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Old 18th March 2023, 11:43   #1
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One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

My cycling journey or as my wife calls it ďMidlife crisis of a software engineerĒ :

With age catching up fast and approaching mid-forties, I wanted to get into some physical activity to improve my physical fitness. My only criteria was that it should be an enjoyable activity. I was never a gym guy so didnít consider it at all. During my school days cycling was my primary mode of commute and I used to enjoy those rides. So, I thought of getting back to cycling after a gap of 25 years.

Cycle Shopping:

During this 25 years gap, I never followed this segment except for buying cycles for my kids 😊. So, when I started looking one for me, I really didnít know what to look for (Non geared/Geared/Hybrid/MTB etc). I took assistance from my friend and team-bhpian speedsatya who is an avid cyclist. After multiple discussions, I started looking out for hybrid cycles.

My primary objective was to ride 10-20 Kms a day and try to explore some nearby places. Also, I was looking forward to ride on decent roads with no plans to take it to offroad.

I started with a budget of 10K as I didnít want to invest too much and then shy away later. After checking out multiple models in various brands, the budget went up-to 25K and finally I purchased Fire Fox Road Runner Pro D. This is a hybrid model and comes with 21 Speed Gears and disc brakes.

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-1a.jpeg

Last edited by arun_josie : 18th March 2023 at 18:31.
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Old 18th March 2023, 11:53   #2
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Cycling Journey 1.0

Cycling Journey 1.0:

The cycle came home during one of the lockdowns and I was super excited to go for a ride. There is a lake road near my place, and I decided to do some laps on this lake road. Each lap is 2Kms. I thought I will be able to pedal 10Kms+ easily from day 1. But the reality took over and I couldn’t ride more than 3 Km on day 1. That’s when I came to know on how bad my stamina was. And when I was riding, some pedestrians around me were overtaking me. I thought this will change in 1-2 days but I couldn’t improve much.

Apart from my stamina, understanding the gear system was a bit confusing to me. So, I used to slot into a gear which I am comfortable and avoid changing it further during the ride. I continued riding for couple of weeks, but I could hardly ride beyond 5Kms. I didn’t have any ride partners either.

Slowly cycling became boring and the ride frequency changed once from 2-3 days to once in a week and then to once in a blue moon. I really didn’t get any motivation to improve my stamina in anyway. I was not following any proper routine of warm up before/after cycling. In retrospect, I feel that I was setting myself up for a failure without realizing it.

Last edited by arun_josie : 18th March 2023 at 19:05.
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Old 18th March 2023, 12:24   #3
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Cycling Journey 2.0, Recharged Riders

Cycling Journey 2.0

More than a year passed and one fine day I casually checked my weight, and I was shocked to see the 3 digit figure. This has never happened before. I could feel the effect of this weight on my body. The clothes stopped fitting me properly. I couldn’t do my tasks without getting winded. The parked cycle gathering dust came to my mind. This time the motivation to better my fitness levels was real and tangible. Decided to get back to cycling again with a more serious intent. Around the same time frame, a few of my friends(avid cyclists and beginners) in the apartment were planning rides together and sharing ride stats on the Whatsapp group. I had company this time.

Recharged Riders:

This cycling group is named “Recharged Riders”. This group was a big motivation for me. I found a BIG difference between riding solo and riding as a group. After all, we are social animals. Here is what I experienced being in a group. Some of them maybe very basic but I had not given enough attention to it before.
  • I started learning about the appropriate gear changes from others’ experiences
  • I started understanding the importance of warm up before and cool down after the rides
  • Installed Strava App and started tracking all my activities
  • The group updates on Strava motivated me to keep up with the others.
  • Maintaining the right tyre pressure. Till I joined this group, I was checking the air pressure with the old method of pressing the tyre with fingers and inflating it when I felt it was needed. I realized later that I was under-inflating the tyres with this method. When I first checked the psi using the pressure guage, it was 30 psi lower from the recommended pressure. As per the instruction on the tyre, the recommended pressure is 75-77psi. So, this correction made a big difference to the ride quality.
  • Weekend group rides helped target longer distance and you get a chance to learn from more experienced riders. Such group rides are fun too.
  • You can target challenging routes as you have friends to motivate and help in case of any issues.
  • Helped to get info on quality basic accessories like cycle pump, lights, mobile pouch, glasses, gloves(got these as gift from speedsatya )
  • Suggestions to try different routes instead of doing the same routes repeatedly. And you find new-to-you routes from the group and Strava.
  • Tips to do basic service of the cycle by ourselves and maintaining it in good condition
  • Learnt about maintaining the right seat height, initially I was doing this wrong.
  • Carrying enough water and plan the refill spots for longer rides so that you don’t get stranded at remote locations without water
  • Immediate help available in case of incidents. I had an incident of chain slipping off during one of these long rides. The group helped me get back on track in no time.
  • More importantly you get lot of motivation and camaraderie that you miss while riding solo.
The impact of 2.0:

