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Old 14th September 2021, 23:26   #1
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What I learnt about cars, from cycling

A note before I start:
We are relatively new to cycling. A little more than a year, we have ridden all types of Cycles (Basic, Mountain, Hybrid, Road). We have tried various terrains, learnt from our mistakes, and now mostly are on road bikes. Being a Bhpian, I can't stop thinking of cars even when I am riding, and cycling all the more lets you contemplate. The below post is all about me being a car engine and the bike being the car

The right Cycle for the right job

What I learnt about cars, from cycling-mountain-vs-hybrid-vs-road.png

We started off with a mountain bike after the lockdown. We were very new to cycling, went into a shop, bought the best looking bike. We loved the stance of it. It was the Revin Camber. Little did we know how our riding would change over the next year. Our first few rides were within 20-25Kms. Revin was fine. and then I remember the day when I was to ride 12Kms to reach a friends place, and then ride on from there to Avalahalli forest. We didn't have a pump with us back then, so I started from home, rode on. After a few Kms, I had run out of strength and hopelessly riding on. Didn't want to turn back as even turning back meant I had to cycle back those 7 odd Kms against the wind. Reached friends place, and then figured that my tyres were at 12PSI. Filled some air, and went to the forest, and this is where the Revin came into life, super easy to ride on those trails, filled with eucalyptus leaves and gravel. We had one basic bike, one Hybrid and then the Revin. Possibly, the Revin was the easiest to ride. Low seating, angled back geometry and wide tyres. The Hybrid would even spin without even giving traction on those gravel trails.

On the way back though, I rode the Hybrid, and this is when we were introduced to the real world of cycling. Riding the hybrid was super easy, and I hit 40Kmph, and felt like I was on the moon.
We were so impressed, that my wife, primary rider of Revin, sold it off to buy a hybrid (Scott Subcross). I was on my old Mach City (Basic bike). A few months later, a few rides to the Airport, I was watching those road bikes zoom past us. I wanted one, badly, and soon after, it was my turn to switch to a Road bike. I just took the plunge, ignoring all the difficulties that I could hit, with such a riding position.
Here started my education, and the reason for this post. The road bike was so revealing; light, aerodynamic riding position, tall gears. I was now hitting close to 60Kmph on the declines. Inclines were a breeze. The geometry, the weight and the tyres made it very easy on the straights, that other bikes were no match to mine. Soon, we were riding 100Kms at a stretch. I even went to the Avalahalli forest a few more times after this, and never did I miss the Hybrid. (I sometimes had to carry my bike on my shoulder in certain parts though and walk down )

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Coming to cars, the mountain bike is like the Landrover Defender. Purpose built, for rough terrain, inclines. Huge approach and departure angles, tall body, wide rubber and torquey engines. The Hybrid is possibly like the T-Roc, very close to a road bike, but with an upright riding position. And then there is my road bike, a low slung sedan, perfect for mile munching.

With 99% of our riding limited to roads, I saw no sense to ride anything other than a Road bike, and very recently, my wife too switched to a road bike.


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Road bikes are best for riding against the wind. The low flat back riding position and narrow shoulder position gives it a huge advantage over a Hybrid. Riding back from the Airport has proven this a million times, against our South westerly winds.

When it comes to cars, they are also fighting a lot of forces. I wish there was a wind direction and wind speed flag on the car.
No wonder the latest electric cars first wanted to get the aerodynamics right, to increase their mileage. And they did manage. Model 3 came with a 0.23 and the EQS with a 0.21. Model X with a CD of 0.24 still returns to 238Mi range, compared to 310Mi on the 3. So, having such a low CD is still not good enough from an SUV perspective, which is returning 25% lower mileage. It is not just the CD, but also the CD x Surface area and then the overall weight. (More on the weight part later)

There are even subtler aspects to a road bike's aerodynamics, narrow bars, narrow forks, slightest gap between the wheel and the wheel arch and many more. Our Indian roads with such bad potholes force car makers to have a huge tyre well, and an even more significant floor height, all hurting the car aero capabilities.

Tyre width

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This is the best part of a road bike, skinny tyres. They are a huge advantage, low resistance, low contact patch, but prone to skidding. Mountain bikes have a lot of contact patch. You can actually hear them move on the road, a humming noise coming from them. Hybrids are a cross between the two, giving best of both worlds, maybe closer to road bikes than MTBs.

This reminded me of our old Figo, which, with its 175x65 rubber would handle better than most cars today. I wonder how much more efficient can our modern cars be, if we don't have such wide tyres. An SUV otherwise would wear much wider tyres (The Discovery wears a 255 wide rubber)


Revin weighed around 17 Kgs, and my road bike weighs 10.4. If I read more about it, it convinces me that weight is the biggest factor. To what extent road bike makers go? (Tour De France ones weigh as less as 7Kilos), no disc brakes, no side stand, carbon fibre forks, all aluminium body, and the list goes on. Maruti will be shamed on how good the bicycle folks are, at reducing weight. (Just that they are not compromised on structural integrity)

So, remember the Model 3 vs Model X CD comparison? The extra 300 Kilos also adds significantly to the 25% drop in mileage.

When it comes to cars, we are filling them with unwanted stuff. Non functional Roof rails, Skid plates, Spoilers and other endless indulgences.

Air Pressure

Maintaining the right air pressure is an easy way out for most of us, which we tend to forget. Remember the Avalahalli story? If not for the 12PSI, I wouldn't have remembered the day at all.
MTB tyres have 35-50PSI, I go for a 70 PSI on my road bike, Tour De France riders go with a 120-130.

