A view from the other side

Most of you know this, but here it is again: The Tour of Nilgiris 2009 is an 8 day, 900 km bicycle ride. The dates: Dec 15-23. The TFN, as it is known, aims to provide a different kind of cycling experience. A chance to feel the rush of fresh air whilst you ride among the greens. Free of worries, all arrangements taken care of. Just you and your bicycle. Interested ? The Tour is over-booked, hard luck. If you feel like clicking the "I'm feeling lucky" button, then here it is.

What could you look forward to in the Tour of Nilgiris ? Things aplenty. Coming first would be the joy of riding your bicycle through the greenery of the pine trees and tea gardens of the Nilgiris. The scent of the Nilgiris - ah! have you experienced it yet ? Riders will, no doubt, look forward to the chill of the winter air, the morning mist in the hills and mountains, the streams and waterfalls, and the coffee estates. The pains of climbing the hills would be erased by the joy of reaching the summits. The joys of a descent would be rendered all the more sweeter by the pains of the ascent. Some riders will fight their bodies, some their minds. Hopefully, none would fight broken bones. The distant mountains will come closer, surround you, and as they recede, they will leave memories. The experiences will matter, the outcomes won't. And in a weeks time, these will become memories to be cherished for a lifetime.

Some riders, I reckon, will use the empty moments to ponder about anything. Or perhaps, everything.

Participants would get to drool over some seriously cool bikes too. All the way from the snazzy, gleaming imported bikes to the extra eco-friendly bamboo bike ! Road bikes and MTBs. For the brand conscious: you name them & you'll find them. 70 participants, 70 distinct bikes. I'd bet they'd be struggling to find time to try each others bikes.

Fleeting glimpses of the local culture would be visible to all. A deeper look will be the exclusive territory of the inquisitive ones. The ones that stop, that is. For the water, tea and juice breaks, near the fields and somari kattes (meeting places) of the villages and towns. The local populace would be inquisitive too, definitely of the bikes, and surely of many more things. Much attention will be shown, much appreciation showered, some amid some doses of disbelief.

And bonds will be formed. Lasting bonds that will outlast the tour, among the riders that take part in the tour. The emerging list of participants represents a rainbow of professions: creative people, business people, bankers, doctors and engineers. By the time the other 40 (at the time of this writing) people are announced, the riders would represent an extremely interesting mix of professions. There will be riders with good variance in their experiences(bicycle riding or otherwise), interests, and age groups. Interesting discussions, sharing ideas and viewpoints, and gyan sessions : all these would happen. Much camaraderie would result. Half night-outs, camp fires, music sessions; I don't know what else is in store.

The experiences would belong to the riders, and the support team. Where do you and I fit in ? As for me, I have been on many tours. Short ones, long ones. Highways, side-ways. All covering many parts of India. I have focussed on the people whom I have interacted with, and of course on myself. Many of these you have possibly read, either on this blog or on the blogs of my other journeys (links to which are on the right side of this page). I'm hoping this tour would be a very different experience. I'm not planning to ride much; most of those roads I have ridden on already. Instead, I would like to observe things from a distance. The riders and their interactions, experiences, travels and their travails! I may get a chance to relive earlier journeys of mine. And perhaps relive chapters of my life that are now joyous, but fading memories. And all these, provided I get a chance to be an official blogger. And what would you get ? Well, reports from the tour. Real experiences of varying personalities. Stories, if you will. And another perspective, a view from the other side...

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