I started with 4Kms on day 1 with lot of struggles. But with all the tips shared by this group, I was able to progress slowly. I started cycling on alternate days and every week I pushed the total distance up by 5 Kms. This gradual increase worked for me nicely. I also started concentrating on basic warm ups and cool downs.

Now its more than 2 months and I have been very regular with at least 3-4 rides a week. Recently I did two 50+ Kms ride with the group. During the weekdays, I stick to 10-20Km range based on my work schedule. And I target more during the weekends.

On rest days I do an hour of walking. So, these changes have helped to improve my stamina and my fitness levels. I can feel the positive impact of cycling over these two months.

Observation on roads/traffic while riding a Cycle:
  • You start feeling the inclines on the roads that you have driven for many years. While driving a car, many of these inclines are masked nicely as its effortless driving a car.
  • People(bikers/autos) coming on the wrong side are really on the higher side, you notice this very often because you lose the momentum as they make you slow down/brake. I hate it when this happens on an incline.
  • At some roads, you will be quicker than the 4 wheelers

Last edited by arun_josie : 18th March 2023 at 22:58.
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Old 18th March 2023, 12:34   #4
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Ride to Hennagara Lake and Kallubalu Lake

Ride to Hennagara Lake and Kallubalu Lake (50 Kms ride) - Max Elevation Gain: 285m

This was my first group ride which had more than 2+ riders. Initial plan was to do a trip of 40Kms, but some detour made this trip to 50+ Kms. We started around 5:30 AM and reached this location for sunrise. Since the group had beginners as well, we took two water breaks. This route has both inclines and some nice declines. During the return we covered Kallubalu lake and then stopped for breakfast. We could have avoided this stop as it took away the momentum we had going. Yet overall this ride was fun and a nice learning curve for me to do more longer rides.

Here are some pics,

Nice early morning view

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l1.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l2.jpeg

Our steeds lined-up for some pics :-)

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l3.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l3a.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l4.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l4a.jpeg

Pep talk by our group leader :-)

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l5.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l6.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-l7.jpeg

Last edited by arun_josie : 18th March 2023 at 23:42.
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Old 18th March 2023, 13:10   #5
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Ride to Thattekere Lake Backwaters

Ride to Thattekere Lake Backwaters (60 Kms ride) – Max Elevation Gain: 633m

This happened a week after the ride to Hennagara lake. The idea was to stretch a bit more from the previous 50 Kms ride. Some of the folks in the group had done this stretch before and they updated us on how the decline after IIMB(new campus) is fun to experience and at the same time it will make the return ride tougher. The continuous declines with some newly paved super smooth and wide roads plus the curves were fun. But it is very important to keep the speed under control as you can easily overshoot on the corners. The last two kms was like mild off-roading experience and this was fun too.

This lake has crocodile presence and hence we were advised not to go near the waters. We spent some time here and started our return journey which was the most challenging part.

The 2Km mud road till the main road itself is an incline and it was challenging. I realized that these mud roads mixed with stones takes out lot of energy. So, once we reached the main road, we took a quick break.

And then the major challenge of taking the incline towards the new IIMB campus started. At one point, I couldn’t continue, and a friend and I started walking along with our cycles. I didn’t want to put too much stress on my knee as well. With aging comes wear and tear. I have started to be more respectful of my body than before. And this climb was a good test for me to understand my current capabilities.

