Cycling the monsoon - Nepal: Cool!

Mr Pumpy cycled Nepal in early June, the height of the monsoon season, and survived to tell the tale...

The rain comes and goes in bursts, usually for an hour or two every day or so, but you can work your way around it. Often enough you can see the rain clouds forming during the day, and can time your run to land 'high and dry' in a nice warm hotel before the deluge.

Of course, you can get caught out, but it always seems to work out, some way. You stop under a tree, stop in a teashop, or maybe park yourself under somebody's front veranda. The rain falls in humungous loads, you sit there chatting to a couple of surprised kids, and really, life is pretty good.

If night falls and you're still caught out, somebody will put you up - it's Asia, it never fails.

However, you do need a nice paved road (Mr Pumpy once rode the backroads of Cambodia in the rain, and that was a boggy nighmare), not too much traffic, and hotels and guesthouses spaced at 50 km intervals, which this run has.

Apart from the obvious safety factors - ride slow, take no risks etc, the main thing is to keep as warm and dry as possible, so a quick clean up and change of tee-shirt in the teahouse may be in order, while the nice girl is getting your tea, and the kids laugh.

However, it must be said that if you are wearing cotton, rather than synthetic cyclist's gear, you may have trouble getting your one and only spare tee-shirt dry at night (like Mr Felix, see below.) In this unfortunate case, you can really start to smell bad, which of course you only notice when you have stopped in the teahouse and are in close proximity to the nice girl with the tea.

Still, such is the life of the cyclist, and cycling, being an outdoor sport, is absolutely full of au natural situations, which is almost half the fun.

Of note on this ride is that once out into the Terai past Butwal, the skies cleared up, bright and blue, no rain to be seen.

Cycling the monsoon - India: Not cool!

India is a whole other proposition in the rain. Way too much traffic, bad roads and the subsequent safety and stress factors can make things rather diffcult. Not recommended.