Sunday, December 27, 2009

The merida 2010 bikes

We received the first set of merida 2010 bikes this saturday evening - the merida 10V, 20V, 40V and crossway 20V. The bikes look stunning, and based on the first look, the specs seems to be upgraded quite a bit. On the MTB front, prominent were the the fork, the tyres and the brakes. Gone are the Suntour forks which have now been replaced by the RST forks. The brakes are now Avids instead of promax, and the tyres Merida instead of CST. What has gone down though was the shifter for Matts 40V, from acera rapidfire to EF50.
The crossway 20V combines looks with a pair of kenda 700c tyres, a reasonably light weight frame and lockable front suspension, and might be the kind of bike you are looking for your daily city rides.
A bit unfortunate, but not exactly unexpected are the prices - yes you guessed it right, they have gone up(refer below). Meanwhile, some pics ( Thanks to Malik for lending out his camera and helping me frame the pics, and to Karthik for his patience).

Details of the Merida 2010 adult bikes available in India at the moment are :

Merida Matts 10V (Rs 18.5k) :
Merida Juliet 10V Rs 18.5k) :
Merida Matts 20V ( Rs 22k) :
Merida Matts 40V (Rs 23.5k) :
Merida Matts 40MD (Rs 27.5k) :

Notable absentees from last year's models are merida 5V and 20MD.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On a World Tour

The other day we had an interesting visitor at the store. Ed Hurst is a tall and cheerful 29 year old New Zealander, a civil engineer by profession. He is like most of us, except that he is on a world tour on his bicycle.
Ed used to be backpacker, and had backpacked across various countries, but realised he wanted to see the planet in a manner that would let him appreciate the journey rather than just visiting a few spots. By July 2009 he had quit his job and had flown down to Bangkok with his bike, where he started his world tour.
1. Ed rode across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and then flew down to Kolkata from where he stared his India chapter. He loves and misses the Cambodian food.
2. Ed has been in India for the last 3 months, and appreciates the diverse culture. Loves to meet and chat with locals, but finds the food a little too spicy.
3. He had ridden trough the alleyways of Kolkata, jungles of Kanha and Panna, the ghats of Varanasi and the orange orchards of Nagpur. He stopped over Hyderabad for 3-4 days, visited Golconda and came down to The Bike Affair store to pick up some accessories and spares. His tentative next destination is Hampi.
4. He likes to keep things simple. Doesn't use a GPS. Likes to ask people to check if he is on the correct route. He has also picked up a few Hindi words, but complains locals don't understand his Hindi.
5. He plans to ride to Chennai, Pondicherry, Kanyakumari, and then come up through the Western Ghats to Goa to Gujarat, and to the Himalayas. He keeps it flexible after that and would like to either take Pakistan- Afghanistan-Iran- East Europe route or Nepal-Tibet-China-East Europe.
6. Ed rides a Marin MTB sort of model (don’t remember the exact model name...might also be a custom made) bike loaded with tubus racks and ortileb pannier. He carries a tent weighing 2 kilos.
7. Doesn't cook. Tries to find a budget hotel for the night, and if he doesn't manage, puts up his tent where he spends his night. Always keeps some bread and Jam in his pannier for such occasions.
8. Not fussy about food and eats whatever he can find on the way.
9. Says that once he got used to his brookes saddle, its like sitting on a sofa.
10. He wants to cycle tour for 2 years, but again keeps it flexible and says he might stop if he gets bored.

The Bike Affair wishes him a sound and fun filled tour.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some useful accessories

Often in TBA, somebody buying his or her first bike would ask advices and suggestions on the essential accessories. So here’s a brief list that we thought could be helpful for people who are just about getting into cycling.

