Why I take on Extreme Challenges

Day 17 (19th February 2020) From Nagpur to Nagpur – 1,700 km completed (2,800 km left)

So today was, I think, probably the shortest day actually out on the road, but not a personal best. I think the time wasn’t as quick because for much of the day there was a headwind, and that makes a big difference.

Sachin thought I was up to doing 4 sessions of 25 km today rather than 5 sessions of 20 km and that seemed to go reasonably well. Although once you get into a pattern, changing it becomes a little difficult, and that was more of an issue with my mind rather than with my body.


Ready to set off this morning


Giving my bike a lift

Poor Pawan. I think he has been struggling to direct and control me. Today was a good example where he was desperately trying to get me to turn around, drive back up the service road and back onto the main highway. I was being stubborn so I decided the quickest way up onto the highway was to pick my bike up, run up the steps and then climb over the wall.


Driving me loopy

The days where I do a loop are not so good. Going out and then retracing my steps reminds me too much of training. There’s something very powerful about progress and moving forward, so the days of the loops are less pleasurable than the days of just making 100 km progress northwards.


Another day another cycle porn photo

Missing the beauty of…

What I would say was that it was hot again and sadly, some of the beauty of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana seems to have gone. It’s much more dusty, more industrial and lots more heavy lorries. In fact, there was one place where there was heavy lorries with their tires off and out of use. It looked like a place where the lorries went to die.

Lunch at the Four Lane dhaba

Sexy Italian cycling shorts

The other very exciting news today is that Atul has arranged to send me, from Delhi, three pairs of good quality Endura cycle shorts. I’m looking forward to wearing these over the next few days. We had, in fact, previously, arranged for some Castelli, Italian shorts, to be delivered from Delhi, which arrived a few cities back through Pawan. They were size XL because the shop said they need to be a size up. Well, if these were extra large than I’ll eat my hat because it was ridiculous. I don’t know if they would have fitted Molly. And I don’t think an XXXL would have fitted me. They were clearly designed for super, super slim and sexy Italian cyclists because there was no way in a million years that I was going to wear them. I could barely get one leg in them, let alone both legs and my waist.


A dish I had this evening (Navaratna Korma) and my favourite so far

The fish and bones saga

I told Sachin I fancy fish this evening and he’s grown to learn, as my family will testify, that I’m absolutely hopeless with bones. So I love fish but it needs to be boneless as otherwise it just retracts from the pleasure. Sachin informs the hotel accordingly and as a result they have called him at least 5 or 6 times during the course of today. A guy’s been going to the fish market, coming back and Sachin gets a call to say the fish been filleted but there seems to be one or two small bones. Sachin says “No, that’s no good” and that they need to back to the market. So, we’ve had a bit of a fish saga today so I must make sure to thank the Oyo chefs and hotel this evening.

Thank you Oyo

Beard trimming

I’m very excited today as I’ve been look forward to, for about the last 48 hours, going to a barbers and having my beard trimmed. Or what might loosely be termed as my beard. I’ve never been able to grow a beard but, what little I have, I’m looking forward to getting trimmed. It’s really starting to irritate me and go in my mouth. More of those simple pleasures that I talked about in Day 17.

Improving my aerodynamics

Its chilly in Srinagar

Srinagar is my final destination and out of interest I asked Pawan to Google the temperature. I think it was a high of 6 or 8 degrees centigrade and a low of 2 or 3 degrees. I have to say it was a bit of a shock to find out. I haven’t got the right clothes for those temperatures. I don’t even cycle in those temperatures back at home in the UK, or certainly not very often. I’ve got a couple of winter clothes so Sachin and I have been discussing, assuming I get that far, what I will need to buy to tackle much colder temperatures.

Sachin at work today

Reasons for fundraising & extreme challenges

I have talked previously about the reason for doing this ride and I want to share it again. For the most part, despite my challenges, I’ve had a pretty good life. Therefore it’s only right and proper that I should take time out to do something for other people. In particular for widows and their children, in a place that’s become my second home. There are other reasons of course and one of those is because I’m an alcoholic. I have an addictive personality, so I tend to do things to excess. So, normal people would do a cycle from London to Brighton to raise money for charity. I don’t seem to be very good at measuring myself in that way, so it only seemed right to me to cycle the length of India.

Some ladies we passed today

Dad and looking for affirmation

And then, the final reason, perhaps the most important, is the fact that when I was young, I had a difficult relationship with my dad. He didn’t always find being a dad easy and in many ways, I think he found me an irritant at best and at worst, public enemy number one. Through my role as a trustee of MQ Mental Health and through my reading more generally and through counselling, I’ve discovered that lack of affirmation from your father can live with you for a long time, maybe for a lifetime. There’s no doubt that part of the reason I’ve done these big challenges is to try and find that affirmation that perhaps I didn’t always have from my dad.

Perhaps I am earning love…

There’s also another reason that’s related to my dad as well but I haven’t talked about it much. I’ve been reflecting on it during the cycling. After I left home we had a much better relationship. We had a stronger relationship in many respects and I went on to form a reasonably successful career at a major international law firm. My dad recognised and appreciated what I’d achieved and it’s just possible that I learned that love was conditional on success, succeeding and doing good things. Therefore and perhaps the other reason that I’m doing this cycling for widows as well as other previous extreme charity ventures, is that I believe that I’m earning love rather than being worthy as myself.

In action cycling today

My jokes aren’t as funny now

Pawan’s done a great job in stepping into Atul’s shoes, but it’s different as I thought it would be. Interestingly, I thought it would be more challenging for Sachin or maybe the drivers to suddenly have somebody new in the team. I think it’s probably affected me more than anybody else because, partly, it is a communication thing. I think Pawan understands me less well than Atul and my humour isn’t for everybody. I think he’s bemused at my humour at times, whereas Atul seems to be on a similar wavelength. Atul regularly refers to me as Mr Bean and chuckles away when I make my silly comments.

Me and Deb

I’m listening to…

I spent much of today listening to ‘Miss Saigon’, the musical and I know that Deb would approve as she absolutely loves musicals. The stand-out track for me, and I think for Deb, is ‘Bui Doi’.

Comments & music recommendations

Please keep your comments coming. They mean a lot to me, especially in the early morning when the prospect of another 100 km isn’t very alluring. I need that extra help and support to get me up on my bike. And, also, please keep the song recommendations coming in. I really appreciate them and they’re all being uploaded onto my playlist.

That’s all for today.


?? Why I’m cycling across India ??

Unfortunately, many widows in India are very badly treated when they lose their husbands. As well as facing verbal and physical abuse, rape and the threat of being evicted from their homes, they often have no income whatsoever after their husband dies. 

This is where the Loomba Foundation comes in. Through their empowerment programmes, the charity provides skills training and other support to help widows become self-sufficient so that they can support themselves and their families. 

I’d like to ask for your support I am already more than half way towards raising $450,000 – I’d love it if you could help me smash my target. Your support would mean the world to me and would help to change the lives of thousands of widows and their families. 

If you are in India, you can make a donation here: 

?? Ketto (India) ??

If you are in the UK or elsewhere in the world, you can make a donation here:  

?? JustGiving ??

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  • Post category:Charity

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