Fitness has been on the top of my agenda for this year and I have finally won bragging rights on achieving my goals! It has been an interesting journey starting with a crash diet that completely backfired and I gained weight instead of losing it! There on, it was all about eating healthy and going all out to shed those kilos. And I was surprised that it was fun all along thanks to Cycling!
Cycling around Mumbai as many of you know has been part of the journey. And what a great ride it has been. While the cycle was purchased purely with errands in mind almost 5 years ago, I took to cycling for fitness only this year.
And as usual, with everything one does, there are bouquets and brickbats! But my takeaways from them –
- No matter what they say, one can’t be too old to do anything, including cycling.
- If Indian roads are unsafe for cyclists, they are also unsafe for pedestrians, motor bikes, cars and buses. Just get the right gear – a helmet and a flashing rear light at night are bare essentials and you will be set.
- If you cycle, you tend to discover amazing breakfast places that serve authentic cuisines at great prices. And trust me, that breakfast after a long ride is the most satisfying and guiltless as it can get! You can dig into that extra buttered pav at an Irani café in South Bombay, hot steaming batata Vadas at a Maharashtrian joint in Dadar and have extra helpings of the sugary filter coffee at Matunga all in a day.
- The urban jungle may suddenly seem greener and cleaner as you discover quiet shady neighborhoods with signs of ‘Birds twittering, quiet please’ or the like, secret massive gardens that nobody knew about and nooks that have amazing views.
- It is possible to be motivated to wake up at 5 am in the morning to go for a spin. I usually still get the feeling of anticipation of a Himalayan expedition the next day.
- Go Solo. One does not need company for cycling. Solo cycling means you can ride at your own pace, feel the wind in your hair and do all that introspection. Although it is great if you have the company for breakfast.
- Random bikers and rickshaw wallahs will come and tell you to not ride the cycle even if you are on the extreme left of the road on a straight path. Incessant honking will happen even if you were an inch away from disappearing into a wall riding on the leftmost inch on the road. Claim your space and learn to Ignore.
- Join a cycling group for that extra push, learning and great breakfast sessions. There are many such groups budding across the city. They are great avenues for getting to know different people, learning much from them and great company for breakfast!
And while you ponder over if it is a great idea for you to start cycling, here are some pictures of roaming around Mumbai on the saddle.
If you need any further motivation, let me know!