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Old 7th October 2011, 10:01   #16
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

I too cycle to work sometimes. Have been doing for over 5 years now. First it was on borrowed bikes, and then I got one of my own.

The thing that annoys me most is the disregard shown by fellow motorists, as if we, the cyclists, are blocking their speed runs. I take care to be on the left-most of the road, try to be aware of the traffic around me, so as not to block anyone else. And not that I'm slow, I try to blend in with the traffic flow.

As a car driver/motorbike rider, I always give space to the cyclists and think the others should too. Infact these are the people who are literally risking their lives, not for the want of it, but to make a difference, to cast a change, to help the environment, and you try to run them down!

Also I'm scared for newbie cyclists who are completely off-pace with traffic, who are busy peddalling, in the wrong gear, completely unaware of traffic approaching from behind.

Bangalore is a city with small roads, and the right weather, perfect for cycling. This is one thing that'll help us all in the long run. It feels good to be back.
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Old 7th October 2011, 12:10   #17
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
As a matter of fact, its not the odd cyclist. Lot of people cycle on the roads especially the normal cycle. Cycle hasn't vanished as yet.
You misunderstood me, I think. I didn't mean odd as in weird or not normal. Used it in the colloquial sense meaning "occasional". Compared to cars and motorcycles, cyclists are still a minuscule minority on our roads, at least in Mumbai/Pune.

Quote:
Just one suggestion, give the cyclist their space. He/She are themselves aware of their position and wouldn't want to do anything to endanger their lives.
Absolutely! These guys are doing their bit for the environment, and deserve our support. I don't honk cyclists nor tailgate them/try and endanger them in any way. There are a lot of cyclists you encounter when doing the Lavasa route on weekends, but virtually none on my daily commute.
I was a pretty prolific biker in my teenage years: we had a gang that cycled regularly about 10 km to the closest beach in the mornings during vacations from school. Last remember cycling to college with a couple of friends in Class XI back in 1990! Never had any major incidents except one nasty collision with a motorcyclist that was mainly my fault
Would be great to get back in the saddle now! Will check the cycling thread for some tips.
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Old 7th October 2011, 12:32   #18
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

I've been cycling since May this year. Every other day someone stops me and asks price of the bicycle. I ride a humble RR 5.1.

Riding on Old Madras road is scary experience every day. Major problem is Indicabs and Sumo's they don't care about anyone on the road, leave alone cyclists.

Blinking tail and headlights is an essential but novelty item and is a head turner. I was stopped by cops once just to check the lights.

Helmet mounted rearview mirror is topping my wishlist, considering notorious traffic in Bangalore.

@Spitfire, we should meet sometime, I also work in Bagmane Tech Park.
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Old 7th October 2011, 16:35   #19
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

Oh ok so people want to know the ugly. Ok there is a lot of it.

Let me start with pollution.

Pollution: Horrendous. In Bangalore city it is suffocating for a cyclist. People used to the cool and cocooned environs of their cars will find it very difficult to get on a cycle. Only because of this. Trust me no matter how much protection you use - masks, long sleeved shirts, etc. The pollution and the dust will get through.

For me it was a revelation. When I started cycling down the same route that I used to take the car or bus or bike. The same route suddenly started feeling very polluted on a cycle. I think this was due to the fact of change in the way we breathe while on cycle as compared to say on a bike.

As a cyclist you breathe long and hard. Your body needs the quick replenishing of oxygen. But the longer breaths pulls in more pollutants. A ride everyday of 14 kms leaves behind a small layer of dark soot on the cloth I used to cover my face while cycling.

So if you are asthmatic or have chronic cold. Cycling in the cities is not for you. Or not during peak traffic hours.

