Cycling and More!

Two of my friends, Harsha and Vicky (the same blokes who helped me come back from Dwaraka) are on a journey of a different kind : Cycling and More. They are starting off by organizing a two day bicycle ride from Sakleshpur to Madikeri, mostly riding in Coorg.

From what I have observed in Bengaluru, cycling has quickly grown in popularity among the well-paid professionals(many readers of this blog would come under that category), especially over the last couple of years. Trekking as an activity got popular much earlier than that. Most treks I know of happen on weekends. Quite convenient for weekend-happy software engineers and even engineering students! Weekend cycling, I feel, is set to go the same way too. Indeed, some may argue that it has already gone that way.

In the trekking tribe, two categories emerged: some ventured out on their own(or with help from friends), and the rest were happy going out on organized trips. The thing with venturing out on your own is : it isn't easy if you haven't done it before. So many things to consider: where to start, where to end, what route to take, equipment needed, where and how to camp/stay/cook food in the forest, and transport to and fro. In most minds, the important question perhaps are, "is it safe ? what if something goes wrong ?"

Now, apply the same thing to cycling. Cyclists have more logistics issues, not less. Transporting cycles to and fro without damage is perhaps the biggest concern; who wants their expensive bikes damaged ? Finding a suitable route also needs much work; if you are looking for interior roads, then nothing less than local knowledge will do. Finding a suitable place to halt needs planning. Most people don't want to ride in the dark. Due to the very nature of cycling, a 10-15 km mistake is estimation of distances can mean that you'll end up riding in the dark. Overnight safety of cycles is also important.

To most people, it just makes sense to have someone else take care of all these concerns. The Tour of Nilgiris is a good example of such a ride. However, not everybody has 8 days to spend, not to mention the capacity to ride 900 kilometers. Many would want to experience cycling to figure out if it is even their cup of tea!

A couple of years ago, when I had time, I had initiated two such rides: one of them we called the Tour of Coorg, and another, Mountain to Sea. Participation was open to all, we used forums like BikesZone Cycling and the "Go Cycling Bangalore" community in Orkut to spread the word. All expenses were shared. I think about 7-8 of us rode these. It was fun, we made new friends, and we did learn a lot! Others did similar things too, and have been doing them on an ad-hoc basis.

Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any such options available currently (if you know, then let me know). So, if you are interested to ride on a weekend, don't want to worry about the logistics, and just want to experience what cycling is all about, then what are your choices ? Cycling and More seeks to fulfill this need. The organizers are my friends and I wish them good luck! The cycling community is still relatively small, so all initiatives are of course very welcome.

If you are interested in weekend rides, do follow the link. Who knows, you may pick up a passion for a lifetime...

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  1. Shree, man, this is really fantastic. My cycle is gathering rust for months now. I need to call you up one of these days and take some maintenance trips.
    I wouldn’t be able to go for this Nov trip but will definitely keep an eye on the website. Thanks for sharing

  2. Guru: Sure man, expect I don’t have a cycle just now 🙂 Need to buy one before I start putting up a lot of weight!

  3. Hi Sree,

    very long time since we ever met. THis is a lovely concept, Count me in. Thanks to your encouragement, i am a daily commuter to office. Started a cycling club for the company and it is strong one now with 160+ interested members and 40 Active members.

    We still have a long way to go convincing other the wonderful thing called cycling.

  4. @Pyli: Long time no see, man! ( Did we last meet near Benniganahalli a year back ? 🙂 ) And very good to know about your cycling club; 40 active members is quite impressive!

    Please refer all interested people to the “Cycling and More” website. They already have many registrations, but a few more will be welcome I guess. Seeing the large number of registrations, I wouldn’t be surprised if they announced another ride 🙂

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