Cycle to work was a long-cherished dream popping time and again to see the sky. In February 2017, I got my childhood crush back in my life. Purchased a used cycle from OLX and rode 30km the first day after 12 years. It was a pleasure for my thighs: D
I parked my cycle near Andheri railway station inside a closed pay and park. Got the monthly parking charges negotiated Rs.550. My office is opposite Infiniti mall on New Link road.
So the route was going to be Andheri station to Infiniti Mall.
Total distance of one way was not more than 5 Km max.
First Day of Cycle to Office
On the day one, I got the cycle repaired a bit. Height of the seat was low and it was painful for my knees. It took me a week to find 15-inch seat rod. Rest of the thing was just okay.
First week was tiring. I was not used to too much Stop and Go. Traffic and metro construction has practically made half the road unusable.
When I look back at the early days I share a laugh at myself. 10 Km is no short of a serious ride but I used to gasp for breath 🙂
I didn’t wanted to be a layback rider. From the day one, I kept my pace quick. Unlike the motorcycle, without hesitation, I cut through traffic and cycle on footpaths when roads were jammed.
Still, it took 20 minutes one way. Going back home was comparatively easy than coming. The only pain point was Andheri market. It is jammed like anything.
Please sit back and enjoy a video capturing my Cycle to work
My knee starts paining after a month of Cycling
Some 4 – 5 weeks later my knees started paining. I knew it was the stress of cycling behind the pain.
A point came when the pain was literally hard. I had to see an Orthopaedic who asked me to give rest to my legs. For a week I stopped cycling to office.
My muscles were not used to the stop, race, stop, race on the road. The pain never came back after the weak muscles wore out and new tough muscles took their place.
You may too face this problem. This is natural and eventually goes away making our knees stronger.
Sold the second-hand Cycle and got a brand-new Hercules Top Gear
After 2 months I realized that my second-hand bicycle is asking for too many.
I sold the earlier one on OLX and bought Hercules Top Gear from Andheri in Rs. 8500
It is a 7 x 3 gear cycle with full suspension.
I had to replace the under-seat rod to fit my height. You can read my post on how we can determine the optimum height of the Cycle seat.
Hercules Top gear was very convenient to race and stop. I literally enjoyed the suspension and braking in the traffic.
Got Cycling Gloves and Arm inners
To tackle the heat and sweat in the month of April and May, I used to dress up in cotton or nylon T-shirt and carry another Shirt for office use in my bag.
Cycle handle grips are tough than motorcycles. My palms started having thick dead skins here and there.
The only solution was to get nice quality Cycling gloves. I was skeptical of its quality but it came out be good. Its been one year and it has fared well I even use it on motorcycle rides.
I installed an electronic Cycle horn too. It had turn signals, stop signals and loud horn, enough to get the road blockers aside. Though the plastics used were cheap but it lasted longer.
Moving to the next section of this post where I will try to share my experiences of being a fellow of Cycle to Work.
How does a Cyclist feel riding in the traffic?
Cycling will make you learn Patience.
I have deep respect for all those people who cycle in traffic either to meet their daily needs or ride for their love for cycling.
Frankly speaking, it’s not easy to cycle in traffic. Especially cycling in areas where people have zero or little concern for discipline and traffic laws.
I had a couple of falls on the road. Once I was dragged by a motorcyclist for 20 meters.
Listened so many gaalis and shouting of the rickshaw and four-wheelers. Sometimes due to their mistake and sometimes I was aggressive.
To list them out, here are my key takeaways from the road
I was riding fast on a straight road and suddenly a car came out of from the parking. The driver never looked at me, his eyes went behind me looking for something bigger.
So, the conclusion is a cyclist is invisible for cars taking turns.
A biker came behind me and started honking. I saw him with a weird expression and shook my hand questioning where does he want to go.
He was like, he doesn’t know but just want to get ahead of me 😀
Pedestrians think they are faster than Cycles. At traffic signals, it’s a hardcoded exception that people will cross in front of the Cycles and all we have to do is tilt the handlebar make way for them 😛
During night make yourself as visible as you can. I put 3M reflective stickers on my bag. Two rectangles cut red stickers on the backside and one on the shoulder strap.
Use good quality arm inners to protect forearms from sun and sudden falls. Mind you, the hand colour changes very quickly in both the cases 😀
Here is how I spent and saved by Cycling to Office
Purchase and maintenance of second-hand Cycle- Rs. 3000. Sold back in Rs. 2200
Purchase and maintenance of Hercules Top Gear – Rs. 9000
Monthly parking charges – 550 * 9 Months (Excluded rainy months) = Rs. 4950
Gloves, Inners, Horns – Rs. 2500
Transportation cost saved – 60 * ~200 days = ~Rs. 12,000.
When I look back at the stats I cycled for more than 1800 km.
I am happy and content that I accepted and completed the self-challenge of Cycling to work for a year.
Traffic and heat have made cycling in mid-afternoon a difficult task. I have stopped bringing my Cycle to Office but I shall continue as and when I get an opportunity and good roads.