Critical Mass Poster Invite

Bike/Pedestrian primary city ?

The Dutch have done it a long time ago - turned against the automobile for commutes inside and immediately around the city. There are a lot many more who're either bike-friendly already, or waking up to it.

A lot many of us consider the coming decades to be India's, and Bangalore's surely one of the "smarter" and more cosmopolitan, forward thinking cities here.

Can we do it ?

What its got going for it ?

  • A lot many people do live close to their workplaces - within 10-12kms
  • Bangalore does have slopes - but nothing major
  • Lovely weather most of the year - through the monsoon I got caught in the rain maybe thrice

What may it change ?

  • Make it tougher/more expensive to drive - actively discourage bigger vehicles
  • Might "split" the urban sprawl into smaller, more self contained centres. This will be a major help in managing them better as well. The various "towns" can be connected primarily using decent public transport which is again bike friendly.
  • Fewer traffic related deaths, lesser pollution, lesser need to chop trees, expand roads and the like - lesser money spent better on public transport, a few arterial roads etc.
To me, the Dutch model for growth/urbanization beats the American Suburban sprawl model hands down. Its the way forward for civilization - and while this might seem like a utopian dream, its feasibility has been proven already, and "but-we're-Indians" is the only myth that needs busting.

Some cyclists are trying to do that a little this Fri - first ever Critical Mass ride in Bangalore. The plan is to ride in a single line (i.e one cyclist behind the other) and draw attention to the fact there there are people who cycle on the roads and that other people using the road should know about us and provide us
equal opportunity to use the roads.

Just a simple peaceful ride!

Cycle in a single file
No breaking red lights
No cussing
No arguing with motorists
Just a quiet ride. And it'll be fun.

I'm hoping we turn the IC-engine tide and pedal into a better city in a decade or so. Mere hope ? Who knows. I was really hoping the government would NOT drop fuel prices....

Bike To Work Basics

Bike To Work Book Free Chapters

It talks about some common anxieties, issues and myths. Good read if you're still wondering. If we can get 5% of Bangalore officegoers on bikes, it'll have done a tremendous lot for the city, and the riders as well.

My first century ride. Plus Nandi Hills!

Had planned a 90ish kms Nandi Hills ride, and as it turned out, did the full tour-day-distance! 145kms - mostly thanks to the extremely motivating Vasu, and never-say-die-first-long-distancer-Joshine. Joshine and I were the TFN aspirants on the ride, while Vasu was the guy who looked like he could actually do it easily :)

The first-cut-plan was to take a ride with Rajat upto CCD before the airport turnoff - but he had to pullout because of some personal reasons. Vasu called on Fri night and said he'd join as well.

Got home at 1am, caught some sleep and was off at 6 - Joshine got there too and we talked to a few BMTC guys who refused to entertain bikes. Vasu had gotten home at 3 - and asked us to carry on towards Hebbal when I called him. We left Koramangala around 6:50am

There was some pain below my left knee as we started, and stayed for a while but disappeared by the time we crossed Hebbal - we were doing decent time and I even did a burst or two of pushing hard. It rained a bit en-route, and we stopped for water + a snack a little before the airport turn. Vasu caught up with us and we pushed along. Iggy and Rushi crossed us around Devanahalli - apprently after 3 ascents up Nandi Hills! Devanahalli to the turn towards NH is a persistent gradual climb and it took all my might to maintain 14kmph on that. Ant other short break.

Just before the turn at the end of the straight - saw a guy with a compressor, and given the huge rolling resistance i was sensing and attributing to crosswinds - decided to check on tyre pressure anyhow. Front:30 - Rear:35!!! Arrgghhhh. Filled them up to 55-60 (not a very sure gauge I guess) and the improvement was immediate!

Stopped at the Nandi Hills base for eats - bun + tea + biscuits + tea + chips + chikki + water - and did a lot many stretches - answered questions about the bike - and about 20 mins later Joshine and Vasu got there. Another tea.

Felt much better stuffed with all the sugar, salt, water and air in the tubes. Started the climb with a fair bit of anxiety. Vasu provided ample tips on gear selection, planned breaks and the like.

My focus - throughout the ride - was on maintaining cadence as long as I could - and thats what I was focusing on the ascent as well - did that peacefully (gears:1x2/3, 7-10kmph) for the first 3 kms - took a break - carried on for another 3 in similar fashion, then hit the hairpins. The first couple were a disaster - went to 1x1 and was looking for the next lower gear by the end of the slope after the bend :) Vasu suggested moving to the next higher gear on the front (2x2/3) and standing up - pushing hard just around the bend and settling down to the lower gears imdtly after - that helped and went all the way up - with some effort tho. Nandi was in the clouds, and their was a fair smattering of rain to keep things cool.

It must routine for a lot of you guys, but I went "woooooooo..." when I reached the top :)

The downhill - in heavier rain for part of it - was a 35-44kmph affair all the way with the v-brakes doing a fairly decent job! Vasu timed himself and was actually pedalling hard as well - 11.something minutes from the ticketed gate to the base!

Vasu suggested a smaller road to Doddaballapur turning right from the base - we took that - lovely, scenic, lesser traffic. Lunch at D-b-pur was egg+rice/chapati as you wished.

The limbs were beginning to tire a bit - we hit the century a few kms along on the road to yelahanka - and average speeds dropped quite a bit. Joshine was in bad shape but determined nevertheless, and Vasu's egging, and lighthearted banter to keep us distracted, made life easier :) We got to Yelahanka eventually, and from there the rush of city traffic enveloped us, and soon we were cutting/dicing through the urban commuter mess.

