I am a roadie. There, I’ve said it and it’s out there. Give me a road and any type of vehicle, that’s all I need to feel free and happy. So when I looked at my oversized, ugly reflection in the mirror and decided that I was going to get in shape (Stop! I know that round is a shape), I decided to get back on the cycle. The first step was, of course, to buy a cycle. I mean, c’mon, how can I lose weight without spending tons of money? When I made the announcement that I am taking up cycling, the wife gave me a sideways look. I am still trying to figure out whether she was skeptical about the whole idea or she was wondering how much money I was going to blow up in pursuit of yet another crazy adventure.
I was clear what I didn’t want – a postman’s cycle. So that out of the way, I began to look for cycles and I must confess I was thrown by the sheer variety of cycles out there. I began to yearn for the simpler days of my youth when all we had to do was choose between a Streetcat or a Mach One. Now you have mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, BMX and what not. I finally settled on a Lumala Hornet. It is a 21-gear, mountain bike with front suspensions.
With the bike in hand I began to hit the road. The first few days were predictably difficult. Muscles that had gone to sleep long ago were awakened and they did not get up willingly. I started with 5 km rides every morning and gradually pushed it up until I was doing between 20 and 25 km each day. Once I became comfortable with the activity of cycling, I began to do longer rides on Saturday and reduced my daily distance. At the moment, I am up to 50 km on Saturday and 10 km each day of the week.
I put on my headphone, play my favorite podcasts and head out on the road. Nothing beats the sensation of the wind whipping around your face as you ride down quiet roads. Fortunately, I live close to the Outer Ring Road (ORR) in Hyderabad. Riding along the service roads to the ORR keeps you away from the high speed traffic and once you cross the APPA junction exit, you have the road pretty much to yourself. Furthermore, the road consists of a series of climbs, some of which are quite steep. The road itself is quite good and apart from the odd speed-breaker it lets you maintain a good speed.
The scenery along the way is interesting, if you like rocks. The road winds through rocky terrain which have a beauty all of their own. If you like water, you get to ride along the Himmyat Sagar lake for a bit too. (Not that there is a lot of water there during the summer months though.)
All said, I have begun to look forward to Saturday mornings and “My Time”. It’s just me, my cycle, some podcasts and the road. When I return, the pressures of the past week are drained out and replaced with a feeling of exhilaration at having pushed my body to go further than I did last week.