Saturday 31 May 2014

Another Bicycle Chronicle (Part-3)

Chronicle of 2012

Cycle & Surf @ Kovalam Beach
The year saw the emergence of few cycling groups including a racing team and triathlons in Chennai. The first event of the year was Neville Billimoria's 'Dawn to Dusk' on 8th January in aid of cerebral palsy afflicted children, the evening ride starting from IIT Madras finished at Mahabalipuram with a sumptuous dinner at GRT Raddission. On 26th February the city witnessed a grand and gala cycling event, the entire Marina Beach stretch exploded with high octane cycling, it was the BSA Chennai Cycling 2012 the event saw cyclist from all parts of India vying for the podium finish, the criterium race being the highlight of the day. The month of March witnessed a Cycling cum Surfing ride to Kovalam Beach which propelled me to take up swimming seriously, around this time regular rides during the weekends as groups stared to make amends and gain momentum. 
 CRX Reaxion 3rd Anniversary
April brought forward TCC Off Road Ride to Nanmangalam Reserve Forest but the most important and momentous occasion of all was on 24th April the day when the Cycling Yogis group came into existence this group specifically focused its activities on riding to places of Heritage and Historic Landmarks breaking away from the normal rides. On 4th May the one stop shop for all the cycling needs Pro Bikers in OMR opened up for the cycling enthusiast of Chennai, the shop soon became a landmark for all the cyclist be it for purchase of cycling needs or as a get together place to witness the telecast of popular sports events. Cycling related other sports activities in the form of Triathlon came into existence and the Chennai Enticer Triathlon was held on 22nd June this event was first of its kind in our city and was soon followed by the second event on 23rd July from SDAT Velachery to Besant Nagar. On 30th July the CRX Reaxion group celebrated its 3rd Anniversary ride to Mahabalipuram followed by lavish spread of breakfast at GRT Raddission Hotel. 
Bike Marshals @ TCC Road Race
The month of August saw the beginning of Racing Team named Madrascals a group specialized in racing events and on 12th August the TCC Road Race was organised on the ECR Road where I had the opportunity to be the Bike Marshall along with Mr. Sundar Rajan had an awesome time watching from close quarters the speedy peloton in action, the West Chennai Cycling group came to existence in June had some of its members involved in a ride from Chennai to Chidambaram for the cause of 'Saving the Girl Child'. The 19th of August was a red letter day for Cycling Yogis it was on this day the first ever event as a part of Madras Week Celebrations took place, the Madras Day ride covered Triplicane, Chepauk and Mylapore exploring this regions rich history and heritage. This event galvanized the group and brought it into limelight midst the cycling community. The end of September was time for TCC Weekender Ride to Melmaruvathur with a pit stop at Pearl Beach Resort near Cheyyur, the pristine water at this resort swimming pool will remain in the memory for ages to come. On 21st October the first Brevet Medal distribution ceremony took place at Madras Boat Club. 
Second Chennai Enticer Triathlon
The end of the year cycling activities began to gather momentum there were more eyeballs now focusing on social media sites like facebook, posting and sharing of Dailymail analysis and pictures of riding the cycle became a regular feature, in November specialist coaches from abroad like Dan Henchy of U.K were in the city to conduct training sessions, as a run up to Tour of Tamilnadu Heritage my article named "Prelude to Tour of Tamilnadu - Heritage" which covered and mapped the entire ride route of around 850 KM with historical data and inputs of the area which was to be pedaled was posted as a serial in the fb group pages. Finally the seven day tour was flagged off from Madras covering all the UNESO World Heritage Sites of Tamilnadu, it should be mentioned with gratitude that Tamilnadu Cycling Club provide me with an opportunity of being the official Tour Guide for this event. The ride ended at Mahabalipuram with the memories of some splendorous moments on the lap of the wonder that is Tamilnadu. Ending on an high note by seeking for happiness and good health to one and all on the occasion of the new year.

Saint Thiagaraja Samadhi, Tiruvaiyaru 
First Madras Day Heritage Ride

Thursday 29 May 2014

Another Bicycle Chronicle (Part-2)

Chronicle of 2011

BSA Fun, Fitness & Freedom Ride
The year started with the welcoming of Cyclist Anil Kumar from Bangalore on 11th January who was on his solo Tour of India. Another big cycling event to happen on 30th January was the 3rd International Cycling Race in the ECR Road. The event witnessed many teams participating from different parts of the country with a notable absentee being Chennai based teams and it was an wonderful sight to see a large gathering of cyclist and particularly the Road Race. My first cycling anniversary came up on 14th February and my ride tally being around 5000 km sealed and packed. On 27th 
April a turning point in my cycling career happened it was the purchase of Cannondale Q5 which over the years partnered me to greater glories. The earlier bicycle which I had was not to my size and specifications but this new possession was a beauty which compelled to keep riding more. The new bicycle brought with it new cycling gears and frequent rides to the heritage town of Mahabalipuram. Cycling was gaining momentum most notable being the role of social media like facebook which began to witness growing traffic on cycling related activities.

