Why a blog?

the journal, our bloglet  is an experiment. Is there a story to tell? can it be told competently and ultimately, will it be engaging?

Only you and time will tell.

Our guests at the BnB are always asking for our story and often  suggest we share it to a wider audience. So here is our humble attempt, to relay our story of life in India. Manjula as a ‘young’ Indian woman and me as a much much older English guy. (the age gap isn’t a big as it looks…. he said defensively!)

We intend to introduce ourselves and our life here in India, local characters and the wonderful guests, from around the world, who come to Mysore to join our Mycycle tours and stay in our Mysore Bed and Breakfast. Its already a bit of a mad mix. On the way we hope to share insights into this amazing, crazy, challenging, annoying, ‘consistently inconsistent’ beautiful place and it’s people.

Please do regularly check into meandmycycle.com

If it’s of interest do share and pass on to others.

We value your opinion.

Do you want more of the same or something different? what shall we post? insights into Manjula’s life as a poor woman in modern India? an understanding of what its like for me as an English guy adjusting to life in this ‘differently organised’ world? our personal story of coming together from different cultures and backgrounds, the fun we have and the challenges we face? a better understanding of India (is that possible?) from our own limited experience.

Do let us know.

our very best wishes,

Manjula and Stephen

Oh, and exactly on cue I hear Lucy calling from downstairs. We haven’t forgotten she is of course the third and, dearly loved, part of our family here in India.

and Lucy, of course…

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its the people that make it!

Mysore Bed and Breakfast is very much an open house, where we have now welcomed guests for over four years. A great community is beginning to develop. It’s formed from our guests, many who have returned or know of us through other friends, together with out team of drivers, gardener, cleaners, the hosts (Manjula, Lucy and the Yorkshireman) . There is also a network of other friends such as Homestay hosts and tour companies that collaborate to provide a great experience for visitors to this wonderful India. This helps create a richer life experience for us (eh… we don’t need to travel, the world comes here 🙂 !)  and a greater depth for our visitors.

P1120354We’ve decided to introduce some of our community beginning with one of our guests.

Stephen F (a different Stephen F 😉 ) is a keen touring cyclist who has been to Mysore BnB maybe three times. He’s even left one of this cycles here for regular use! Originally from Northern Ireland he now lives in England and works as a communications consultant. Stephen goes way beyond the cycle tours we provide. He recently visited again doing a cycle loop travelling from here and taking in the National Parks. Previously he’s toured parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. On his first visit here we were amazed to realise we’d spoken to each other over the phone earlier in our careers in the early 1990s…. the coincidences of India, great stuff!

He’s just bought a rather expensive cycle and whenever we’ve had prospective guests planning on long and overnight tours we ask for Stephen’s help, whether its planning the tour, working out the best maps, finding suitable accommodation or general survival tips on cycling in India. Stephen has been a godsend. He now joins and has helped organise our family cycle tours back in the UK.

P1120379Stephen, as you would expect, has been on all our tours. Stephen and I have now started to develop longer tours taking in the local countryside, villages and my favourite, Srirangaptnam island.

See the map below.

Other cycling guests are also suggesting their favourite tours.

So this next year we’ll be inviting cyclists to come base their holidays here, join us on our established tours and we’ll help them design day tours in and around this wonderful area

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Thank you,  Stephen

 

 

 

 

How can cycling grow in India?

Cycling is still seen by many in India as poor people’s activity. We are however seeing a slow but dramatic increase in cycling, particularly amongst young people. If this follows the trend seen elsewhere cycling will hopefully grow with more and more people from all sectors of society joining in. This will bring tremendous benefits for our personal health, the environment and the community in general. Yet as we see from this article the conditions for city cycling are getting worse and this disproportionately affects the poorer people in society. So what can we as keen cyclists do about it?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/terra-india/2013/oct/24/indian-cyclists-squeezed-out-of-cities

Sustainably Cycling

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I moved to Mysore over four years ago and was pleased to discover that there was already some interest in leisure cycling. One of my early cycle trips organised by Sham Sunder, an inspirational guy, who is Director of National Institute of Engineering’s CREST also highlighted that Mysore had a significant movement in the use of sustainable technologies and organic farming. This was proving to be a very interesting place.

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Why?

So why?
India….
Cycling….and a BnB

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Think of it. Moving to a new country at age 54, launching a completely new venture in a field in which I had no previous experience and all this in India which at the best of times is mildly confusing and frequently incredibly frustrating.

If I’d thought about it for too long, it may have seemed daunting.

The fact is. Work was drying up in the UK. There was a financial crisis affecting everyone and a key market for our leadership and team training, the very banks who created the crisis (and clearly needed more effective teams and leaders with a smidgeon of sense and ethics) and other businesses suddenly didn’t require our services. It was time to find new cheese and that was to be in India in 2009.

Cycle tours and a BnB were in fact on the cards but not straightaway.

I have a track record of trying out and developing new things. My careers have ranged from social and community work, varied management roles and latterly as consultant and trainer with international companies. The only leads I had were a lifelong interest in cycling, a realisation that I thrive on meeting and engaging with people and maybe, just maybe a sign of real potential in the beautiful city of Mysore. A human scale city with great traditions, lovely people and a place where people go to retire ha ha.

Above all I’d fallen in love in India, in my 20’s and from a distance. A sort of blind date. But it wasn’t for another 25 years before I’d managed to meet her and realise the love was real. Like so many others before me, I wanted to get to India as much as possible.

I had indeed dipped my toe in the water by organising some events in India in 2006 (more of which later) so I knew a little of what to expect and I already had a small set of supportive friends here in Mysore, two in particular: Vasanth and Cary in Mysore.

To tell the truth….I hadn’t realised what an absolute joy it would be setting up and running this business in India.

Mycycle, Mysore Cycle Tours

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Mycycle is my business in South India that provides short guided cycle tours for visitors to the wonderful city of Mysore.

So the My refers to Mysore as well as my experience of over 40 years as a cyclist. But I fully intend that this blog will be much more than that…about our view of life in India that on the way will take in an eclectic range of interests and experiences.

We have now had the privilege of hosting, guiding and hopefully entertaining over 900 guests since we launched a little over two years ago. We’re often asked about the history of our business here, what drew me to Mysore and what adventures I and the team have had in living in India and developing Mycycle and Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

This is an attempt to share something of that experience.

please do join us on the journey

details of what we do can be found on http://www.manjulasmysore.in

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