The 2017 (3rd edition) of the “Tour de India” was another great success with 18 riders taking part in this majestic bike trip, making it the biggest to date.
The tour began in the beautiful “blue city” of Jodhpur in Rajasthan and the first day’s ride was challenging to all as several of the roads were still under construction, meaning we were riding on soft sand!
All riders managed to make it through to the end, although the heat and strenuous activity took its toll, as evidenced by sore legs, bodies and cramps on the bus ride to Jaisalmer.
The next couple of days riding were less difficult, although very picturesque as we rode through the beautiful desert of Rajasthan, punctuated by stops in small villages for hot masala chai, and all the time getting closer to the Pakastani border. We rode to the magnificent Pal Rajah desert camp, Southwest of Jaisalmer, where we took camel rides into the desert to watch the sun set while sipping G&T’s. For some, the camel rides were the final insult to bottoms that were already sore! That evening we feasted in the midst of the cool desert and danced to the wonderful beat of local music. The last few days of the tour were spent riding towards Udaipur and watching the arid desert scenery gradually transform into a greener landscape as we approached the foothills of the Aravelli mountain ranges. Along the way we were lodged in the beautiful old Maharajah’s former palaces, now converted into boutique hotels where we reminisced about our days’ efforts and had how lucky we were to be able to see India like this.
All of the riders did an amazing job, but special mention must go out to Robert Kernick, who at the tender age of 78 years was on his third Yatra bike tour. Despite a minor fall, he was able to complete the tour and is an inspiration. To mark this achievement he received a special trophy on the final evening of the tour and he plans to be on our next tour in January 2019! Overall we rode almost 370kms through breathtaking scenery over 7 days and have raised over $42K for our projects to date (donations can still be made on our yatra website). After completing the cycle tour the group spent a day visiting 3 of our single classroom resource centres (SKs) in remote Udaipur. We spent time with the students and their teachers and also met with the parents and local villagers to hear, first-hand, how these schools are transforming lives and cultures in these villages. This was followed by a meeting with our local partner (CEO, Priyanka and staff of Sewa Mandir) to give feedback to them and hear more about the future development plans for these amazing transition schools. Yatra Foundation supports 23 of these schools in the local district, giving access to a quality education to over 700 children who would otherwise not be at school. The last evening of the trip was spent celebrating and reminiscing about this unique shared experience on the rooftop bar overlooking the lake palace in Udaipur.
To all the participants of the 2017 Yatra bike tour-we salute you for your courage, generosity, and adventurous spirits. To all those who have donated to our tour by sponsoring our cyclists, we thank you for your incredible support.
Finally, to all those who wish to see India like you’ve never experienced before, learn about what Yatra Foundation is doing in these communities to give the poorest children new opportunity through education, and for the time of your life…please join us on the next Yatra Bike Tour, planned for late January 2019 in South India!