Most essential - and is better to get them along with the bike itself

1. Helmet: Will save your head and life in case of a crash. Look for a branded one as they go through different kind of stress tests.
2. Gloves: Will cushion your palms on bad roads, enhance grip on handlebar, and will save your palms if you crash.
3. Lock: Essential if you are going to park your bike in a common place like at your work place, gym or at the common parking of your building
4. Side Stand: Not quite super essential, but makes life so much easier when you have to park your bike in a public place. Most bikes we stock, apart from Merida, come without side stands.
5. Tail light: Very essential if you riding at night, especially on stretch that are not well lit. Will help car drivers notice you from distance. Important to get a good tail light that’s visible from far (50-100m at the least).
6. Head lights: Required if you riding on an unlit road after dark. They also act as safety light by making you visible to cars and mo-bikes coming from the opposite direction.
7. Bottle cage: Will hold a water bottle that will keep you hydrated. Generally most 1 litre pet bottles will fit in.
8. Spare tube: Especially if you are planning to join one of the group rides. In case of a puncture, it will save time for the entire bunch, as you can just swap the tube rather than fix patches.

You might as well get these - Will save you lot of trouble.

1. Portable pump: Essential when you have a flat middle of nowhere and want to replace yr tube/fix the puncture. In a group ride, you may have somebody carrying one, but not always. Will save you the trouble of looking out for an auto rickshaw and paying him some absurd amount to give your bike a ride.
2. Puncture kit: Essential when you are going on a ride to the countryside, where you may not be able to find a repair shop easily. Considering it is difficult carrying more than 1 spare tube (but you may end up puncturing both the tubes), it is essential to carry a puncture kit (tyre lever, glue and patches). Again, you might just be able to find somebody carrying one when you are on a group ride.
3. Allen key set or mini tool: Will need this at every step. Almost anything you want to tweak on your bike will require Allen keys.
4. Floor pump with gauge: It is important to check and inflate tyres to the correct tyre pressure every time you go for a ride. Riding on tires that are not fully inflated will lead to extra wear on both the tires and the rims. Do refer the ratings mentioned at the sidewall of the tyres while filling up the air.
5. Cycling shorts with padding (chamois): Very helpful for long ride. Prevents chafing and skin irritation.
6. Anti Pollution mask: Very useful if you ride through traffic and pollution. It’s much different from riding a motorbike in traffic because when you riding a bike, you tend to breathe harder. Get a one which is specifically designed for bicyclists.

Optional – Makes life so much easier, and cycling much more fun.

1. Cycle computer: Will show your speed, distance covered, max speed, average speed etc. Also helps when you are training. The display acts as a charm and will motivate you to keep going.
2. Dry fit cycling jerseys: Will help you from getting soaked up in sweat. Will also have pockets at the back to hold your valuables and snacks.
3. Water bottle: Will keep you hydrated on a ride
4. Saddle bag: To hold your valuables (like spare tube, Allen keys, puncture kit etc). Sits beneath the saddle
5. Mudguards: Is helpful in rain , especially if you are using your bike to commute.
6. Trouser clips: Very useful if you ride to work in office clothing. Will prevent your trouser bottoms getting caught in the chain ring. They generally also come with a reflective strip.
7. Hydration bag: Will keep you hydrated, without needing you to take your hands off your bike. Useful on a longer trip or while training too where you do not want to stop often to fill up your bottle
8. Rear rack: Essential on a multiday bike tour, relieves you from carrying a heavy backpack. Useful for people commuting on bike too.
9. Pannier: Useful for cycle touring. Helps divide the load in a symmetrical fashion.
10. Car racks: Fits on to the top or back of your car like an attachment. Can carry 2 or more bikes. Useful if you want to transport your bike, or drive down to a nice trail to ride.

Monday, December 14, 2009

If you need a reason to bike

This is for all 'would be cyclists' who haven't yet been able to convince themselves to start riding. So here goes a list of positives that you might be able to benifit yourself with once you take up cycling.

