Twelve months ago, I looked at myself in the mirror, but was not happy with what I saw. I was putting on too much weight and most of it around my waist !
How can I lose this fat belly, and I thought of the flat roads in Bangladesh, the warm sunshine and the blue skies. A marathon Bike Ride, that should do the trick. Now 12 months later, I have just returned from my sixth visit to Bangladesh, some 2 stone lighter and three inches trimmed off my waist.
Here are my memories of riding a Bike from Sylhet to Cox’s Bazaar, approx 350 miles, in 6 days, in scorching temperatures approaching 100 degrees !
Word spread around Oldham of our plans and the original group of 15 cyclists were all set to fly out to Sylhet, when the BDR incident occurred in Dhaka.
Some of the group were apprehensive and cancelled, which left the three of us. Our route was to take us from Sylhet City with overnight stops in Hotels and Rest Houses in Hobiganj..Brahmanbaria..Feni..Comilla..Chittagong, then our target of Cox’s Bazar.
Joining me was Azmol Khan (Crouchy), from Oldham and Salam from London. All 3 of us had trained hard in previous months, riding our bikes through the cold wet British winter, sometimes cycling though snowdrifts.
During the Bike Ride, Azmol broke 2 Bikes, which had to be mended in Rickshaw workshops at the side of the road, when we were soon surrounded by crowds of curious villagers. We averaged 50 miles per day and on the final day, we cycled 100 miles from Chittagong to the finish in Cox’s Bazar, drinking gallons of water en route, eating bananas, tasty parati bread, juicy pineapples and boiled eggs to give us energy. We also had special high energy drinks to combat the scorching hot temperatures.
Although we were absolutely physically and mentally shattered, the sight of a signpost…10 kilometres to Cox’s and the longest beach in the world, lifted our spirits. We cycled onto the beach, then ran into the sea and a well earned soaking in the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal.
My other memories are of watching young Bangladeshi boys playing cricket at 7.30 in the early morning sun. Also improving my Bangla and returning to the U.K. with a healthy sun-tan. We visited the British High Commission in Dhaka, who gave us a warm welcome.
Because of the disappointment amongst the original 15 cyclists. It is planned to cycle from the Bangladesh High Commission in Manchester 200 miles south, to the Bangladesh High Commission in London, later this summer. We shall of course make 2/3 overnight stops. Anybody interested ?