Wednesday, September 25, 2013


1 week to go before the MTB Himalaya event and things aren’t quite going to plan. A broken shifter, confusion over what tapering means, a new diet and a freshly discovered appetite for post training rum and coke has me struggling a bit. If I tackle each issue one by one like some sort of confession to you all it might get me back on track.
Singalila Ridge Darjeeling
Broken shifter.  50k through the 120km training and the arse fell out of it so reduced to two gears not ideal on 1000m climbs. So either spin like a deranged hamster or grind it out like the kids overtaking me on the single speed clunkers.
 Tapering. Must be too late to get any fitter now and when I do wind things down I tend to get increasingly knackered so no fan of the day off.  Trying to put a bit of effort in to make each ride worthwhile but not drain myself too much. Leaves my neither here or there but in a limbo land of tapering-shapering. (To use the Hindi linguistical tick of adding a nonsense rhyming word to everything)
Appetite. I have not had meat, onion or garlic for 7 days now and I am shrunken man (kamzor in Hindi) Have been staying at my work mate and best pal Pankaj Danu’s house where his mum makes us all an excellent 3 meals a day. I thought everything tasted as usual of onions and was only into day 7 that we started talking about the eternal Indian election winner/loser “onion prices” which have soared due to rapacious hoarding and the secret was revealed. Sadly for the Danu household, onions have been off the ingredients list for the last 4 months due to a death in the family. So no meat, onions or Garlic for a year. I have lost weight=onions make you fat.
Singalila Ridge, Darjeeling.
Rum and Coke. For the past 5 days I have been riding from Khausani a small village on a ridge populated by a few hotels and even fewer guests. Everyday involves a descent down to somewhere and then a big 14km road climb back. The only beer shops in the area are in the village at the bottom of the climb so it means if I want to enjoy my evening tipple I have got to ride back the 50 minutes and near 1000m climb back up the hill with a couple of 660ml glass bottles of the “not above 8% by vol” beer stuffed in Osprey pack. So some days, reaching peaks of previously unknown self-denial I ride back beerless.
 On one such day while reflecting on the folly of my actions a man walked into the hotel with a bottle of rum. An ex-military man with a rum ration selling off his massively discounted supplies to the hoteliers in town at a handy profit. So here I am typing away with lovely rum and coke in the sunshine, while a warm glow flickers over the mighty peaks of the Himalaya in the distance…

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wallet Wallah

We are back in India and it’s the blogging season again so we hope to keep you, my faithful blog readers, updated with the fun stuff that no one else gets to know about.
Tracy Moseley on Pindari Trail
 A week in Delhi is just about enough for me put the time to full uncreative use and pick up were we were last April, in the pursuit of pocket sized rubber happiness, which to those who don’t know, that’s inner tube wallets. We have decimated 50% of Delhi’s sewing capacity with these infernal things which have stuck, twisted and bunged up sewing machines all over the capital. Our wallets have gone to the cobblers, literally and metaphorically, and the street side wallahs should have the market stitched up in no time.
  Back in Nainital and life is good. 4 hour ride today to test the bike and the trails and survey the monsoon damage, so far looks good though we know the trails up to Pindari Glacier have been damaged badly. Uttarakhand had disastrous floods in June and is still recovering from the loss of life and damage so we have no trips planned on the high altitude trails this September/October but hope to run a few guests through the lower level trails which are seriously good fun.
Guess whose appalling white socks these are
 A few pics here from last year which we missed. Tracy Moseley getting a bit of air just in time for Pankaj to click his camera. Pankaj is seen testing out his new Danny Macaskill Five Tens and looks a happy chappy in em.
 Looking forward to the MTB Himalaya race this 28th September I think we have a spot  for that so need to get the miles in for that. October its Darjeeling revisited so can’t wait for that and the trails on the Singalila Ridge.. Kerala in Feb for more singletrack tours and we are doing the coast to coast in February which will be cracking. Anyone keen???????

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Poets and Donkeys

We are back down in Delhi after our 1st taste of Uttarakhand singletrack of 2013. 7 days of great riding in the lower level Himalaya riding up to 2800 meters with magical views of the Himalaya.

So inspiring was the riding that one lady who we met on our travels was compelled to write a poem about our adventures. We met her pre ride on the balcony of our hotel in Khausanhi. She introduced herself as a writer and a poet from West Bengal and with two books published so far. Here are her words below.

21 days now for exploring some new trails and hopefully a dedicated DH/Enduro trail centre featuring the latest in donkey uplift technology. So will report back on the progress of Moti and Burra our trainee donkey uplift team and let you know how they get on with the bag of Delhi carrots and advice on how to correctly carry DH/Enduro Bikes.

A couple of pics here by Dan Milner, watch out for MBUK on Uttarakhand coming soon.

We are still looking at teaming up Trek as our official bike provider for 2013/2014 so expect us to be plugging their bikes all over the place if that comes through.

