Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brevet - An Experience

I began my day at 3 AM. This is it I thought, the day has finally arrived. I pedaled away to TBA, Kondapur, refusing to let any feelings of anxiety and fretfulness consume me.

And even before saddling up, I realized that I had the wrong tube! Krish, came to my rescue by opening up the store, just for me! Finally, with a million thoughts cropping up my head, we started to cycle our way to 200KM.

With my attitude drenched in zest, I took in the atmosphere of lively and sporty people, ready to take on the challenge.

After crossing Shankarpally, out of the blue, Krish was cursed with a flat tyre. Krish was planning to sacrifice a hundred rupee note to fix the flat, but eventually we managed to do it with a piece of paper - a first for me!

Till now, everybody managed to fill each other with words glossing with inspiration. But I could feel the nervous energy - nervous, because we had to arrive at the first check point in time and we were running out of those valuable seconds!

It was a huge phew! moment when we managed to reach, pushing it to the last minute.

After filling our stomachs with some heavenly food, we got onto our cycles, helmets resting on our heads.

The real amusement became crystal clear when we glided down in Anantgiri Hills at a sharp speed. The wind was up against us, almost like striking us and saying take that!. I practically flew down the hill at ease at 56 km/hr, barely even feeling any resistance.

While the rest were caught up in the swirling speed of making it through, gobbling up the food in haste, Aayush, Krish, Varun and I had a different perspective. We cherished our food, while soaking our minds with the delightful lake. You see, we were thrilled to accomplish 100 KM and wanted to create a  graceful memory of enjoying the moment.

Back on our way, some of us walked with our cycles on the steep hilly land of Anantgiri. While I panted, Venkata made several attempts to cycle his way up. Vishwas, Varun, Ayush, Venkata, and I congratulated each other on finishing the toughest part.

This was when I was going downhill, not physically, mentally. My shoes seemed to have turned into breathing creatures clawing at my feet. I could feel my enthusiasm getting sucked into a black hole. My body was asking me to walk away while I could still walk away. But the voice in my head managed to turn this into a mere whisper and I was back!

The last 30 km were left, and my only fuel was Mirza Ghalibs poetry and my motivating friends.
The Microsoft climb was a piece of cake after what we had experienced just a while ago.

We finished! We achieved it! And we had the cozy welcome from a team, who appreciated us and made it worth the hard work.

Yes, I struggled and completely exhausted myself. But nothing beats the moment when you cycle through villages, giving more than 50 kids a high five as you cut through the wind. Nothing surpasses the curiosity of the amused people, enquiring about the fancy group, flaunting their tired selves, shiny cycles and helmets and pedaling has if there was no dead end.

I truly appreciate the efforts of the organizing team for all the arrangements and motivation provided to us at each checkpoint

So, a lot went down on this rollercoaster of a day, and like the ocean waves, left back gorgeous memories on the shore of my heart.
Rider - Deepankar Joshi
Words - Priya Joshi (Class 9 Student)
Ride - Heaven & Hell 200 KM Brevet, Hyderabad, 12th July 2014
Bike - Cannondale Quick 4

Women, Biking and Freedom

I started biking 5 years back - on a slightly old, less used bike that my sister left behind when she moved. During that period of no-employment, I had decided to try one new thing ever week to build patience. The patience never built, but cycling caught on.

I remember taking the bike out to a local cycle-mechanic since I did not even know how to fix the front wheel. Starting with a few little rides with the Hyderabad Biking group, I visited The Bike Affair to pick up a pair of biking shorts. I remember the store as a lot of cardboard boxes placed next to each other and Krish picked out a large pair of men's biking shorts & told me that would work well. When I asked him if my bike would be ok, he serviced it and told me that it would work just fine!

So, started my journey. That year, I religiously took the bike out every Sunday to Gachibowli Stadium from where we would do rides. What started as an extremely tough 12 km ride through the University of Hyderabad, I moved on doing 50 km rides in just 3 months. On the rare days when I did not have a car, I would bike 20 km from home to the stadium and then continue the rest of the ride. Back in those times, the bike was an addiction. However, as my strength improved I realized what the bike eventually meant to me.

To me, it was freedom. Being brought up in India meant I could not freely go everywhere I wanted to and at all points in time. I never walked on a street alone after 11 PM. However, armed with a bicycle, I could be alone, yet not afraid. I could wake up to dark mornings and see the sun come up on my bicycle. The bike was empowering in way I never felt before and by default I started incorporating the bicycle into my travels as well. I biked on the world's highest motorable road in Ladakh and biked 75 km to see the rarely-visited Being Melea temple of the Ang Kor ruins in Cambodia. On my first solo international trip to Thailand, the moment I rented a bicycle I knew that the rest of the 2 weeks would fall in place.

