Friday, February 19, 2010

Tour of Mumbai... why am I smiling?

This is great, just on the heals of a 39 hour flight home from Kolkata, with the incessant ringing of pedicab horns whining in my ears and the temptation to use a neti-pot for the first time in my life to flush the lingering fumes from my nose, I popped open VeloNews to see this on the slate for the coming weekend...

O’Grady, Cooke head to India for Tour of Mumbai

Stuart O'Grady and Baden Cooke - good'on ya mates!

Before cycberspace can display the feed I'm smiling, no I'm laughing, and can only flash back to Stuart O'Grady's face in the Paul Sherwin pre-race interview for Paris-Roubaix a few years back when the conditions were shit! and O'Grady grinned ear-to-ear saying, "right mate, it's go'in ta be a crakka". Well Stuey - here she comes again mate. According to Race director David McQuaid said 'finding a suitable course around the crowded streets of India’s financial capital was difficult but predicted a “tough, challenging” ride for the cyclists.' Ya, difficult I bet - insane is more like it.

“No cyclist will find shelter nor get an easy ride,” he wrote on the event’s website.

The Tour of Mumbai is invitation-only - lucky sods. Again, by way of the site - The event will see competitors ride 36 laps of a 2.8 kilometer course, reaching speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour on sprints every fifth lap. The winner will receive 50,000 dollars. Considering the average Hero-made street bike in India costs about $50 (US) winning the ToM is like Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire.

A Tour of Anything India is a brilliant and long over due idea. I mean think about it - India has:
  • More bikes than any country other than China
  • More diverse uses of the "bike" than any other nation
  • The single largest bike producer in the world, Hero - 27,500 A DAY!!
  • The largest selling bike shop - get this - 300 PER DAY!!!!
Unfortunately there won't be any Jamals streaking solo under the flamme rouge this Sunday - but because of this Sunday maybe, just maybe, this bicycle-tricycle mad country may see one in the not to distant future.

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