This is the best time to cycle through the rural areas between Guwahati and Jagiroad and there are a few reasons and pointers to back my claim.
The weather – The monsoons have just begun in Assam. Unlike the thunder showers during April, the monsoon rains are gentle but relentless. However, the rains are a boon at times when it gets usually hot due to the high humidity. The maximum temperature hovers around 33 degrees Celsius with the minimum settling at around 22 degrees.
The greenery – The pre-season showers in Assam were very heavy this year. This ensured the ponds were filled till their brims and rivers carried sufficient water. The grass bloomed early this year and the leaves refused to shed in the hot months. Farmers have just begun sowing their rice paddies for the season and in a few days the area will be flourishing with greenery all through the monsoons.
The connectivity – All these areas are just off the main highway in Assam and barely an hour’s drive from Guwahati. If you are not up for cycling, then take a small car or a two-wheeler. However, it is best to avoid large four-wheelers. They would not only be difficult to motor in the tight corners but also be a menace to the local residents.
Good cellular coverage – The government and private mobile network operators have extended their reach to all corners of the state. This ensures you stay connected to 3G/4G internet throughout your trip. I navigated my way using Google Maps and GPS on all the routes.
People mind their own business – The unusually fast bicycles aside, the area is unlikely to pose any hazard to travellers. People go about their own business here. Everyone has work and no one will bother you. They will definitely help you if you require any assistance.
There are a few things to keep in mind ahead of your trips to these parts.
Plan you trips for the mornings – The sun rises at 4.15 am in the summers here. You might as well utilise the extra daylight. Plan your trips for at early as 5 am if you are determined to cycle. That way you will avoid the heavy highway traffic and benefit from the cooler weather.
Take a local with you if you do not know the area or language – This applies more on the Maloibari route than with Nibira. There might be instances where you may be stuck at a fork and need guidance. It’s better to know the local languages of Assamese or Bengali. Hindi will do fine as well.
Keep your phone charged – These areas do not have a rest stop or hotels where you can plug your iPhone or Android smartphones. Power cuts are rampant as well.
Carry your own water – The locals have developed stomachs of iron and can consume water from the ponds and well. You cannot; it’s basic science. Our bodies do not have the necessary antibodies to handle the germs.
Hold your pee – Fair warning, do not urinate in the open. It will definitely be someone’s farm or backyard you are peeing on. The locals may allow you to use their toilets or you can use the restroom in the restaurants on the highway.
Take a rain-suit or an umbrella – Unless you do not mind the rain like me. It will rain in all probability. Better safe than sorry.
Things you should know before your trip: