Lovin' it ?

After a long time we mustered up the courage to venture out on a Saturday evening - albeit to the close-by Total Mall in Madivala. Following Akshat's keyboard performance at school, the kids had been promised a much awaited trip to the Golden Arches, and their excitement itself was reason enough to brave traffic, the rain and the crowds.

Surprisingly, it was a nice experience at McD's for a change. Not the food - there are better burgers all over town - and the Fish Fillet I tried was the suckiest fish I've had (tho I'm no connoiseur when it comes to any form of meat), but the overall experience was definitely good. For one, the kids totally loved it and there were no bored-kids-to-be-distracted fires to be put out :) Also, the staff is trained to be kid friendly, and I even sent Akshat to get stuff, and both of them seemed at ease. Of course, the "window" seat, the India-Bangladesh match on the TV right in front, and the gentle rain outside helped the mood overall.

I'd never imagined I'd be caught saying this - but I came close to kinda lovin it.

How expensive is that bike again ?

Oh well, this should answer questions about "why so expensive" once and for all :) My poor entry-level Merida is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction (about 0.00038 times) of this!

100kms Up!

Crossed the 3 digit mark on the way to work today on the bike! Haven't missed a single day of commute-on-the-bike since I started 6 days ago. Had a chain slip today - and it got caught between the front cog and the cover - and wouldn't budge. An auto guy smilingly obliged when I asked for a screwdriver, and that was fixed in a jiffy.

Yesterday was great too -

Cut pasting from an email thread:

Yesterday got "mobbed" by 3 traffic cops at Sony World while I waited for traffic to pause :)

what is this - battery ? no, lights
geared ? yes, 24
Cost ? 15k [ ok i lied, tried to lessen shock, to no avail ]
15k ???? 1-5-0-0 ? No, 1-5-0-0-0
why? Sir you can easily go up Nandi Hills on this.
Alone ? No carrier/lover-geever along ? (smile) no sir, alone. Married, two kids, saar.
(Vigorous head-shake) ? Exercise, saar, and no pollution
Good good! (way clear) ok sir, have to go now....

:) I think I'll meet all the people I've never met on my commute

In fact the commute's been full of interesting episodes - for other people as well. Here's a link to a thread where people are posting their road experiences.

More Less-Fumes, in Chennai now

Techies on bicycles Quintegra chants green mantra - CIOL Feature

This is pretty cool - either I'm getting to know more and more of this, or its just spreading faster. (Especially in Chennai's humidity - its very commendable!) Hope its the latter, and at least in the urban context we take off at least a few thousand cars of the road over the next year or so.

Baby's Day Out

Took Akshat out on his bike on Haralur Road while I rode "guard" alongside to shield him from the traffic and vice-versa. We did the 2-km "round trip" twice - and this included a slope (both up and down), a road crossing, a u-turn and light to moderate traffic crossing us, with a few pedestrians thrown in for good measure. He totally loved it, and so did I (top speed 8 kmph, lowest about 4). Realized how tough riding on the bike he has is, and have decided to get him a better/larger one.

All our wheels

Added pics for all the wheels we have at home here. Overall, the bias towards less fuel consuming modes is evident, and hopefully, we'll be able to add more cycles and less cars on the roads.

First ride to work

Had Cramsters to carry for a fellow (motor)biker - so asked Nikhil to swing by in an auto and carry them for me. Handed them over near Springfields and left along with the auto.

The butt felt a little sore from last evening's ride - though surprisingly that was the only noticeable after-effect. In a few minutes that eased up - and the gears slotted relatively easily - though shifting the front gears will take me some more practice. Soon was climbing the only (gentle) ascent of my entire commute - from the ORR intersection towards Iblur Camp - at a fairly easy pace since I did not want to push myself too hard all of a sudden. From thereon it was gentle easy riding, took the first right after the lake and stayed as much as possible on the back-roads. Getting past the Sony World lights was a breeze, cause the pavement was suddenly legitimate territory, and drop-offs not a problem :D

As I got to office, Nikhil was just walking up the stairs - so I managed the same time as an auto, at least. And as the legs get more used to this, I should manage an average speed of more than the 18.3kmph that I did today.


The ride back was a bit more strenuous - my limbs were beginning to speak to me a bit, plus right from Sony World all the way home is a gentle upslope except a short patch or two. I was probably also a little tired after a long day at work. But the after effects wore off in 10 mins and a glass of water, so the optimism is alive!

Is my carbon-credit meter ticking on nicely or what :)

Black, White, Wheels!

Got it! The Merida SUB 40-V in Black and White, with a touch of Red!

Rode 15+kms to home. Got the first flat within 5 kms - a sharp nail being the culprit.

