Kanpur Bike-a-thon September 19, 2010

This year, seven of us bumpy trailers joined the Kanpur Bike-a-thon. The event was promoted by the hinglish tabloid i-next, in co-operation with Star News. They had done a great job on the publicity and by the time we landed, we found there were nearly 3000 riders, completely blocking the road from the parade crossing to the green park stadium entry - about 200m deep about 20m across.

This was the third year they were organizing the tour, but it was the first time most of us had heard of it. This year, they got wind of us bumpy trailers, and sent us forms, and also ran a piece on us in the paper... Ripu, Prabhat, Navjot, Lovy, Anindyo, Joydeep and I had signed up.

ripu, amit, joydeep, navjot, anindyo and prabhat near Green Park. (lovy is missing)

The plan was to start at 0530, but it was nearly 6 by the time we hit the road. Lovy Singh is quite a speedster on his BSA Mach, and he zipped off with Navjot, Prabhat and I keeping up. We covered the 13km distance at an average speed of 23.3 kmph, and the other three joined us soon thereafter.

Mr. Pankaj ?? from i-next was in touch with Joydeep, and he met us and was good enough to get our t-shirts and caps for us. The start time was 7 AM, and it started more or less on time. There were two levels - 10km (to Company Bagh chauraha and back), and 14km (to Rawatpur crossing).

The 14km bike-a-thon crowd at Rawatpur crossing. A little speedster.

There was no evidence of the police, who were presumably supposed to divert traffic. However, since the bicycles had completely blocked the road there were few vehicles that could really get in. It also helped being Sunday morning.

It was good to be bicycling with such an ocean of humanity, all of us in white shirts with red sleeves. Most of them looked like teenaged kids, or somewhat older youth. There were a sprinkling of smaller kids.

Soon we were at the Company Bagh chauraha. The 10km participants were supposed to get a chit from the organizers here, to prove they had done the run. Once this chit would be shown back at the start, they would be given some refreshments. Of course there was a huge rush...

My meter indicated that the distance to this point was 3.6km (and not 5km as it should have been). We continued on to the road along the HBTI boundary, and reached Rawatpur, where there was a similar rush that had blocked all vehicular entry. At this point, my meter showed 7km - so both routes, it seemed, were 3km too short. Or maybe they had planned a circuit of the stadium - but that would have been impossible with such a huge crowd.

We came back via Parmat mandir ghat, where we found the ganga in full spate. amit, navjot, prabhat, ripu, anindyo, lovy, joydeep.

Not bothering with chits, we turned around and headed back. The newspaper guys took some photos of us - don't know if it came in the papers or not. Then we stopped by for some excellent jalebi and kachori at Bansiwala?? in Raina market before heading back via the zoo and Gurdev Palace.
anindya rai and amit mukerjee Sep 21 2010