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Bicycle Diaries - I

After 17 years of deskbound job, decided to add some fitness activity to life. First scrum lessons learned.

Once I entered work life, physical activity was pretty much restricted to keyboard and mousing. I hate running. I like only Cricket, Badminton and Table Tennis for sports. All need others to be available. I love to swim, but in Bangalore where I stay, it is not very convenient. I used to enjoy cycling when I was in school. Some six months ago, bought one (Hercules ACT 104). Rode it on and off for 4-5 short trips. While it is enjoyable, I never stuck to a routine. Since I am on vacation now, I thought I will attack it as a 2 week project and see if I can actually do it.

If you are a fitness freak, don’t bother. I am talking about 5km as a goal - if you routinely do 15km+, you might find this quite boring.


  1. Every day, take it out for at least one round.
  2. Do this for at least 5 days continuously.
  3. Forget about speed, calories etc. Just enjoy.
  4. Do 5km at a stretch and still be able to carry on :-)


  1. Every single day for last 15 days, one round.
  2. Covered 78km totally during this duration, average speed at 10km/hr.
  3. Covered 4km in 45m the first day and whole body hurt. Today, covered 8.65km in 38m and still want to do more.

I could easily see a good progression. The daily distance improved. Speed improved. Sleep improved. Zen improved - generally happier these days.
cycling first 15 days

The Tools

  1. A bicycle. I got a Hercules Ryders ACT 104 for some Rs.6000/- from Dispensary Road (parallel to Commercial Street, full of bicycle shops). Dealer was pretty good. This model is a bit heavy, but with Bangalore Roads often resembling Afghan roads due to on-going metro work, I wanted a sturdy one. I also wanted a model with enough gears because I was pretty sure that I will need those. Also, this was one of the few models that have a carrier. After some initial hiccups figuring out how to change the front gear, I was pretty happy with this. I’ve done zero maintenance so far, and it is holding up pretty good. Need to get some lubrication oil to apply to the chain and bearings - that’s all you need. I somehow never liked Hero cycles when I was growing up, so I zeroed in on Hercules. If I had Raleigh available, I’d have bought that. Anyway, you get pretty expensive bicycles (Rs. 50000+) also here, but I simply didn’t see a need. Additionally, since I live in the 3rd floor of a building, carrying this heavy bike up and down is another good exercise! If your planned route has good roads, get a city bike. These are very light.
  2. Some stuff to keep records. Thanks to Nitin Jain, I came to know about Since I have an iPhone, their free version did all the tracking. I also keep a log in an OpenOffice spreadsheet. I put on BBC Documentary Podcasts as well - good use of time.

Lessons Learned

Issues so far

  1. BMTC buses. They rarely seem to notice me on Airport Road and pass me within 2 feet. Scary.
  2. Rains render the roads around Indira Nagar in a slightly tricky situation. When I go out in the mornings, road is full of broken branches, leaves etc. A bit slippery at times. By the way, cycling in mild drizzle is very nice.
  3. My neighbour doesn’t know I am on vacation. He has been seeing me at home and yesterday he opened his door to see me coming with a copy of Times of India and the bicycle. He had the most incredulous look on his face. I am pretty sure that he thought I have taken up a newspaper boy’s job!
  4. I ride around an Army area. At times, I run into the soldiers doing their morning jogging or cycling. Their fitness levels can be a bit demotivating!

Today’s Map