Venkatesh was there to help right away - he and Prashant - another rider - fixed the flat in moments. Gotta learn this stuff. Prashant rode back upto BTM - did a lot of pavement riding too.
I will take a couple of days to "slot" into traffic. Gotta get a good helmet, too.

Feeling good - a little surprised how easy the first 15 felt. Am looking forward to both the commute and some serious riding. More pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/get.sameer/Merida

Edit: And I must mention this - what got me started on this journey was BOTS - and Rohan and Nikhil's infectious enthusiasm and help with the entire process.

Born Again Biker ?

Have been deliberating for some time now - and with a heart of steel, have decided to go ahead and get the Merida Matts Sub 40-V 18" :)

Lets see where this goes. If it does go well, I'll save fuel, be healthier and would have done that little extra for the planet. Its also a slower-than-(motor)bikes mode of transport, so I should get to see more.

Next Question: where does one park these things. Home ? Office ?

Oh, and the extra vocabulary I picked up in all of this:

Hardtail : no suspension at the rear
Lockout : Switch to a "no-suspension" mode for serious climbs etc

apart from the usual dérailleurs, new frame fundaes, etc.

Cheap Plastic, eh?

Reusable Bags - The Real Cost of "Free"

Shouldn't everything packaged, especially in plastic, have a carbon-credits cost added to it ? Similarly, shouldn't stuff transported over a long distance have a larger carbon credit tax added as compared to stuff brought in locally ? Should not it be worth it to NOT chop down Amazon forests for crop grown for producing bio-fuels?

Oh I nearly forgot! We're the generation who merrily borrows from our future. We're the ones who're "tactical" - and have ensured "better lifestyles" at the cost of risking life itself as we know it. We're the civilization which competes amongst us for "growth" - whether we need that growth or not. The endless debates on the definitions of various needs is pointer enough. We're a bunch of short-sighted morons, nothing less.

Sorry - feeling a little grumpy, cynical and pessimistic about our planet and us. Actually I take that back. The planet will probably survive.

Reva (H)2.O ?

Thats a Reva shell - if Maini has any connection with this - its good news for emissions in Bangalore, but perhaps not-so-good news for water ?

Bengaluru Railway Station Revisited

Had gone to SBC after a long time yesterday to see parents off. They were carrying 140kgs of luggage - moving cities after retirement - so we thought it best to book the extra luggage.

Here's a quick recap of/facts from the experience:

  • The allowance on a IInd A/C fare is 50kgs per head for free, though you can carry upto 100kgs inside the compartment itself.
  • The luggage booking office is on platform #1 - close to where the subway stairs are.
  • You get trolleys and porters to ferry it for you - we parked near PF8 and paid about 400/- to PF1 and back.
  • Wanted to book stuff in the break van, but they insisted we should've "come in advance" for that. We did not get to figure out what timeframe that implied.
  • It was about 10/- per kg for excess luggage over 100kgs
  • Since the idea was to avoid inconveniencing other passengers, we "requested" the attendant on the Rajdhani to manage some of the luggage in the space where they store blankets etc. 200/- :)
Also came back with some positives about the Railway Station:
  • There's now a passenger/freight elevator leading to the subway - and its made life very convenient. Carting the trolley to PF1 took barely 10 mins.
  • The Rajdhani looks pretty funky now with Airtel having redone most of it. Here's a pic:
  • The platform ticket through SMS still works - very cool
  • Platforms are pretty clean, mostly

There's a temple on the platform at SBC!! Never noticed it in all these years. [ Courtesy M S Gopal ]

ICICI makes a statement

1 06/06/2008 GREENODH THIGH DR INR zzzzzz.00

This if from an ICICI Bank statement for the fee cheque paid to the kids' school - Greenwood High :)I dunno if someone speaks the details out to someone else, or whether its OCR based, or speech to text, but it surely does not work!


deep_thought: Chota sa break

I have similar feelings about the anytime-you-need-just-ask bakery at the new Total near home. I mean there's some niceness about putting in effort/thought/planning into gifts, flowers etc. Or are we so focused, as a people, on getting it absolutely right and making it worth it that we've started ignoring the reasons and thoughts behind some of these actions ?

BIAL Vayu Vajras Info


Routes, timings, fares. Am very impressed with the whole effort!

Nursery A

Alankrita started school yesterday - and went all by herself by bus. The first hour was anxious, expectedly, especially for her. But then (reportedly) she settled down well and "played in the sandpit" and danced to rhymes and painted, and had "cherry bread" and a banana (?)

She did seem rather proud of boarding the much awaited yellow bus this morning, so I guess one can believe most of the above :)

[ This also means rushed mornings, and a little more free time post 7:40am ]

Relive Adrian Sutil's Worst moments


Gotta be one of his worst moments, while its merely a racing incident in the life of motorsport, and Ferrari.