Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Upper Thames 200

I had wondered if this ride was going to be about 'blood, sweat and tears' or 'banter, scenery and tea'. It was the latter and especially 'scenery'. Scenery normally comes with climbing, but if there is such a thing as a scenery/climbing ratio, then the Upper Thames 200 would have a very favourable score. Have a look at the photos, the link is at the end or here: Clicky.

I'm very envious of 'iddu' who captured an image of a Victorian Water Tank (1895) at Bix. He is right, I rode straight by.

I did however, make a point of stopping off at the Maharajah's Well (1865) in Stoke Row.

This had caught my eye, because the well and its cover was funded by the Maharajah of Benares, 'possibly in response to poverty and drought'. This is such an extraordinary reverse direction of development aid (if I can call it that), that you have to think something personal, political or symbolic is going on. Nevertheless, I'm sure the beneficiaries didn't complain. Stoke Row and Bix are only 6km apart. Water sources must indeed have been scarce.

Benares, or Varanasi, is a special place. It is a special place in its own right, but it is a special place for me personally also. Although the good things in religion interest me, I am not religious. However, I can get a little spiritual. The Ganges and Kumb Mela, I find absolutely fascinating. Can you imagine, in the last Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, around 60 million people attended. To be able to bathe in your goddess, the Ganges, at that time must be ..... I can't find the word. As for me, I had been wishing for something for a long time, a wish I thought was never going to come true. I don't believe in wishes either, but when all is beyond your control what else can you do but wish. So the magical Ganges at Varanasi was going to be the place where I made my wish one last time (which says enough about the outcome!!).

Varanasi 2006

From the Ganges back to the Upper Thames ... There were quite a few familiar faces. I was pleased to link up with LiamFitz, and it was nice of pipsuds to introduce himself. I'm sorry I had to ask pipsuds about three times to repeat his name. The pip was ok, but the suds just wasn't going in. If only he had mentioned his YACF picture is Tintin!! In Belgium, Tintin is called Kuifje, which translates as Quiff. Tintin rides a fixed track bike, that is important to know!

Thank you to the organiser and helpers. With over 90 entrants, the event has some logistics to take care of.

Photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here:Clicky.

Photo taken by RichForrest