Wednesday, February 11, 2015

let's make urban cycling a bit safer

make urban cycling a safer

safety is probably one of the most common reason for people for not to shift to cycling in the cities.
will break this post into 2 parts. firstly how safe or unsafe are we on the bike. secondly how to feel safer.

Are we safe cycling on the road? the answer is ‘NO’.
Are we safe driving a car around or a bike or simply walk? the answer again is ‘NO’.

Does that mean we shut our self indoors and wait for a an earthquake or flood to kill us.

Lets be real there is no way we can be 100% percent sure about our safety, but there are ways to make it safer for you to enjoy the ride.

We can’t change the world and expect them to start driving with cyclists in their mind, but what we can do is to put the cyclist in their mind once in a while. So a few easy steps to do the same.

  • Be it the night or the day it’s very important to be visible, so make sure you are as visible as possible
  • look for a flashy neon wind breaker, something light and thin is better can be used in summer and winters it adds another layer of safety and warmth.

  • reflective patches are at times a part of the wind breaker or else you can buy a reflective tape and put a couple of stripes on the jacket
  • bright clothing is always good even for the day time
  • in the night/evening lights are really required. head lights solve two purpose it helps you see whats ahead, it also creates a illuminated spot infant of you and make you more visible to the approaching traffic. you can use a headlights or handlebar lights. or at time a combination of both can also be good. (that's the one i use will try and ad some pictures of the fenix headlight in action)
  • all bicycles come fitted with reflectors but it’s always advisable to use more of them even the simple reflective tapes work well
  • backlight is as important as the front light or maybe more. us a bright one which has an option of blinking. it should be as disruptive as possible. this is the one i am using works really well. also make sure all this is LED the battery consumption will be much lesser
  • if you carry bags of your shoulder of panniers put reflective tapes on them too

  • The world is not interested in being on a look out for you, so it’s your job to ride as safe as possible
  • Helmets are must, it adds some cushioning in case of a fall or a hit to your head
  • Ride on the left side of the road
  • Be aware of parked cars, they are likely to open the doors at any moment and you may hit on it
  • Don’t go too close to any vehicle, maintain safe distance
  • If you have to take a turn make sure wave your hands a bit ahead of time
  • Side view mirrors is great thing to have (still not the most important)
  • Most important thing is to be aware nothing is more important that you senses, sight and sound both work in tandem
  • Be aware of potholes on the road, gravel, wet roads etc. riding through all these can be real fun as long as you are aware of them. if they take you by surprise they can act mean
  • FOLLOW TRAFFIC RULES. If you want to be respected on the road, you have to behave like a law abiding citizen

  • Brakes should be fit. Brake shoes should be checked regularly. the wires should be well lubricated and flexible
  • Regular service of bike is must
  • All the nuts and bolts should be kept tight in place
  • Tyres should have the right air pressure
  • Tyres should not be bald. Never
  • Handle bar grips should have a good grip, in case of emergency your hands shouldn’t slip

Hope this list will be good enough for atleast one of my friend to start riding to the nearby pub or grocery store. Feel free to add your tips and comments.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

go cheap on your first bike

often to i meet people who get excited about cycling as a thought, pick up a bicycle ride it for a couple of weeks on a daily basis, then over the weekend for a month or two. and then next couple of months once in a fortnight and slowly it becomes a furniture in some corner of the balcony or if lucky inside a room.
my first suggestion to everyone is to buy a cheap bike to begin with. first test the waters for atleast a year or so. make sure you keep loving the idea of cycling through the grilling indian summer, the wet wet monsoon and the bitter winter. or it's just a flavour of the season that you bought rode for a few days, shed some sweat and got over with it.
the best thing people do is to start looking for excuses.
few of the most common excuses to not bike.
  • it's gets too hot in delhi, out here it's not like europe where the weather is favourable for bikes
  • winters are so cold how can you even think of cycling in the fog it's so risky
  • in india people driving cars have no respect for cyclists (and what do you do while you are driving) none the less a genuine issue it is. but still an excuse
  • how can you go to office on a cycle you feel so sweaty after a ride
well the ideal thing is to buy a cheap bike or rent a bike for a few days and try it out. there is no harm in not riding but looking for excuses is the easiest thing to do. so avoid it, i'm sure there is a solution to most of the problems (just look up on google). if you love cycling you won't look for the problems instead you will enjoy the ride and do something to come over the problem. interestingly enough most of these are real problems but riders tend to enjoy it all.

i remember one my ex-boss thought it's very cool to be a biker, the guy is one of the most physically fit people i have come across. but i realised cycling regularly has nothing to do with your physical fitness but your love for cycling. so this boss of mine ended up buying a really really expensive Trek. did one long ride almost a 40km, around 5-6 rides to the office (he managed to get enough eyeball in office) and after that the bike got the privilege of adorning his living room for a few months then moved to the balcony. and then given away to another aspiring cyclist friend.

honestly there's no point for everyone to take up to cycling. the more important thing is to find your reason to ride. some may enjoy a long solo ride over the weekend, for some cycle is a great way to go to the grocery store, others may love a group ride on a sunday morning while others love going to office.
for me it also turns out to be a great way to bond with my tiny 6 year old son, whereas for him it brings in the sense of freedom, the cycle becomes the mean to go few kilometres all by himself. cafefree.

find out your reason and then find out you bicycle.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014


When I see a bicycle next to a tree they look so friendly. 

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There are days like this...

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Simplifying bicycle navigation

Its always good to see technology simplifying things. here is a perfect example.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Anay's first 5km ride

Well he ended up doing a 6.34kms. Came back home and went biking with his friends again. 

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