The pollution in turn gets you exhausted real quick. A ride during peak traffic can be very tiring very quickly. Compare that to a early morning ride and you will know the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
This mental block is what needs to change. I have a strong feeling, this is exactly what caused Spitfire to start this thread.
BINGO!! That was my exact reason to start the thread. To look at the positives. There are lot factors that stop people from getting on the saddle. Some of them that I have mentioned are our daily lives in a city. These are the small things that hold us back from getting on a cycle. But through this thread I wanted to bring out the good instead. The fun part. So the heading too , its sort of a reverse psychology thing. But folks want to know the bad part too. So lets have it for them. I hope they look at the positives of cycling more then be held back by the negatives.

@Limpid: We sure should

Last edited by Spitfire : 7th October 2011 at 16:39.
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:17   #20
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post

....

But folks want to know the bad part too. So lets have it for them. I hope they look at the positives of cycling more then be held back by the negatives.
Maybe because of the thread title.

Meaning of 'Travail' from Dictionary.com:

Name:  travail.png
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Last edited by sanjaykk : 7th October 2011 at 17:19. Reason: made space for tbhp logo in the attachment
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:22   #21
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

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Originally Posted by sanjaykk View Post
Maybe because of the thread title.

Meaning of 'Travail' from Dictionary.com:
Oh thank you. I would have never known. You might have missed the rest of my above post. Please sir. I know what I am typing.

Let me repeat why the title and the matter differs. Its only for more people to get on the saddle. Not to keep them away. Everyone knows the ills of riding the cycle in the cities.

Do you know the fun part?

And that is the reason for the title and the matter. Got it?

Another clue: bblost broke the code a few posts earlier.

The pollution post is to do just the opposite

Last edited by Spitfire : 7th October 2011 at 17:23.
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:36   #22
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
Oh thank you. I would have never known. You might have missed the rest of my above post. Please sir. I know what I am typing.

Let me repeat why the title and the matter differs. Its only for more people to get on the saddle. Not to keep them away. Everyone knows the ills of riding the cycle in the cities.

Do you know the fun part?

And that is the reason for the title and the matter. Got it?

Another clue: bblost broke the code a few posts earlier.

The pollution post is to do just the opposite
In spite of the smiley in the first sentence I can read the sarcasm in it.
Well...I wasn't trying to teach English.

I was just echoing what was expressed in noopster's post.

Just the PYT part in your initial post gave a sense of your intention.
Please continue. We are all ears!
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:58   #23
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

Used to cycle from Ramamurthi nagar to Koramangala few years back - it was almost 3~3.5 years back and even then,the OMR was a cycle riders hell.

When I used to pedal to work, the metro work have not started, so it was a bit saner than the chaos with the metro work on.

As Spitfire said, when you start cycling, you notice the pollution - you are breathing more pollution and the unruly cab wallas and truck\bus drivers on OMR just do not care about you. The best part of my cycling route was Indiranagar 100 FT road - it was not as commercialized as it is today.

The cyclist is more susceptible to weather changes. . Inside a car, you rarely feel the weather changes. On the bike, it is more prominent, but you do not really feel the heat and rains till you start feeling them when you cycle.


Almost 2 years back, the office got shifted and I also shifted my home. Now though I stay just 2 km form my office, I very rarely use cycle. 90% of my route is through back roads which are lined up with lot of garment factories and the employees who work there hoard the road - they just will not move and give way even for cars and bikes, let alone for a cycle.
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Old 7th October 2011, 18:17   #24
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

So I was talking to another friend about safety on the roads. The conversation went something like this.

Friend: Don't you get scared riding with idiots on the road.
Me: I do. I am freaked out.
Friend: So then?
Me: I cycle when the traffic is at its peak.
Friend: WHAT??
Me: Yeah, when its rush hour. It works best. Totally safe.
Friend: Duh!!
Me: See actually there are two positives to this. First I am the fastest on the road during the peak hours. Get stuck at a signal. I can pick the bike on to the footpath and walk it till I get a opening. Second, during peak traffic no one drives/ride as fast as they could on lesser crowed roads. So the chances of them reacting wildly to a cyclist are minimized. Also the speeds of the other motorized vehicles are much slower. So much safer.
Friend: Interesting.
Me:There is one negative though. What saves me from getting killed instantly makes me die slowly - pollution at peak hours. I prefer the later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjaykk View Post
Please continue. We are all ears!
Thanks bud. So when do you get your cycle?
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Old 7th October 2011, 22:12   #25
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

