Delhi to Moradabad, India

Distance: 115 miles
Time on bikes: 4 hours

Well, the good news is that Carl is firing on most cylinders this morning and feels well enough to get back on the bike. He’s still not got much of an appetite though, so after a light breakfast we start to get packed so we can eventually leave Delhi.

It’s the first time we’ll be riding the bikes since arriving in Delhi over seven days ago, so first of all we give the bikes a clean down of all the pigeon turds that seem to have accumulated on them. Then we get packed and get into our kit ready to go. It’s actually after midday by the time we pull away and all the hotel staff come out to watch us ride off back down the alleyway.

Back on the streets of Delhi, the traffic is much like what we’d experienced on our way into town. It’s a frantic ride out of town as cars, bikes, cycles, tuk-tuks and anything else on the road vies for space. Lane markings (where they exist), turn signals, stop lines and give way junctions (again, if they actually exist) mean nothing. It takes a bit for us to adjust again and accept that people pull out without looking, mirrors are fitted apparently for cosmetic reasons and having regard for the welfare of other road users simply doesn’t appear on the agenda.

For a change though, we manage to make it out largely unscathed. Béné gets a bit of a tap from behind by another bike, obviously quite astonished that she didn’t proceed through a red light. But it’s good to be on our way again and leaving Delhi behind. We’re now looking forward to getting to Nepal where we plan to spend about two weeks before hopefully getting the bikes and us flown to Bangkok, Thailand.

Leaving Delhi and riding through India, it’s not so much the sights that stick in the memory, but the smell. The air at times is putrid with the stench of rotting rubbish or even worse, human excrement. It’s something that accompanies us at some point riding through most towns and villages and is really horrible. For once, maybe a bike isn’t the best way of taking in the atmosphere.

We see a few new developments of high value apartments being built, sometimes within a hundred metres of land dumps or where humans must deposit their ‘dumps’ and the air is unbreathable. There are probably many areas of the Country which are completely different to what we have experienced, but we never planned to spend too much time in India and feel we’re now ready to get on our way.

After filling the bikes with petrol and using just about the last of our Indian Rupees, at 4 pm we’ve not quite made the progress we were hoping for. We’re still at least 100 miles from the Nepal border and we’re just crawling through towns as they all seem to be having new high level roads built. We ride for another hour, continually looking for a cashpoint that works and also for a reasonable looking hotel to stay in. We’re approaching areas which have Malaria, so don’t really want to be out approaching sunset.

Just after 5 pm, and after finding another ATM that doesn’t work, we get told of a nice hotel a few miles further along the road. They’ll probably take Visa, so we should be ok without cash. The hotel turns out to be a 5 star Best Western and looks pretty palatial and we decide to just have a look to see what the cost will be. After being directed by the guards, who appear to be armed with elephant guns, to ride up the ramp to the entrance of the hotel, Carl pops in to see what the cost is. The cheapest room is about £110 for the night, way more than we’ve ever paid for a hotel. But this place is nice, and £110 for a hotel room in India seems to go a long way compared to England. When the lady behind reception confirms they have a pool, it doesn’t take long before we’re unloading the bikes and checking in. We spend most of our time trying to be very careful with cash and budget, but sometimes we just say sod it.

The hotel maybe has two or three other guests staying over, so we take advantage of the huge outdoor pool straight away, enjoying the last of the daylight and before the mosquitoes may arrive. This turns out to be lovely. We probably have Carl to thank for this as he only decided to pack his swimming trunks away this morning as it had been such a long time since they’d been required and we couldn’t think when they’d next be of use before Thailand.

It was nice to be able to enjoy the evening in the hotel and are looking forward to a pre-breakfast swim in the morning.