On the flip side, higher tyre pressures on cars are dangerous (Beyond the permissible limit), however, remember to check tyre pressure before your next long drive. It could save a whole lot on your car's engine.

Suspension (Or the lack of it)

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MTBs come with front suspensions, some even have rear suspensions, but they are hideous and also not much use. The MTB front forks do come in handy on bad roads, and are a must on hiking trails. This is one aspect where a road bike can't match. Mountain trails cannot be conquered without suspension. And on bad roads, road bike can be teeth shattering if you don't use your elbows as suspension.

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But do you know, suspension can be fully turned off on a MTB? For good roads, suspension turned off works best, as it stops the bike forks from moving longitudinally. Road bikes have no suspension of any sort. They are made thin, aero, and to make it sturdy, they are mostly done out of Carbon fibre.

With cars, I believe a harsh suspension probably works best again, more than a supple ride with more travel.

The Peloton

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The easiest place to be riding is just behind the wheels of a fellow rider. This gives the same advantage a bird gets when they fly in a formation.

With cars, I don't think we could get into the slipstream so easily, as it would not be a safe distance, but finding a car of similar speed, and going behind it, without trying to overtake is a decent option. It gives you more time to react, as you already have seen the car in front react.

Respect Fellow road users

Saving the best to the last. I have never seen such lovely people who care for fellow cyclists. People smile, people give thumbs up, people stop to ask if everything is okay, people stop to fill air for you, and sometimes stop and just have a chat about your bike.
When it comes to cars, all we are worried is about our space and how someone stole it from us, or how someone overtook you in the wrong place, or how someone came in the middle.
I wish we at least have a smile at our fellow road users when we are in our cars. Care for the elderly drivers, show sympathy towards the dumb drivers, and stay away from honking.

And a final note:
This is not to start a debate between SUVs and Sedans. I just want the car makers to employ some of the above to make cars more effecient. Also, I would wish that we are more mindful of where we are going, and chose the right car for the day, and also understand our driving pattern before stepping into our next purchase. It makes little sense for someone who drives on straight roads to go for a 4x4 SUV, and for someone who lives and drives in the mountains or rural scape to be purchasing sedans. I even feel, this is the right time for station wagons to make a comeback. Seen a V60?
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Old 14th September 2021, 23:54   #2
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Re: What I learnt about cars, from cycling

Interesting thread! I’m getting back into cycling as a young adult now, after years of doing the same as a kid / teenager. It’s surprising to see so many parallels be drawn between cycling and driving / riding (and understandably so!). It’s also surprising to know that cycling is much more complex than I once thought.

That being said, I’m afraid of getting back on my MTB for some odd reason, after quite a while of tackling twisty corners on my motorbike.
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Old 15th September 2021, 05:38   #3
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Re: What I learnt about cars, from cycling

Great thread!

I am in an almost similar boat. My rides are mostly in smooth or slightly imperfect surfaces, but 99% of the time never venture out off-road. Started in this April with the Scott Sub Cross 50, brilliant bike but the size I got was slightly off. Then briefly moved on to Trek FX2, something felt missing with that and in 10 days moved to the FX3. Brilliant bike, the ride is quite plush for a hybrid with that fast-rolling 32c tyres, and it feels quite light and nimble. Hitting a max speed of 60+ kmph is not difficult with the FX3, but on a nice flat road you feel like a slow coach when the road bikes zoom past. And with the comfort-oriented riding position, the wind resistance can be heavily felt at times. Story short, now contemplating to go on the road bike route
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Old 16th September 2021, 10:32   #4
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Re: What I learnt about cars, from cycling

Nice thread. I've been cycling since a decade now. On the road, I think like a car driver and give motorised vehicles a wide berth. As a result, I've never really had a close call with them.

Like you, I've owned and ridden all types of bikes. At present, I own a road bike and a hybrid. While road bikes are my favourite, I still enjoy riding mountain bikes and in the monsoon, with the kind of roads we have in Mumbai, the hybrid has been a great friend. The road bike is strictly for dry weather and good roads. Happy to own two types of bikes - I won't have it any other way.

The Revin is a very basic mountain bike. Try one from a better brand with better components. Trust me, you'll love it. When it comes to suspensions, good ones work well off-road. My hybrid too has a suspension. It does its job of absorbing bumps. It also has a lockout, but I've hardly used it.
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Old 16th September 2021, 12:53   #5
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Re: What I learnt about cars, from cycling

Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
It also has a lockout, but I've hardly used it.
I have the same Hybrid as you. I keep the lockout engaged always as I feel it looses me some speed and requires more effort because of the front pitching down. But that does not help on the saddle too much given Mumbai roads. So I end up standing up many a time when I know its going to hit hard.
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Old 17th September 2021, 09:09   #6
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Re: What I learnt about cars, from cycling

Cycling is good for health but there are certain health issues associated with cycling that one should be aware of, and keep in mind, before taking up cycling again.

Issues include: genital numbness, priapism, erectile dysfunction (ED) (though not always), lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), and prostatitis.

there is some evidence (see Mayo Clinic) that trauma from bicycle riding can irritate a man’s prostate and could exacerbate, and some suggest lead, to prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
We identify a statistically higher odds of urethral stricture, genital numbness, and saddle sores (OR: 9.8, p<.001) in cyclists compared to swimmers/runners.
Source 2

Not trying to discourage anybody, cycling is good for health, just take the proper precautions and don't over strain yourself. Refer this guide.

Last edited by Electromotive : 17th September 2021 at 09:18.
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