Read about the russian lady who was mowed down by a speeding truck while on a cycling trip along with her husband. Scary stuff. Waiting for the day when Bangalore is declared a 'No Motor Vehicle Zone'.
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Old 8th October 2011, 11:30   #26
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

Cyclists are more susceptible to stray dogs during night time. Bangalore's stray dog population is notorious for this. I avoid shortcuts via small alleys, narrow roads during night.

Other problem as a cyclist I found is streetlights.. or lack of it. One hardly bothers about it if he is in a car or on a two wheeler. Riding in dark, dogging potholes and oncoming traffic was a new experience.
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Old 10th October 2011, 12:03   #27
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

IMHO, the biggest challenge to those who bike to work is the availability of shower rooms and change rooms. I personally know of a few who don't bike to work, and only bike on weekends on isolated roads because of unavailability of facilities at workplace.
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Old 13th October 2011, 12:03   #28
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

Used to love cycling in Old Bangalore until 98' going to college on a cycle, stop for breakfast at Koshy's, but now the city is filled to the brim quite literally with so many unrefined & unwanted people and their aggression.

I am very mindful and accommodating to people who take up the hardship of cycling or walking to work. They have the right of way !!!!

Last edited by bblost : 13th October 2011 at 13:18. Reason: Please refer forum rule 11. Thanks.
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Old 13th October 2011, 13:12   #29
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

OK, we are talking about people riding a Rs 25k cycle and probably wearing gear worth an equal amount. We will be polite to them and may be wave happily as we pass. They are making a virtue of it, and do it out of choice. Either for a greener planet or for fitness purposes. Probably like Mr.Birla drinking rice gruel for breakfast, or Mr.TATA driving an Indica! (Excuse me for that simile, but I am a cynic). We are even tolerant of school kids riding their BSA-SLRs on the road as we drive along.

But how do we react to a poor Joe on the road riding an ordinary bicycle to work, because he can't afford anything else, sometimes even the bus fare? Do the same emotions rule our hearts? Are we even civil to them when we encounter them on a busy road?

As far as I have seen, motorists treat them like pests.

Sorry if I offended anyone, but I had to get it off my chest!
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Old 13th October 2011, 13:33   #30
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Default Re: The Travails of a Cyclist in Indian Cities

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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
OK, we are talking about people riding a Rs 25k cycle and probably wearing gear worth an equal amount. We will be polite to them and may be wave happily as we pass. They are making a virtue of it, and do it out of choice. Either for a greener planet or for fitness purposes. Probably like Mr.Birla drinking rice gruel for breakfast, or Mr.TATA driving an Indica! (Excuse me for that simile, but I am a cynic). We are even tolerant of school kids riding their BSA-SLRs on the road as we drive along.

But how do we react to a poor Joe on the road riding an ordinary bicycle to work, because he can't afford anything else, sometimes even the bus fare? Do the same emotions rule our hearts? Are we even civil to them when we encounter them on a busy road?

As far as I have seen, motorists treat them like pests.

Sorry if I offended anyone, but I had to get it off my chest!
Excellent point Ganesan, and that is where refinement of a person comes into the picture, a well rounded and a level-headed individual knows that irrespective of the cycle, the way a person is dressed or any other non-sensical parameters with which a society judges a person, he/she has the right of way; of course within the purview of traffic rules.
But, unfortunately societies do not work that way and I guess it is for few people like the ones who read this forum to lead from front.

For example to reduce the travails of cycling/walking :

i) While making a free left I always wait for people to finish crossing, than honk and bully my way through .. even when the people behind me are going absolute bonkers with their Honkers.
ii) While creating a splash over puddles , I always watch out for pedestrians and cyclists in the spray zone.

Last but not the least, commend people who do take up the hardship of riding or walking to work.
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