The Bikers By Shreya

Cycle wheels
The gushing winds
Thoughts of the trail
Rolling over the
pages of our
open book.
Memories of 
loved and sweet
souls shores apart
Our hearts thunder
At the call of the
Misty mountains.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

World Records

  “Nothing can be done. Batchelors”. Its 4 a.m, the batchelors are partying for the second night in a row. Squeezed 6 to a room, adjacent to ours, they bang, shout, and scream their way through the night. Brandy is their chosen late night fuel, glugged in quadruple measures topped up with water, and helped down with cigarettes they party, bottles, empty packets, plates are thrown with pleasure, strewn across the garden. Two interventions only get me an invite to join them.
  Its not every day you meet a World Record Holder but here in this mountainous district of Kerala it’s a weekly occurrence. We have been on friendly terms with the man who wrote the world’s longest letter for years now. He regularly ambushes us as we ride into Vandiperiyar armed with a newspaper article that records his mammoth task. A letter on world peace addressed to the Pope and the U.S presidency it started under Jimmy Carter’s reign and finished sometime during President Clinton’s 2nd term.
 Yesterday at Peermade post office the counter clerk kindly asked me where I was from and then told me he was a World Record Holder. He produced a certificate from under his desk, which stated his achievements. The Worlds longest continuous speech 30 hours and 6 minutes, world peace and environmental issues were his topics. I asked him if he knew of the other World Record Holder in the neighboring town of Vandiperyar. “ He has no certificate” he said pointing proudly at his own replete with the Guinness label. 
 8 days riding here and we are in Munnar on what will be the last tour of the season here in Kerala so savouring every bit of singltetrack, relishing every Rava Dosa and cooling down the Kingfishers for post ride energy drink.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cobra Trail

 We have a few rest days now between the groups and its time to sit out in the sunshine outside our abode in the Queen’s Pantry. Misty Mountain, Kuttikanam and enjoy a bit with the MTB Kerala family.
 Outside we have Sheffield Mike running around in his Katcha’s (underpants) sweating away the pounds to make way for a few Kingfisher’s tonight. Pankaj the facebook kid is absorbed in his phone, chuckling away as usual as events unfold in facebook world. Kerala’s best and richest mountain biker (£1250 for 2nd prize in a 4-cross event) Jibin Joy is out on the bike with Rakesh (a name familiar to all loyal readers of this blog) working out a few new trails to link together for our next tour.  All will be back tonight for a game of cricket on the tennis courts so it is indeed happy times for all here.
 For me its time to put down a few highlights of the past month or so.
 Wildlife. We have had Tigers, Macaques, Elephants, Cobra’s, Malabar Hornbills and barking deer in abundance this year. The tiger on the Singalila Ridge tour was the probably the most exciting spot followed by a never to be forgotten frantic adrenalin fuelled pedal for your life 5 minute section of trail with Pankaj a bit too far out off the back for comfort.
 Loads of elephants in December which is always a humbling and mesmerizing experience. We were witness to a family of elephants on the banks of Maddupatty Dam followed by a sighting of an solitary elephant near Aryanakkal Dam which was more than likely the same elephant that was responsible for trampling to death  of a tea worker the previous month. Local newspapers also reported sightings of a rogue Tiger which seemed to be on a sight seeing trip of Munnar district leaving a trail of dead dogs and mauled goats in its wake.
 The strange incident of the Cobra that sprung out of  the wall is about as close as we would ever like to be to “nature” on our tours we managed to catch it on video so have a look at the link below.
 Misty Mountain life is as good as ever. The manager Sumesh has been on great form recently. For the past week every meal time has featured a tomato on my plate. When I take my meal Sumesh comes in to chat and watch and ensure that I eat the tomato. I questioned him on the new meal with tomato policy and he said the reason was that he really enjoyed watching me eat tomatos.
 Yesterday whilst engrossed in computer work in the Misty Mountain office I found myself subjected to a barrage of assaults by paper. Sumesh stuffed bits of paper down the back of my t-shirt whilst tickling my neck. I was also made a dunces hat, which was crowned upon my head as I sat in the office chair trying to maintain a business minded composure.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

King Of The Good Times

  3 days into the 1st Kerala tour of the year and it has been a cracker. Just completed a crossing of the western ghats mountains on the bikes. A route pioneered by myself and Sheffield Mike with help from Rakesh of Nepal and Lord Welington who it is claimed was the 1st to cross the mountains here on foot. Views and riding incredible. 2000m descent, 3
hours down with  about 30 minutes of unrideable stuff in there which is too overgrown or too tech. Pankaj riding well today, he has a look of a Erryl Flynn about him at present with his dashing moustache. He thinks he looks better without it but its immovashavable at this stage as it is covering up a nasty cut and a puffed split lip the result of a head 1st over the bars into a tea bush. Didn't/couldn't speak for two days and looked decidedly miserable. More astute observers of
this blog willl notice there is no mention of beer in it so won't mention it then which will upset the official sponsors of Mountain Bike Kerala, the worlds premium not above 5% beer;  Kingfisher the King of Good Times...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rush Job

It always amazes me how little I can do in a day here but always feel busy.  I always wake up with grandiose ideas for the day, usually a ride which will find the new ultimate trail, a website refurb, massive push on marketing and learning another 10 words of Malayalam. Reality reads somewhat different, a quick ride, wash a few clothes forget my lines in Malayalam and then its time for a beer and to take a few notes on what needs to be done. A trip to the bank is a months work in itself, the bank trip today involved a 8 hour round trip  The bank trip  was suppposed to have been done in Delhi but got  2000km delayed to Calcutta were the banks were happily having a bank holiday. The trip then got extended another 3000km to Kerala and a week later I am at the bank. When the groups come out it is a different story. Ride all day then a beer, nothing else.  Too busy...