Just wanted to inform you all that we have another Unicycle Tour coming up in April 2009. I know lot’s of you have been waiting in anticipation for this…so here it is…(drumroll badabadumbadum :p)…The India Unicycle Tour, or Induni '09 for short.
It’s looking like it could be the best Adventure Unicyclist Unitour so far, in terms of both riding and cultural experiences. This one has scenery to rival the SINZ tour, and the cultural experience of Uninam and Laos Unitour. It’s taken many months to finalise and pick a route we were happy with, hence the long delays!
If you are interested in this Unitour…let me know and I’ll put you on the Induni mailing list for updates and registration.
Numbers are limited to 30. We were over the limit on the last tour, so get in early or you may miss out)
Induni 2009: The India Unicycle Tour
Dates: Sunday 5 April 2009 (Day 1) to Thursday 16 April (Day 12)
Our tour takes us to the north east of India to a fantastically diverse region that borders Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and China, each of them never more than 100 miles away. This diversity is reflected in both the landscape, which ranges from the steaming plains near Bangladesh, to the world’s 3rd highest mountain, Kanchenjunga, but it is also evident in the people and religions we’ll see. Bengali teapickers, Bhutanese religious sculptors, Nepali corn vendors and Tibetan prayer flags are all to be found at this confluence of cultures.
All this contrast makes for plenty of legwork, and starting in the plains, we’ll work our way up through to the foothills until we’re close enough to the snow-capped peaks of Sikkim that it’ll feel like we can just reach out and touch them.
US $1990 and early registration prize draw if registered before 1 Dec 2008
US $1990 if registered before 1 Jan 2009
US $2090 if registered after 1 Jan 2009 (you’re buying beers for the whole group!)
US $2090, and you will have to wear a red nose and clown outfit if registered after 1 Feb 2009
No further registrations will be taken after 1 Mar 2009
What it covers:
support vehicles, local guide, tour leader, most meals, entry fees, accomodation
How to register: email Ken Looi (ken dot looi at gmail dot com), and I will send you the registration form and put you on the mailing list. You can either pay the full registration fee at once, or a deposit of US$500 to book your place on the tour. Deposits are refunded in full if you have to pull out (less wire transfer/transaction costs), up to 1 Mar 2009. After that it depends on what fixed costs we have already paid for, but will still be refunded less that amount.
How fit do I have to be?
The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it. However, it is not a race, and is a fully supported tour. We have support vehicles backing following behind us should you get overexhausted/sick/equipment problems. On previous tours, we have had some of the top riders in the world, as well as people who have only just started riding. We’ve had people ranging in age from 12yrs to 61. Generally, we average between 15-20km/hr when riding, and this drops to 13-15km/hr when you include rest breaks. We aim to have rest breaks to regroup and refuel every 20-25km or so. Those of you on previous tours will be familiar with the format.
Website: This will be up and running in the next few weeks. It will have photos and a daily blog during the tour, as well as a short biography and photos of the riders.
Check out websites from previous Unitours:
The Uninam Unicycle tour: www.uninam.net
The New Zealand South Island Unitour: www.sinzuni.org
Other Unitours: www.unitours.org
Day 1 | Siliguri
The tour starts in West Bengal’s second city Siliguri. We’ll meet in the evening for our first meal and an introduction to the tour.
Days 2-4 | Lowland Riding
After a short transfer we’ll commence the beautiful ride to the forgotten city of Koch Behar. The ride takes us through jute fields and rice paddies still farmed by ox-drawn carts, all within sight of the Bangladeshi border. The following day we have a chance to check out the Maharaja’s grand palace and a bustling temple before continuing our one-wheeled journey through the lowlands to the tea fields of Chalsa. Day 4 is free to relax by the pool, wander amongst the tea fields or take a jeep safari in the nearby Gorumara Wildlife Sanctuary; if we’re lucky we’ll spot bison, elephants and maybe even rhinos or leopards!
Days 5-7 | Riding to Kalimpong
Day 5 takes you on a long and challenging ride through the tea fields and up to the foothills of the Himalaya. We overnight at a simple hotel in a mountain village which enjoys stunning views. After the strenuous uphill the following day is a shorter ride to Kalimpong. The following day we have a rest day to enjoy the thronging market, take a hike or maybe visit one of the town’s many orchid gardens.
Days 8-9 | Riding to Pelling
Our ride today takes us to the former Buddhist Kingdom of Sikkim. We overnight in Pemeyangtse, and then have a day’s rest to appreciate the wonders of the region, whether that’s taking a short walk to a nearby monastery, or just soaking up the splendor of some of the world’s highest mountains.
Days 10-12 | Riding to Darjeeling
After our rest day we take a breathtaking ride through the mountains to the charming village of Kaluk, nestled deep in the mountains. Our last riding day is a gem, taking us down from the mountains, alongside the Rangbong River which divides Sikkim from West Bengal, and then through valleyside tea gardens before we transfer to vehicles for the unbelievably steep ascent to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is the world’s premier tea producing town and is overrun with monuments to the Raj, but the greatest monuments belong to nature; the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, is in plain sight of the town. The tour ends on day 12 - feel free to stay on in Darjeeling or perhaps join us for an optional trekking tour back in the big mountains of Sikkim.
Total Distance: Approx 400km
Riding Days: 7
Conditions will vary day by day with some days on well made flat roads and others on badly maintained mountain roads. There are some big uphills and downhills to ride but the support vehicles will always be on hand if you find anything too hard. On most days we will need to transfer part of the day by vehicle in order to link up towns with accommodation and also to avoid some of the crazy city traffic.
You will be required to obtain a Sikkim Entry Permit which can be done when you apply for your India visa.