29 Mar 2013


It all started a couple of years ago when I started to feel cooped up and stifled due to always having to be indoors in the three years of urban living, Be it home, work or leisure, none seemed to facilitate being outdoors, at least not in the way I defined it. I had tried going for walks, but the experience of going round and round on narrow walkers' paths in neighboring gardens felt too much like being a laboratory rat in a maze experiment. The gymn as an option was effectively excluded since the operative word was "outdoors". There was swimming, but  it was only for about four months and that too in chock-a-block full swimming pools in surreal shapes of kidneys and sun signs!

I think it was around my birthday that year when I started toying with the idea of cycling. It had been my favorite childhood sport and seemed simple enough to take up again, The decisive moment came at a friend's dinner where I met a couple, Anju and Yogen. who are passionate cycling enthusiasts. It was inspirational talking to Anju, as she encouraged me to go for it and motivated me by saying that if she could do it, then so could I. That was like a shot in the arm  and gave me fresh impetus to put my deliberations into action. I reckoned that all I needed was to: 1.Buy myself a decent cycle; 2.Find open area to cycle around, 3.Find some company to cycle with.So, I started out with Step 1 which took me to the local bike shop, but the mind boggling variety of bikes and price tags had my head spinning. Whoa! when had this happened? The last bike that I had, had been a snazzy green BSA that had sported  nifty brake cables. Ok, so this was going to need extensive research I realised. I decided to move on to Step 2 - where would I ride? The traffic on the roads was a killer even when I was inside the relatively safe confines of my car...being on a bike seemed to be virtual harakiri! That sobering thought made me pop the question to the bike shop assistant, where did the people who bought these cycles ride? Voila came Step 3 as he gave me the contact details of a local cycling group.
Cheers to Re-biking!

The same evening.  I called the cycling group's admin, Anuj, who patiently addressed all my queries and concerns. He told me to come for a beginners ride where a guest bike would be provided to me. 10 days later I turned up for the ride, feeling apprehensive like hell about being able to manage much after a hiatus of 15 years. And one look at the pro cyclist appearance of the others did nothing to inspire my confidence. There they were, Lycra-ed  helmeted and gloved with a 'I'm-going-to-burn-the-road-today' look, while I stood with a very 'what-the-hell-am-I-thinking' look! At that moment, all I wanted was to just disappear and I guess they sensed it because they rallied around to reassure me that  I'd be fine and that they'd be watching over me.

To cut the 17 long km story short, I managed to reach the finish point on my first ride. The legs felt a little unsteady and the posterior somewhat numb as I got off the saddle, but I felt absolutely great!  The follow up ride came three days later, which proved to be the defining point. In hindsight, I can't thank my mentors, Anuj and Arun, enough for rooking me into believing that it was going to be an easy pace ride instead of the bone-shaker, teeth-rattler, bum-breaker 30 km off roader! The confidence that came from this ride is what set me off on my cyclist avatar and motivated me to invest in a bike. The how-to-buy-your-first-bike is a topic for another day, for now, I'll just say that I bought my first MTB, and there's been no looking back ever since.

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