Thursday, April 28, 2011

Advantages of cycling

It was about an year ago that I realized I was becoming one of those typical IT guys in India, the ones with pot belly, weak hearts/lungs and no time for improvement. So I decided that riding a bicycle was probably easiest way to change the situation for better. Better late than never.
After taking advice from some friends I bought one Schwinn Frontier Sport bike from Lifecycle store in Pune. It's a mountain bike with 7x3 gear combination. On the contrary to the website information mine is actually blue. It is really light weight, sturdy and comfortable to ride considering that it does not have rear suspension. The tires are pretty tough too. Along with cycle I also bought a helmet, hand pump, eye gear, head light and tail light. Most of the accessories are from bTwin. The whole deal costed about Rs. 15k.

Since I brought the cycle I have been trying to ride it to office at least on alternate days covering about 40-60km/week. But the maddening heat these days in Pune makes it hard to keep this frequency without sweating a lot. So I hope to increase the frequency after summer finishes.
Anyway, here are some of the advantages of cycling I observed in last few months.
1. Cycling is the cheapest and easiest way to save your health. Saving the environment is just a positive side effect.
2. Cycling also happens to be the second cheapest way of commuting. The first one, walking, is not practical for long distances.
3. Considering the fuel expenses saved the cost of cycle is recovered within two years. All the saving after that is pure profit.
4. Cycles have by default very low maintenance (almost zero).
5. You don't need to carry a license, vehicle registration card or 'pollution under control' certificate to ride cycle. In other words trafic police has no reason to check up on you other than your breaking traffic rules.
6. You don't have to gear down the bike to stop, although it is recommended.
7. There are two more ways to get out of a traffic jam, walking with your bike and carrying your bike.
8. On the road your slow speed doesn't cause traffic problems as nobody bothers staying behind you. :-P
9. Most people on road will applaud/praise you for taking the efforts to ride a bike. Some may berate you as if you are insulting them by being on same road as them, but this probably happens only in Pune.
10. Other bike riders are likely to start a conversation with you about your experience. Some of them become your friends. :-)
11. You get to go on the some sections of road that are restricted to pedestrians because you can walk with your bike. ex. The crossing below the Wakad overbridge in Pune.
12. When riding bike, you will notice more things about the road than you usually do. For example, opposite the HDFC branch in Hinjewadi there is a shop named 'Baba Ramdeo Mobile Shop'. :-D

In related news:
1. In Infosys' huge campus in Pune they keep cycles to go around within campus.
2. I heard that about 25 employees of Geometric company took some sort of 'Go Green' initiative and commuted to office on cycle last week.

That's all for now. Will share more experiences later.