1. Good for heart and health: Cycling is not only good for your body but for your heart as well. Risk of high cholesterol, High blood pressure, diabetes and obesity is also reduced.
2. A fun way to lose weight: Sure, you can get rid of that tummy you always wanted to. And what can be a better way to do so than joining the HBC guys on a weekend rides? You meet like minded environment conscious fellows, get to see the green and beautiful countryside, and lose some pounds, all at the same time. Check out to know what’s happening on HBC.
3. Low stress exercise: Cycling is a low stress exercise compared to many other sports, which means there is very less chance for you to pick up any serious injury while you ride a bike. This makes it a good exercise at for people at any age group
4. Stress buster: Cycling, just like other forms of exercise, is known to release endorphin which is known to cause pleasure in you and thus wash away the bad mood. It is because of this that one feel relaxed and refreshed even after a long ride.
5. Good for your lungs and eyes: While cycling outdoors, you burn calories, like any other aerobic exercise. But the bonus is you get to breath in fresh oxygen and see your green country side and explore your town as you do so ( provided you start the ride early in the morning). If you haven't tried it already, join us in one of the Hyderabad Bicycling club rides.
6. An inexpensive commute solution: Riding a bicycle to work can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but can provide you with much need exercise in your otherwise busy schedule. Besides, most of the time, when the traffic is busy, a bike commute is as fast a car.
7. Gives you time to appreciate simple things in life: Bicycle helps you appreciate the subtle things of nature and see it from a different angle. While on a motorised vehicle, a lake is just a water body that we drive past, on a bicycle, it’s a place where you can hear the water ripples breaking the sound of silence, its a place that fills up your lungs with fresh oxygen, a place where you can watch the colourful kingfisher dive for his prey as you inhale the earthy smell of the soil after last nights’ rain.
8. Towards a greener planet: Together we will help reduces the demand for new roads and might just be able to stop paving the earth with asphalt and concrete.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cannondales and Schwinns in TBA

In line with our promise of multiple international brands under the same roof , we now have the Cannondale’s and Schwinns with us, along with Merida and Btwin bikes. In fact, we have been stocking Cannondales for the past few weeks (and as usual I couldn't manage updating the blog), but have received our first stock of Schwinn less than a week back.

Well, Cannondale is one of the premium international brands and are already in India for the more than 6 months. In fact, quite a few of our cyclist friends have been riding Cannondales. So I don't think they will need any intro here. On our first set of Cannondale order though, we were pleasantly surprised when the bikes arrived. All the bikes were first packed in cardboard boxes ( the usual bicycle boxes), which again were enclosed in an wooden cage like structure to avoid any damage. While the cardboard packaging was common for all the brands we deal with, not the wooden cage.

If you have noticed, Cannondale, Merida, Trek and other established international brands have very few models below 20K. What Schwinn will try to do is to fill this gap up and provide Indian consumer a choice of quality recreational bikes in the 10-20 k range in particular. And some of the bikes that are already in our shop do look amazing value for money. Check out the Schwinn Spoterra Comp in particular, and you will know what I mean.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bicycling gloves - why?

Experiance cyclists know the value of a pair of good cycling gloves. However, people new to cycling many times ignore the importance of a pair of cycling gloves. So heres an attempt.

1. One of the primary reason to wear gloves is the cushoning they provide.This is especially helpfull in indian conditions. Built-in cushioning in the palms absorbs road vibration and shock thereby reducing discomfort, and general fatigue.

2. From a safety perspective, they are probably the most important piece of apparel after an helmet. On an event of a crash, a good pair of gloves will save your palm. Last year I had one of those when I landed straight on my palm and skidded through. My gloves were part shredded and I couldn't move my wrist for the next few days, but they saved me from something that could have been much much worse.

3. When you are riding for long, your palm will tend to get sweaty. This will affect your grip on the handlebar. Most gloves will absorb sweat from your palm keeping it dry, in the process improving your grip.

When trying on gloves, open and close your fist to see how they feel. A good fitting glove is snug but not overly tight.

Reference :