Got home at nearly 8:15 - more than 14 hrs after I'd started, 13+ hrs of the actual ride and 8:40 on the saddle! 145kms - unthinkable in the morning but achieved by the evening...felt real good. Especially including the Nandi ascent and rain-riding. And the legs/knees didn't feel half as bad as after my earlier two long distance rides. Slept like a log, though each turn was a sloow painful process.

Am feeling a lot more confident about the TFN stages I'm doing - at least the first day. Getting up in some sort of shape and doing the Ooty climb on day 2 is totally another cup of tea. Raring to go, nevertheless...

Realty : Its beginning to slide ?

Slowdown: DLF slashes rates for its maiden Bangalore project - Corporate News -

I'd kinda thought it would be in October, and sure, there were signs, but now it seems to have kicked in formally, with the biggest guys caving in as well!

Inspiration ?

My knee hurts a bit. Thank god i have a knee to hurt. Watch the video - it shut my knee up for some time at least. Awe inspiring stuff!

"Life is better than worrying about a leg, y'know...."

TFN Training Ride #2


Redwoods-ECity-Gottigere-Bannerghata NP-Jigani-Anekal-Chandapura Circle - Vakil Satellite Township - left to Huskur - Hosa Road - Sarjapura Road - Redwoods (about 77kms in all)

Started in the rain - left knee hurt by E-City already. Carried on with an eye of returning after meeting guys at Gottigere - carried on to the NP anyway - and then to Jigani.

Knee felt much worse between Jigani-Anekal and I dropped pace. A few stretches, slow riding and grimacing helped manage it.

Abhi and Ram took off to Pearl Valley while Jas and I went towards Hosur Road - walked a little in between, and felt better after some rest and tea/cake - rode much better after the Chandapura crossing and only after a bit of off-roading did I feel a huge stab in the knee, completely stopped, walked a little, and then the knee felt much better than it had all morning! The right knee - probably overloaded through the ride - ached a little by now - but an easy few kms saw me home.

Updated the log with takeaways etc.

Feel unsure about the TFN even now - but the last few kms felt better and gave me some hope.

Training Calendar

Suggestions for changes welcome.

Log/tips captured here.

Doc Rajat's Advice for TFN

Doc Rajat of Manipal Cure &Care helped out with some advice about training for the TFN. A lot of the audio below is unclear - have typed out a rough transcript below as well.

Doc-Doc Rajat

S:Should we start ?
S:...Just did 70km last sun - had done about max 40 before that
What happened was i felt some pain around the lower part of my knee
Its kind of disappeared over the last couple of days - I just kept riding
I'm just wondering what i did wrong and how one can recover from this.

Doc: As u said 40 is the longest you rode and thats really important because you doubled it right away.
Thats incorrect when you talk about endurance - running/cycling - what we recommend is 10% increases - because ur body needs to adapt - that was the big issue here.
Whatever you're complaining about - the layman bit - i think it is probably ITB - (?) - it happens suddenly - its like a sharp pain around there - each step that you take

S: It was happening only when i was cranking, or climbing stairs

Doc: Exactly - that usually happens amongst cyclists/runners - why it happens is as u increase ur inc ir mileage too much too soon - ur musculature is not right - maybe muscular imbalance problem - the stretching is not there - in cycling its not an issue but for runners the shoes may be wrong - it may seem all fine over short distances - it takes the strain - but its the distance that you do at one go - should not be more than 10% - mileage growth in a week, again, should not be more than 10%
Having said that, whatever your distance target is for the race - I would say do not test it right away - build it up over 2/3 weeks - basically the issue we have is you have around 5 weeks - and you need to taper off as well - its not like till the 5th week you have to stretch it - you have to go up and come down - so don't do too much - even you've done 70% of the distance you're fine

More than the distance its how much time you spend onthe bike.

S:And abt nutrition - have read we're supposed to eat 300 cal/hr

Doc: Professional Sports ppl more than amateurs - they're always looking for power gel, power bars - most of us are comfortable with natural - our normal diet so thats something you should try out beforehand so you get used to it - its something you've never taken - so while on the ride don't take it for the first time - it reacts.

But the bars are good - the way they're designed is they give you an immediate kick of carbohydrate or sugar...

S:Are there any indigenous foods so you don't have to carry everything, food store locally

Doc:They're great - this is not medical but as a runner - but don't bank on local stores etc - always have it in ur car or whatever vehicles supporting you - in the whole run dont depend on local availability - its better to cater to urself - not necessarily on you - but ...

S:In terms of salt intake - how do you really manage - is food enough ?

Doc:yes and no -

so if you're not cycling very quick - and have been cycling for a long time - its ok. More than plain water - i'd suggest having solvent sugar in it - much better than plain - try to have water with glucose it it - normal glucon-D - don't have too much plain water - too many people wait till they're very thirsty - and drink 1/2 or 1 litre at one shot.


In sports its very rare for people to have dehydration - its more common to have over-hydration.


rough guidelines:
About 250ml everyhour
Drink regularly - small sips

The last part is about what issues to look out for when starting to train for something like this after relative inactivity. Essentially some free consultation :)

TFN - Route details

Here are the stages I've committed to - 145 kms from Madikeri-Sultan Battery, with most of the climb at the end - the dark unknown zone so far as my riding abilities are concerned :)

Day 2 of my ride is shorter, but a major ascent -

Day 3, optional - is "in Ooty" itself - either a rest day or a ride to Dodda Betta, which I think is about 15 odd kms one way, though a major climb.

Right now it all looks impossible :) If I do not hit 120kms soon.......

Tour of Nilgiris Signup!

Did something my logical part had shot down after lots of deliberation - registered for days 3,4,5 of this - flyer below:

Will be posting training log updates here - starting with todays 68.8 km ride to Chikka Tirupati and back which has made me realize a lot of things I need to overcome before I consider myself capable of doing the 3 days I plan to.