When I restarted, the chain came off probably because of wrong gear combination as I tried to slot the first which helps during inclines. My friend helped to put the chain back. While I struggled to climb just once, two of my group mates did this climb twice during this ride. It is clear its more about fitness, strength, and practice. I plan to be consistent with my cycling routine to up my endurance levels. Stamina and endurance doesn’t happen overnight.

Once the climb was over, we had a water break and refilled our bottles too. From here it was another 25 Kms to home and we started riding at our own paces. Two of them entered the Ragihalli forest and added few more Kms. I took frequent water breaks and reached home very exhausted.

This ride really tested my limits and showed me the areas to improve. Overall, this was a fun filled ride and a great learning experience.

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t1.jpeg

Another ride and another scenic view
One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t2.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t2a.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t3.jpeg

Yours truly with the group
One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t4.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t5.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-2.jpeg

On the mud road that connects the Thattekere Lake Backwaters
One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-t6.jpeg

Last edited by arun_josie : 18th March 2023 at 20:20.
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Old 18th March 2023, 13:42   #6
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re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Afternoon Ride to Tobo hill (30Kms) Max Elevation Gain: 633m

This was a ride with speedsatya on a hot sunny day, totally unplanned. Be it driving or riding, he always likes to go against the google maps and like to explore new roads. I have been to Tobo hill many times, but it was always in car. This time when we rode in our cycles, we took the wrong turn off from the Bannerghatta road. I wanted to take U turn and return to the main road, but he didn't want to take an U and just continued. So, I had to follow him. This route took us to a mud road and went through some remote areas. Riding on that mud road was super fun. After 2-3 Kms, we joined the actual Tobo hill road and we were back to civilization. This was another ride which I enjoyed.

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-tb1.jpeg

This was during a ride via Hullahalli Lake
One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-lk1.jpeg

One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-lk2.jpeg

Cycle Maintenance:

I have done the first free service and then a regular service (900/-). And once I did the de-greasing and lubing at home itself.

During the regular service (@ Jayant Probikes, Bannerghatta Road) they applied diesel on the brake disc for cleaning and spoilt the braking effect. Need to find a good place for the next service.

Accessories in consideration:

Any hobby is as cheap or as expensive as you can make it. This list can go endless, but below is in my priority list as I am still in the beginner level.
  • Puncture kit + Mini cycle pump to carry along (this is required if I reach a level to do really long rides)
  • Cycling Bottoms/Tops(once I start doing longer rides.)
  • Smart watch to track fitness metrics
Parting thoughts:

Overall, cycling is not as simple as it was 25 years back when it was just buy a basic cycle(we only had non-geared cycles available then) and ride. No one tracked the stats. The KMs, the elevation gains, the route, average speed etc. Cycling was as simple as walking. These days, one has to do a ton of research before committing to a ride and hitting the road. There are so many options available in various price ranges. I had a case of analysis paralysis before starting this journey. Also, planning the rides based on your limitation is very important. Its better to start slow at your own pace and work on your endurance and not get pulled into the hype of 50km/100kms milestone rides. Sometimes, its more a mental game than a physical one. One learns a lot about oneself during these tests of endurance. Maybe thatís why many do it.

I am still at the beginner level with lot of learning every day but most important thing for me is that Iím enjoying it. And I hope I still will in the years to come.

Not any more in 3 digits
One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro-me.jpeg

Last edited by arun_josie : 18th March 2023 at 23:55.
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Old 19th March 2023, 05:05   #7
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re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th March 2023, 15:39   #8
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re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Thanks for sharing the start of your journey I say "start" because I can tell that you will continue on this path and accumulate more miles and smiles. Looking forward to more updates from you and your friend (and my old buddy) speedsatya.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
Sometimes, its more a mental game than a physical one.
I read somewhere that long distance cycling is 99% mental toughness, and the other 1%, well that's mental toughness too!
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Old 19th March 2023, 22:26   #9
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
Thanks for sharing the start of your journey I say "start" because I can tell that you will continue on this path and accumulate more miles and smiles. Looking forward to more updates from you and your friend (and my old buddy) speedsatya.
Thanks for your motivation amitoj, I would definitely like to take this journey longer and will try to keep this thread updated.

speedsatya was a big motivation too.

