes, we arrived at the hotel. I was relieved to make it in one piece and with my bike!

What A Relief

The porters carried the rain-soaked box up to my room at the hotel. By the time they reached the room, the box had more or less disintegrated! But it had done its job by now and didn’t matter! Breakfast was just being served, um curry! Just like being at home on a Sunday morning, when I usually have the previous nights leftover curry for breakfast!

After breakfast, I had a quick nap before putting my bike together. Which, much to my surprise, was relatively easy! Let’s just hope I’ve done it right and it doesn’t fall apart a few miles down the road! Once I’d assembled the bike, I went out to play the tourist. Hopefully, if I remember, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow! It’s been an exhausting day!

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