This isn't a particularly long ride, but it was harder than I'd expected. While the coast is flat, I didn't figure the headwinds would be so strong. Or so long winded. They blow all day, perhaps 10 km/h. No need to calculate the vector; I head north, the wind blows south. Most of the time, I go below 20 km/h, at its worse, 14 km/h. The weather is hot but not humid; a good thing about the wind is, the wind blows sweat and heat away.
Headwinds aren't new to me; I've faced them in the Outback. So I've learned to grit my teeth and grind on. While I've cycled over 68,000 km, Sri Lanka brought new experiences. I've:
been chased by dogs, but not a three-legged one.
raced before, but not while touring
gone hungry, but not had a liquid lunch of ginger beer
wondered how to keep my bicycle safe while I sleep, but not used two bedrooms before.
|Beach Road: I like it a lot, because there's a lot of it|
1 Feb fly there, nightstop Negombo Village Guesthouse
2 Feb Negombo to Kalpitiya, 129 km, nightstop Randam Hotel fka Windy Lanka
3 Feb Kalpitiya and its environs, 141 km
4 Feb Kalpitiya to Negombo, 144 km
5 Feb fly back
I do some off road, single track, double track, dirt roads and roads. I know I'm lost when the trail
peters out. To get back on track, I track like a hunter, looking not for footprints but tyre tracks.
Night riding: to clock more miles, I do some riding at night. It's not really safe. Cows, dogs and pedestrians don't have blinking lights at night. And the glare of oncoming headlights is blinding. Once, the timing of the passing vehicle was such that I saw pedestrians walking abreast by the roadside: just enough time to see them but too little time to avoid collision if they were near enough. A near miss.
Over 400 km, I see three other cyclo tourists. One of them was solo like me. We wave to each other / exchange thumbs up.
Traffic and other hazards
|I like watch dogs ie dogs who sit there and watch|
I never really felt menaced; I've felt more menaced cycling in a carpark back home.
I get frazzled on my last day of cycling, when I go to the beach at Negombo. It was harrowing as the road to the beach is narrow: it's jammed with traffic and a wedding procession. To win the race against the sun, I squeeze past whatever gap I see, including on the pavement, to get there and back to my hotel to box up my bike and wash up.
Dogs are are all over the place, usually sleeping by the roadside, sometimes trotting about, almost always in packs. Almost all the time, they ignore passersby, but I am chased twice, once by a three legged dog.
Refueling aka food and beverage
One night I have rice and curry. Another time, I have what seems like fried roots. There are also scattered bakeries. Most of the time, it's short eats and provision shops.
|At a "hotel" (eating place). |
The ad above, EGB, is for ginger beer
An alternative to short eats is ginger beer; I quaff the 1 litre version. It's refreshing, calorie rich and not sickly sweet unlike some short eats.