Riding

One week on the saddle

It’s been a week since I started using the nonpolluting vehicle for commuting. The first day was indeed special; I was excited like a kid on a festival day. Got up early, put on the nicest clothes, wiped the nonexistent dust off the bike, and started. The sky was overcast, but the humidity was unbearable. I thought I was going to sweat like a dog (I sweat a lot, normally). Luckily, the weather turned good and a gentle breeze blew my predicament away.

When I ride my motorbike, I always lookout for errant pedestrians and cyclists. Now, the table had turned. I was careful to not make the same mistakes; I rode on the left end of the road, yielding to fast-moving vehicles. Slopes and elevations which hardly existed while I rode a motorbike now appeared like monsters on the horizon. But I showed them who the boss was. The dependable Shimano gears gave me the confidence I needed, and I conquered elevation after elevation with aplomb. It would seem silly, but for a guy who had taken to cycling again after 15 years, it was like the first day on the saddle. MEPZ SEZ (Madras Export Processing Zone), Chennai, a hilly area of sorts and where my office is situated, posed the biggest threat. Pedaling up hill was a daunting task; journey down hill was easy (should I tell that ;)). In the evening, I regained confidence. I rode with elan. This time I chose the longest route possible and enjoyed every bit of the journey. Crossed the MIT (Madras Institute of Technology) flyover in a jiffy. Wow! I kissed my bike passionately. The remaining days of the week were happy days, too. So far, I have clocked 60+ kilometers. It’s a big deal for I always depend on my motorbike even for the smallest distances. Now, I have come out of the rut. I didn’t touch my Discover during the week (though it will remain a companion for weekend rides with my wife and kid). Overall, a wonderful experience. Thanks to all; I have turned a new leaf in life.

About the bike: It is easy to operate. Gears shift like a charm; V-brakes do their best. There are a few niggles, though. While riding down hill (without pedaling) as well as riding in the lower gears 1, 2 and higher gears 5, 6, a mild noise emanates from the front wheel as if the brakes scratch the tyre. This sound stops when I reach the planes. Also, the front tyre has been fitted (or factory fitted) wrongly. The tread pattern is in the reverse direction. If time permits, I will take my bike to the bike station to sort out these issues.

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