Cycling stories

Making it to 75, Riding the Heat Wave

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CYCLING STORIES

Yes, I’m formally announcing the achievement of this year’s target – 75km in a single day. Thank you all for the consistent support and motivation. I’m learning and believe that I have many more miles to go before I put my leg down. Recently I made slight changes to the riding plan as an experiment, in order to facilitate the long distance ride.

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Reading from my GPS-based tracking app

As a first step, I moved on from the old little ride to a new one. I admit, I’m not a good reviewer of bikes. I know that especially because I follow and comment the blogs of some great cyclists who share detailed observations of their rides, routes and styles. So I shall just mention the product page of the new Little Ride here. It is a Haibike, an iconic German brand. The product name is Big Curve 9.3 which is a hardtail mountain bike with 29-inch wheels. Technical specifications of the ride can be found in their product page here.

Secondly, I changed the route slightly to suit my future riding targets for longer distances. During the rides up to 50 and 60 km in the past, I used to follow the service lanes along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, and it made sense during heatwave conditions of 2014 and 2015. There were quite some points I used to stop and recharge my spirits. This year, I’m welcoming the heat wave with my own supplies of plain water and mini breakfast to take the Expressway head-on.

Though the route is not new to me, it is still a different experience riding the Expressway when I am the slowest moving object in a stream of over-speeding cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles. Strong tailwinds and some gravitational pull enabled me to pedal faster (or at least inspired me to do so) and I had started getting a hang of the near-nonstop ride through the Expressway. My first attempt went very well and on the Little Ride, and I feel that the road smiles back at me. There are no abrupt crossings, though there is always the danger of cars changing lanes and coming faster at you with the intention to exit the Expressway while you have plans to continue pedaling straight along the Expressway, without exiting from it. So I make use of hand signals, and remain alert with one eye fixed in the rear-view mirror to keep out of harm’s way.

There are some ups and downs along the route which influence the cadence, but I try to maintain a steady pace throughout the ride. The most interesting experience of the Expressway was on the way back – there were 2-3 different groups of cyclists who passed me, everyone shouting “Hi, Good morning!” Once or twice I did come across those occasional cyclists who rely too much on their bike brands than their own legs. I find it interesting to chase them and make them falsify those illusions, though not intentionally. With someone on my tail I tend to forget the limitations of my body and would keep pedaling, wanting to fly.

At the end I came home happily, smiling broad, unable to hide the liberating feeling of the ride. I would sincerely thank all of you who follow my blog, support me with kind and motivating words. I’d also thank my smarter half for being there even through the hard times, ensuring that I start off on time, have enough to eat and drink on the way. My little one makes sure that the ride is kept clean, well oiled, and the tyres have optimum pressure. Thank you all again. I shall keep trying to perform better, and shall post my progress here, occasionally.

Do you also keep targets for your hobbies? Do you think it is important to set targets for your hobbies in order to ensure that you take it seriously? Please share your thoughts.

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Vouching for the 75

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CYCLING STORIES

It is a popular belief that when you write down your objectives or speak about your goals and aims with people, you’re more likely to achieve them. Speaking up about objectives binds you closer to goals, they say. Not a bad idea.

So here I’d like to disclose my cycling objective of this year: Ride 75 km in a single trip. In my scheme of things, this means 38 km up and equal in return. Going deep inside Greater NOIDA. It would be great in many aspects – excellent greenery (by Delhi standards), almost flat roads, and plenty of fresh air. Well, that’s what I aim to achieve.

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I’ve started off a few weekends towards this goal and has so far clocked 65 km in less than 3 hours. Way to go. I’m planning to raise the bar little by little every weekend to reach there. Our little family is united in support. I’m getting reinforcements transported to my destination. In my terms that’s what luxury actually means.

My family considers this goal with a significant weight and keeps pushing me towards achieving it. And with inspiration from serious riders such as Jim  and Diego, I’m starting this long journey towards the 75km mark, hoping that someday I’ll cross the 100km dream limit too.

Currently I stand at 65 (km) and in a not so good shape. So I understand the gravity of the situation and have only a mild idea about the level of effort I would need to make in order to reach there. So wish me luck. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and am trying to get back in shape.

Do you believe in the practice of making your goals known, and thereby binding yourself to them? Please share your thoughts.

How Having a Rival Helps You

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CYCLING STORIES

That was a near shave: An oversized man  just overtook me. No bells rang, no excuse-me shouts heard. He just rushed past me a few centimetres away. He didn’t even bother to keep the minimum logical distance while overtaking a moving object. I applied my brakes and kept my cool. What I couldn’t do was to ignore the brand of his bike and the peculiar way he moved while pedalling. One thing I noticed – he was riding an expensive bike, quite sophisticated than my little ride.

He was riding a Cannondale, though his basic understanding of traffic rules appeared to be practically nil. Well, that’s the typical Noida driver. While pedalling, he was moving in a peculiar way – banging his head to an imaginary wall on the side to which his leg was moving: Zig-zag-zig-zag or maybe bang-bang-bang-bang. Maybe it appears ridiculous, but I named him “Cannondancer”.

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Sometimes even grown up people behave like teenagers. Well, I’m no exception. After he was out of sight, I suddenly sprang into action. I don’t how it happened: My shoulders weren’t aching anymore. Suddenly there was this energy that strengthened my feet to boost up my speed. Though my rear wheel had a slightly lower than usual pressure, I wasn’t feeling any difficulty in raising my speed. I felt like flying through the wide road. After some time, I could spot the dancer on wheels far ahead of me at the end of the horizon.

I kept pedalling with a constant pace. Remembering my high school Physics lessons, I would call it ‘uniform acceleration”. I am catching up minute by minute. I can see his silhouette getting clearer and closer. Though my legs feel tired, I pedalled hard with determination. A few more minutes later, he reduced himself inside my rear-view mirror. For quite some time I didn’t realize that I got ahead, or how I could manage to do that. During the next few weeks our paths crossed again, giving me the
much awaited drive to move on. With pain on my knees and back, I kept trying really hard to catch up with him.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out there riding with my son Addu while the Cannondancer suddely overtook us. That was quite a scene for Addu who started pushing me.. “Come on dad, let’s take him.” I have to admit it, sometimes I am game for such stuff. And together we caught up with him. Well, then I had already received my birthday gift, and the new Little Ride actually reduced the pains on my back and knees.

In the following months I met the Cannondancer many times on the road, and he somehow got this idea that he can’t ride along with me. So he seems to have given up this particular route nowadays, giving me the opportunity to be among the longest distance cyclists in that particular route. Perhaps it isn’t so.. I just think.

Having a rival is sometimes a blessing. I would like to think so.
What is your opinion? Please let me know.
Image courtesy: http://ncwtv.com