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Transit Elite Sweater - Day of the Maoist
We continue to follow Dave, Cole and crew as they compile photos and writing with the guys over at Apolis Activism. This time their adventure gets a little tense, but ultimately turns into another great day on the bicycle. More writing and photos are found on the Apolis website. Their travels co-inside with the Transit Elite Sweater that will be available starting in the spring.
Words: Dave Christenson
Photos: Jeff Clark
The return of Cole happens to coincide with an interesting Nepali tradition — a bandh — or political strike. This one is being held by Nepal’s Maoist communists in retaliation for the deaths of three of their own at the hands of the police earlier in the week. We are informed that the strike is a complete shut down of the city to any form of transportation, and that includes bicycles.
After a quick conversation Cole and I decide to take our chances, and hope to escape the city without incident. We leave the house and instantly we feel the tension in the air. In the distance, at a traffic circle, we can see a massive group of Maoists and riot police in a shouting match. We roll slowly and my heart races. As we near the traffic circle we encounter two young Maoists with three-foot sticks, as we attempt to pass them they swing at Cole and myself, missing only due to our efforts to escape the business end of a Maoist bat.
Our photographer and Cole’s girlfriend, Aimee have been following us on a rented motorcycle, which in retrospect wasn’t the brightest idea because we soon realize this was what was calling attention to ourselves. We pull off the main road, regroup, and decide to make a run for it through the traffic circle. Cole passes his helmet to Aimee to give her a bit more protection from the angry Maoists.
We ride toward the traffic circle expecting the worst, but pass through without much of a problem. We continue passing through road blocks every 300 meters or so. Some we get angry shouts and others greet us with smiling faces. We finally turn off Ring Road toward our destination, Lele.
After a few kilometers the road kicks up and we are climbing out of the valley. The road narrows and the gradient gradually gets tougher. We hit a 3-mile dirt section that rattles us as we pass a series of rock quarries. We descend into the next valley and pass through the terraced farmland, and brick factories. The road pitches up again and I soon realize this is the major climb of the day with 15-18% sections.
We reach the top and decide to push further in search of food. At the next village we are greeted by locals and ask for food. They lead us down a small footpath to a home where two women are making a Nepali delicacy amounting to something close to boiled cream. Cole and Shea partake, but I take the opportunity to sneak away in search of something more substantial.
We thank the locals and head back to Kathmandu. This time we pass the Maoists without incident. We reach our host’s house and trade the bikes for street clothes and we’re off to explore the city. We converse and concede that what we did was fairly stupid on our part. Testing a political movement on their day of revolt is not recommended, but it did make an amazing day of exploration on the bike.
- Last week was a great one for Rapha Condor JLT, all the action and images now up on the team site: http://t.co/ftBejPnnCJ
- RT @alainrumpf: Well done @mike_cuming and @raphacondorjlt winner of #TdK2013 under the scrutiny of latest drone… http://t.co/gv81uP9mHP
- In their attempt to cross the US in 24 days, @michaeltabtabai & Andrew Hudon will ‘Leave It On The Road’. → http://t.co/Per6QsCAtt
- We are delighted to announce the opening of a one-month, pop-up @RaphaCycleClub in Tokyo this summer from 22/6–21/7 → http://t.co/Jrc0EKZ9ky
- Huge congratulations to @raphacondorjlt’s @mike_cuming for winning the @TourdeKorea2013 and to @tomsoutham for best DS. #TdK2013
- @danfromnam in Corsica — outtake from our 2013 Spring/Summer shoot #corsica #beningstagram http://t.co/03A7pT9mtj
- Winner Winner Chicken Dinner ! The most important jersey of #TdK2013 hot off the press. http://t.co/Pflx0eUfdv”
- What a day... The boys keep Mike Cuming in yellow, after having to chase all day. Great performance by all.
- Just rehearsing the whole of Pacino's speech from Any Given Sunday to recite to the boys...
- UK: Thanks to all who came to to tonight’s Rapha Étape Evening in London with @CyclefitUK — one of our biggest turnouts yet.