Beautiful early morning ride out of the mountains to Udiapur

It had to happen sometime.

After thousands of miles ridden over all kinds of conditions for the last several years I was overdue.  And sure enough – had a crash yesterday.
But I’m OK. Really. Sore shoulder that took the brunt of the fall, a little road rash on the arm and a bruise on the knee. I came off easy. Lucky actually – considering my helmet cracked in two places. Not even a headache. My helmet did its job – and I’m very grateful for it. 
I somehow ended up off the side of a shoulder about a foot deep due to road construction that had dug out the shoulder to widen the road. Not exactly sure how I ended up over there; I was either too busy gawking at the beautiful scenery or the construction had undermined the asphalt (possible, but gawking is more likely as it was a beautiful ride). 

I’ve not had great luck on this trip so far but am trying not to take it as a sign. I did question whether I should have given the schiester in Pushkar the $2000 he requested as a donation during the “throw flowers in the lake and pray to Brahma scam”.  I blew him off, but did give 100 rupees to the Brahma temple charity box so really think I should be covered there.   But I’ll just keep moving forward.
Of course there were witnesses – about 10 local folks were up the road and came running. I picked myself up out of the road and they arrived and together we did a body part inventory. Knee-scraped but OK. Bloody elbow. We examined the crack helmet- lots of head shaking and tut-tutting as I passed the helmet around and we all examined the damage.  Put the chain back on the bike- did a quick bike inspection. It pedaled, steered, shifted and braked. Said thank you and rode off.  But they would have helped me if I had needed it, which was nice to know.
Caught up with Rodney – we’d been mostly riding together but hopscotching back and forth and we rode in together.  Met up with Shanny our tour leader who was getting us specific directions to ride into Udaipur and he gave me his helmet to use for the ride into town.
Once a helmet is cracked – or even just subjected to any blunt impact –you should replace it. The structure is compromised and it’s not safe to ride any longer.  A helmet should do exactly what it did for me; absorb the impact in the structure of the helmet rather than your head.

Summer Palace/exclusive hotel
 with public laundry gnat

 So my task for my day off today was to find a new bike helmet if possible.  No easy task here since nobody here uses a bike helmet. I had headed off on a tuk-tuk with a couple of friends with a driver who kept driving us in detours by his son’s miniature portraits to see if we want to look – just in case we’d changed our mind yet.

Started looking by going to place rented bikes to tourists figuring they might have one I could buy. Nope. They did direct us to a little shop in a bazaar that did actually sell Cannondale (not that I saw any) and did bike repairs. It was piled floor to ceiling with stuff so there was only a little trail up the middle, but no helmet.  “Sold Out”.  I figured I was SOL, but Shanny came up with a place that sells Firefox cycles –which is a made in India brand.  Luckily they had helmets- so I was saved from having to borrow one from whoever was too sick to ride that day and was stuck in the van.  Not desirable for a number of reasons –including being exposed to whatever crud they were infected with.
So … beyond the crash drama it was an interesting time here in Udaipur. Beautiful city. And apparently it’s wedding time. Last night a procession passed us with a glittery marching band leading the groom beautifully dressed on a white horse followed by his bride being driven in a car and a throng of beautifully dressed women bring up the rear.
Right now there is a wedding taking place at our hotel and the party is just getting started with music blaring from an elaborately set stage.  Women are roaming around in beautiful glittery saris and the men are more simply dressed short sleeved shirts and matching multicolored caps.  Earlier today we toured the City Palace with its many beautiful paintings and walls with semiprecious stones and mirrors.  The old city is set around a manmade lake with palaces built on islands in the middle. The say this is the most romantic city in Rajasthan – believable.
Send good luck thoughts for the rest of the trip. I think I’ve had my share drama, and it’s time for things to settle down.
Leigh Pate
Leigh Pate is a writer, former political consultant and two time cancer patient and cancer research advocate living in Seattle, WA

2 thoughts on “Udaipur

  1. What a trip, Leigh! Glad to hear you are OK. No fun at all going down. Don't let it get you down. Lots to be thankful for in the midst of the crash I am sure, even in thinking back at the fall Rick took on our '09 trip and was out of commission for 5 weeks. Your description of Bramascam" makes me very grateful that the God of the Bible just loves me as I am apart from any offerings I can bring — He is only looking for the response of my heart to His great love.

  2. Oh no, Leigh! OK, at this point, I think you have to consider yourself "pre-disastered" (like the house in 'The World According To Garp').

    Safe travels to you from here on out…

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