Tuesday, 17 February 2015
Day 34 (India): Kochi by bike
I hired a bike today to explore the historic centre of Fort Kochi / Cochin (pic). Rs100 got me a day's full use of a typical Indian model: a Hercules, complete with rod brakes, single speed, clanking bottom bracket, precarious back-wheel stand, unreliable rear-wheel lock, and front wheel that sticks forward so much it steers like a wheelbarrow. Plus the saddle had more springs and coils than an elephant's mattress, and felt about as comfy.
It was great fun, weaving through the local streets among the cars, autorickshaws, goats, buses and pedestrians, all going in different directions. The touristy area of Jew Town was too full of coach parties and trinket shops for my liking, though – I much preferred the quieter back lanes and side streets (pic). There were lovely cheap local places to eat too – but the pound I spent on the bike hire was still the best-value purchase in India.