However, what I had not realized was that the cycle had been a constant companion through my adolescent years. I went to school on a bicycle and went to tuition classes on a bicycle. I also went to watch a few movies on a bicycle!

The cycle is not just a sport, it has been the source of freedom to several women especially in smaller towns and villages. It helps girls get to school and women get their household groceries. In fact the bicycle played a HUGE role in the Women's Suffragate Movements as well. In the 1890s, the bicycle moved away from being the rich-people fad and more women started enjoying the pleasures of cycling. And this cycling led to women being liberated from the complicated dress codes of the 19th century to the more comfortable trousers or bloomers.

In those times, social reformer Susan B Anthony famously said, "I think it has done a great deal to emancipate women. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives her a feeling of freedom, self-reliance and independence. The moment she takes her seat she knows she cant get into harm while she is on her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood..."

These lines hold true even today as the 10-member Afghan women's cycling team is eyeing the 2020 Olympics. They are fighting their regressive society and their aim for the Olympics is to get more Afghan women on bikes. Getting up on their bikes is an everyday fight for them, since their battle is not just physical, it is also social. They put up with a series of lewd remarks, insults and stares because to them "the bicycle is a symbol of freedom."

Closer home, several state governments initiated giving bicycles for girlstudents to ensure more educated and employable women. History shows that it was never cars that offered freedom, but the cycle that truly gave wings to imagination. It is simple, affordable and exceptionally useful.

More recently, I have been following the series of arguments for including a Tour De France category for Women. For a sport/ activity that has offered so much to women world-over, it should also be offered in the form of a much-coveted world championship. It ll be a huge step towards real equality. Here's hoping that a women's category gets included next year and one of our present-day school girls goes on take part in it!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Bike Affair Ride Dictionary

TBA is known for its rides as well as its known for its bikes & accessories. And in our rides, we try to fit in all kinds of riders - newbies, casual riders, fitness freaks and serious long distance riders. Just to clarify how you can be part of our rides, why don’t you read through our Ride Dictionary.


The Sunday rides are fun rides to encourage new riders. The distance is generally lesser than 25 km. The focus is less on speed or distance and more on meeting like-minded folks and having a good time together.

Where do we ride? We don't like going to the same places every week, which means we take different routes and ride to different locations. Ameenpur Lake, KBR Park, Golkonda Fort, Gandipet Lake, Hyderabad Central University are some of the popular places we go riding to.

Route: Is either flat or minimal climbs. 
Distance: Around 25 km
Pace: Around 15 km/h
Difficulty: Low
Starts From: TBA, Kondapur @ 6 am (the start time could change based on the season)


The Tuesday Night rides are brisk 1.5 hours city rides, aimed to induce some suffering :-). The route selected usually have some small hills thrown in. Its good for some one looking for a quick workout. This Tuesday, we will climb past Quality Inn, ride down the Inorbit, to KBR and back.

Where do we ride? Most of the times, we ride to KBR park - either via Quality Inn, or through Whisper Valley (we use the best hills i.e.)

Route: Rolling with small hills
Distance: Around 30 km
Pace: 20 km/hour
Difficulty: Medium
Starts from: IIIT junction @ 9 pm

SATURDAY LONG RIDE - Route to Addiction!

This ride is aimed at building endurance. One can also be part of it to explore new places or enjoy a weekly dose of addiction.

Where do we ride? The route keeps changing though some of the popular roads include Shankarpally Road, Medak Road and Nagpur Highway. At times this ride also gets converted into a 2-day ride where we ride on Saturday, stay back at some place and then ride back on Sunday.

Route: Rolling 
Distance: 80-100 km
Pace: 20-25 km/hour
Difficulty: Medium
Starts from: IIIT junction or TBA, Kondapur. Start time depends on the season.


We believe one NEEDS to get addicted to trails and once you are addicted, you can't do without them! Its lot of fun going down a hill or ripping through some twisting trail. Additional bonus is the sheer joy of being amidst nature.

Where do we ride? Narsapur Forests, Anathgiri Hills, Pargi Hills.

Route: Forest trails
Distance: NA
Pace: NA
Difficulty: Medium

Starts from: TBA. 1-2 times a month