Quote:
I read somewhere that long distance cycling is 99% mental toughness, and the other 1%, well that's mental toughness too!
I agree.
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Old 20th March 2023, 10:06   #10
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Thanks for Sharing your experience, its very motivating and gives me a lot of hope.

As I kid I used to love cycling and used to do a lot of cycling. I had joined an amateur cycling cum camping group in 90s. Though it was un-organized and not very professional, but I had done Hessaraghatta, TG Halli Dam, Nandi Hills etc with the group. I went to school cycling 15 KM a day and used to regularly use cycle till I was 20.

I am in mid 40s and looking forward to start cycling again with my 15 year old son. I have been sitting on this decision for 18 months now and not been able to make up my mind.

Your experience and advise, clears few of doubts and also gives me hope to take the plunge. Thanks

Regards
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Old 20th March 2023, 10:58   #11
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Great going @arun_josie. Like others said, in your cycling journey 2.0 you have the right set of motivation but do factor in intermittent loss of that motivation owing to various factors like rains, health, office etc. Sorry stating the obvious because have been going through the same journey as yours (in my case the cycling 3.0 started when I was just 1 short of the triple numbers ). But time and again things go haywire and in my case the weighing scale has helped reminding to find that motivation. Typing this after just coming back from today's round of cycling (this is 4th consecutive day on my cycling journey 6.0 or maybe 7.0, can't clearly remember).

Your journey 1.0 reminded me of mine some 12 years back when alone at home suddenly read (most likely the riding log of one of our Kolkata BHPians, who cycled solo to Leh), I OLXed for bikes found one (some Hero geared cycle) of a 10th class kid for Rs 1500 and around 38 kms away. Promptly went to his home the next day and a visit to the neighboring cycle repair shop later was on my way cycling back to home. Somehow managed around 27 - 28 kms after don't know how many hours and decided it is better to dump it on a Taxi for the remaining journey. Well I think maybe 40 - 50 Kms and around 3-4K Rs spent on repair over the next 3 years realised my journey 1.0 started and ended the same day effectively. Coincidentally my journey 2.0 also started with Firefox (don't remember the model).

Best of luck for a long cycling journey

Cheers,
Mayank

Last edited by zadoom : 20th March 2023 at 10:59. Reason: Typo
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Old 20th March 2023, 11:27   #12
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Nice !

Even I have a FireFox Pro Runner D 21 Inches. Probably one of the most reliable bikes in the price range.
I generally go for 50 KM ride every weekend here in Pune and I find this bike really fast but bit uncomfortable.
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Old 20th March 2023, 11:56   #13
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

A lot of people will relate to your story. I started cycling way back in 2018 and i also had a big question as to what to buy! One fine day i went ahead and bought a Montra Rock 1.0.

5 years later having attended numerous rides and also being really involved in modification of my cycle's drivetrain, i can say i am hooked to cycling.

Last year has been very inconsistent for me, but it is threads like these which ignite the spark to start it again.
Being consistent is the key for us who are in their 40's, and this is one exercise which doesn't feel mundane and boring. Happy Pedaling.

Last edited by silverado : 20th March 2023 at 12:02.
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Old 20th March 2023, 14:42   #14
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Looks like Arun a lot of us in our 50's face a similar dilemma of how to keep weight in check and cycling/running/walking are the means to achieve the same of course backed by a proper diet.

Your write up is an inspiration to rekindle the cycling bug.

Lovely blog.
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Old 20th March 2023, 22:09   #15
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Re: One Pedal at a time | My Cycling Journey with Firefox Road Runner Pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
I read somewhere that long distance cycling is 99% mental toughness, and the other 1%, well that's mental toughness too!
Its been ages since I have seen you post! How have you been!


Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
Thanks for your motivation amitoj, I would definitely like to take this journey longer and will try to keep this thread updated.
Like Amitoj mentioned its only start of the journey. The big part is getting to the goal and then maintaining it! Thats where the bulk of the effort goes in.

My suggestion there is make a schedule/regimen which can be a part of your life.

A great start indeed! For change the Compass will heave a breather!
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