Sunday Cycling Update

Today’s cycling route, 15 km:
* Agricultural College to Loyola High School Gate.
* Loyola High School Gate to Parihar Chowk via Baner Rd.
* Parihar Chowk to Symbiosis College.
* Symbiosis College to Agricultural College via FC Rd.

Total distance covered = 15 km at a relaxed 1 hour.

The original plan was to get to Venture Centre and then head back to Shivajinagar via Symbiosis hill. However, at Loyola High, traffic was held up for a marathon of school children. I switched routes to go through Abhimanshree instead.

A 3 km long designated cycling track has been laid out from Bremen Chowk to University Circle. It’s cost the city of Pune over INR 2CR to make this possible. It’s a work in progress as the bollards were placed too close together and are being relaid. This is an exciting step and perhaps next weekend the track will be fit to use.

#PuneCycling is alive and kicking. A number of cyclists were out this Sunday morning from Bremen Chowk to Symbiosis. It’s fun, physically demanding and will get to be a lot safer with designated tracks.

Symbiosis Hill

Sunday morning. The traffic’s eased up, a clear day, the weather is between 17°C – 20°C. Today’s route was longer and a fun 38 minutes. Starting from Shimla Office up the length of Ganeshkhind / University Road, left onto Senapati Bapat Road and then to FC Road through the connecting BMCC Road.

The route has both uphill and downhill stretches. The uphill was steep enough to have to use the lower gears all the way down to the large (1). The gears on the bike continue to be a learning opportunity. When switching down to large (1), I have to anticipate and switch the smaller gears up first or the pedals will spin with effort and low traction.

There were several other groups out today. Persistent Systems were out for their annual marathon, Ananda Foundation had a walkathon and there were a few other riders whose route overlapped mine for some distance.

It was a treat to see riders take on the uphill on mountain bikes and slim road bikes. The incline up Symbiosis College was hard and my legs screamed as I watched the other riders made it look effortless. I managed the climb up and the downhill from there was crazy fast and exhilarating.

The length of FC Road continues to be under construction and I think it’s shaping up well. The pavements are being rebuilt to allow for 2-wheeler parking and ample walking area for pedestrians. That’s our cities version of ‘smart’ pavements.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, bike riding has helped give a different colour to everything that’s around me. When city riding wears off, I’ll look forward to bike rides out in the areas around town.

I want to Ride my Bicycle

I’ve been bicycling to work. I’m getting better at it gradually. Commuting on a bicycle maybe slower than a quick 2-wheeler ride, but has other benefits. It’s helping me avoid driving to work. I also get a short workout twice a day. It’s a different way to experience the ride home, the shops, the route and promises a lot more freedom than walking to work.

Coping with the traffic on a bicycle is getting easier with experience. At the stop lights, the entire width of the road fills up faster than you would expect. Almost always, it’s faster to walk your cycle across the crossroad than it is to wait and get through with the normal traffic.

The downside is the deep potholes I have to watch out for that. I think they can easily bend the wheel rims if hit when riding quick enough. At night, these are harder to see so I’ve memorised the route. Having high visibility clothing is also a great idea.

The bike I’m using is a Schnell Sierra which I think is made in Pune. It’s quick, lightweight and comes with a 24-speed configuration. I’m still getting used to changing up and down. On a bicycle, gear-changing is about anticipating when you’ll need to change up or down. I’ll also need to figure out which gears to avoid riding on to lower the wear and tear on the chain.

The plan for now it going all the way upto 15 March. That’s when I expect it’ll get too hot to keep going.

2019 is here, wish you dear reader a Happy New Year!