Getting our cycling legs in shape in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal.
Getting our cycling legs in shape in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal Nearly a decade into the tour, and YES, we’re still on the road.

 

Our last update was from Bangladesh.  That was almost 12 months back.  Since then, we let the blog slide.  Of course we could trot out numerous excuses for the lapse in online communication.  Limited internet access.  A full-on cycling schedule.  Focus on other projects.  The truth is we just needed a break from blogging.

Now we’re back, and more enthusiastic than ever about sharing tales from our travels.  Before we delve into 2016 (we’re in the Middle East at the moment) we’ll catch you up on 2015.

After Bangladesh, we rolled back over the border into India.  West Bengal  to be exact. The first thing that struck me was the return of the female population to public life.

Bangladesh is a man’s world.  Women are home minding children and looking after their husbands.  The fairer sex occasionally ventures out for shopping or to accompany kids to and from school, but that’s about it.  Women are rarely shopkeepers or restaurant staff and you certainly don’t see them working in hotels.

Just seeing normal women going about their daily lives lifted my spirits.  I waved to gaggles of girls in crisp uniforms as they pedaled to school and chatted with women in colorful saris as we sifted through cauliflower and eggplants at the local market.  Suddenly I felt like I belonged.

What’s even more surprising is that India seemed so calm, clean and green.  At least in the Himalayan foothills of Sikkim and West Bengal where we were cycling.

Rubbish was placed in waste containers rather than strewn thoughtlessly by the side of the road. Nobody stopped to stare or crowd around to get a better view of the crazy foreigners on bikes.  And the landscape was lush and beautiful with few scars of ramshackle development that mar so much of modern India.

We could bike in bliss, heaving ourselves up the impossibly steep climbs.  Well, maybe it wasn’t total bliss.  But Sikkim was fun.

Welcome to Sikkim!
Alright, distances may be short but with all those incredibly steep ups and downs it takes forever to get from A to B.

   

collage sikkim culture
Sikkim is majority Buddhist and the region is dotted with prayer flags and ancient temples and monasteries.

 

Wide Open Spaces, West Bengal, India
The beauty and bliss of wide open spaces.

 

West Bengal Bicycle Touring
Lots of dirt roads to explore.

   

Some seriously fun cycling.  Definitely wouldn't want to cycle Sikkim in the wet season.
Some seriously fun cycling. Definitely wouldn’t want to cycle Sikkim in the wet season.

 

 

Sikkim Surprises.
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6 thoughts on “Sikkim Surprises.

  • arby
    February 18, 2016 at 5:05 PM
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    A little selfish on my part, but I’m glad to see you back, and those greens sure look good in northern winter. Safe travels…

    Reply
  • Andrzej Brandt
    February 20, 2016 at 8:01 AM
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    great to hear from you after a while!

    we are actually heading in the north east corner of india in the coming months and would love to see the map from your travel up there. is it possible to get a map?

    Reply
  • Dave Hetherington
    February 24, 2016 at 4:27 AM
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    So glad to see you blogging again, I was genuinely worried something had happened to you guys.

    Reply
  • Manish
    February 25, 2016 at 12:12 PM
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    Very rarely have I seen such huge (and welcoming) Welcome boards when you cross states within India. Nice capture – thank you for posting and sharing.

    Reply
  • Kelly
    April 25, 2016 at 2:55 AM
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    I love your photos! Do either of you come from a photography background? Or, did you do any photography courses before you left on your travels? Also, where do you backup your photos while you are cycling?

    We are about to head off on our cycle tour, and would love to take some photos to the same quality as yours. Any tips would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    We hope to eventually make it to India as well, though that would still be several years away. We are going to hit the Americas first.

    Reply
  • Elias
    April 27, 2016 at 3:29 AM
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    Wow! What a story, with the bike through the world! Love your website! Greets from Germany, Elias

    Reply

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