Today I just went for it and rode further and faster than I have ever done before. Surprisingly my body is still feeling good. A little tired, obviously, but I don’t think I will suffer too much tomorrow. I woke up just before the sun and spent about an hour doing some filming around the Gurudwara as the sky lightened. Having been served chapatti and curry the night before, I had expected to be able to fill up on the same thing this morning. As I sat down in the meal room, I placed two bowls before me as before, one for curry and one for water. I looked around and noticed every else only had one bowl. A guy came by and filled one of my bowls with tea. He then must have felt sorry for me because he came by again and dropped two slices of white bread into my second bowl. I gratefully accepted the bread and tea, then returned to my room to eat some more of my snacks. As I checked out of my room, I was surprised to discover that the 100r I paid yesterday was handed back to me. In hindsight I feel terrible that I never left it as a donation, but the thought didn’t occur to me in the moment. I wheeled my bike over to the shoe room, where I met up with Sabhi and others to say bye. I was hoping to just say bye quickly and start riding, but I ended up getting swarmed by a crowd who all wanted to talk and take photos. One nice thing that happened was that I was presented with another cloth in the same way as had happened last night. As I left the Gurudwara, I filmed a couple of shots that I think will form the conclusion of my India video. Then I was on the road and by myself again.

In my first kilometre, I stopped at some roadside carts to buy some bananas and fill up with water. Completely ready to go, I put my head down and went for it. As the road swung in different directions I would face different kinds of winds (crosswind, headwind, tailwind), but for the most part I received a kind of cross/tailwind, which helped me fly along. I only rested for about 15 minutes at a time and otherwise just went as hard and fast as I could. I could hardly believe the rate at which the kilometres went by. The ride was fairly bland, but I really liked the little town of Tarn Taran, which spreads along one main street between two impressive gates. Next thing I knew I was entering Amritsar. I made my way through the maze of market streets towards the Golden Temple to see how close I could get on the bike. Not close enough to actually see it. I skirted around the temple complex and then began to hunt for a place to stay. I bumped into two English guys (the first foreigners I have seen since the airport) and had a bit of a chat, making tentative plans to catch up again in the night. I started inquiring at several guesthouses but none would accept my bicycle, so I slowly started moving away from the Golden Temple area. In the end I decided to try the ‘Tourist’s Guesthouse’ listed in Lonely Planet and described as a backpacker stalwart.

I had expected to see backpackers swilling beer on the rooftop terrace as I arrived, but I soon discovered no other foreigner was currently staying there. Oh well. I checked into a pokey fan room for 300r(AU$5.95)/night and got myself settled. I finally gained access to WIFI (first time in four days) so I spent some time catching up on internet-related things. Then it was time to head out to meet up with the Charlies (they have the same name) at Kesar Da Dhaba, a famous restaurant in town. It was nice to have some English-speaking company for a change and it was great swapping travel stories. One of the Charlies had done the Mongol Rally, so I could pick his brain about Central Asia. I walked home after dinner and promptly succumbed to exhaustion. During the day (and not including rest breaks), I had spent seven hours and 46 minutes pedalling an 80kg bike at an average speed of 20kph.

Temples galore

Accommodation $ Backpacker hostel
Distance ridden today 157.63km
Average cycling speed 20.2kph
Total distance ridden 18,445km