Ghada Kufar (MTB Himachal)
The following months came forward with many rides both group and individual, on 31st July the BSA Fun,Fitness and Freedom Ride was organised at Kodambakkam, it was an wonderful time to meet reputed cyclist Samim Rizvi during this event, but the most important moment of the year came on 18th September I was fortunate enough to win a jackpot ticket to Hercules MTB Himachal fully sponsored by TI 
Cycles. From 29th September to 2nd October I was at Shimla to participate in MTB Himachal as a weekend rider. This was my first pan Indian cycling event and this event drew many cyclist from across the country and abroad. The first day was a 76 km ride to Ghada Kufar which contained some dangerous descent with almost non existent roads to pedal I had ever come across, the over night stay under the tents at this place was worth every penny. On coming to know about steep uphill climbs in the coming days I just sat back to relax and enjoy the scenic Himachal Pradesh in the support vehicle which was specially arranged and the tour came to an end with some fascinating memories to take in return. 
BRM 200KM Recce
       Back here in Chennai things were getting bit diverse the festival of lights Deepavali saw another ride to Mahabalipuram but the most notable being I was able to complete my first 200 km on 12th November as a part of BRM Recce for Madras Randonneurs.The momentum of this ride brought about great results during the TCC Team Time Trials on 4th December. Usually end of the year contains a packed cycling activities and if 17th December was the Tour of Tamilnadu inauguration ride to Vandalur Zoo, the 18th December witnessed another landmark event in Chennai's cycling history it was on this day when 200 
km Brevets was flagged off. Many of my cycling friends participated in this event even though I could not due to various reasons but I was there to help my friend who unfortunately could not finish the ride. The last week of the year brought about the southern flavor the 2nd edition of Tour of Tamilnadu kick started from Madurai passing through Rameshwaram, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari and Kutralam, the seven days tour was very satisfying since I completed the entire ride distance on my cycle. The tour brought forward camaraderie and splendid memories like never before. Bidding adieu to Lord Alagar at Madurai on the New Year Day returned home seeking his blessings.

Tour of Tamilnadu 2011

Another Bicycle Chronicle (Part-1)

Chronicle of 2010
Reaxion Ride on 11th April 2010 
Ever since my college days I have had great admiration for Kalhana and Anantha Ranga Pillai, to me the writings on life and people of their times would even withstand the critical scrutiny of present day scholars and these works exemplified a bench mark in writing of history in India. Here is one such attempt by me in trying to follow their footprints at least to the barest minimum and just as the memories of the Valentine's Day 2010 appears like yesterday a day when I got hooked into cycling much water has run down in these five years just as I now attempt to write another episode of life in black and white.
Tour of Tamilnadu 2010
As a rank outsider and novice my initial days of cycling was truly by trial and error method. The cycling scenario in Chennai was very much different from the present, the only known cycling event to me during those days was the monthly CRX Reaxion Ride to Mahabalipuram and having attended a few of their monthly rides in February and April it was getting bit monotonous even though I almost managed to put an average of minimum 20- 25 km daily with my Schwin MTB, on 19th September 2010 the newly formed TCC (Tamilnadu Cycling Club) conducted individual time trial from ECR Toll Plaza to Scenic Spot, being my first it was indeed exciting but my timing of 44 minutes suggested a great scope for improvement. The person who got me into the cycling community had recently opened his BSA Go bicycle shop at Kodambakkam. Frequent visits to his shop made me get much more involved and passionate about cycling. During that period the role of facebook in connecting the community was also very limited or perhaps my role could have been lesser.

At Taj Connemara Hotel
The next big event was the launch of Mongoose and GT Bicycles in India by its CEO on 29th October at the Taj Connemara Hotel which was closely followed by my first 100+ km ride to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary on 31st October incidentally this was the Inaugural ride for Tour of Tamilnadu, by this time came into contact with many fellow members of the cycling community who in years to come became good friends. The weeks ahead was meant for training for the cycling tour which had the
theme 'Hills' with not much of preparation or not even possessing a proper cycling gear except for the helmet I embarked upon my first long distance cycling tour. The seven day tour called Tour of Tamilnadu began at Coimbatore on 25th December and covered the hills stations of Ooty, Yercaud and Kodaikanal, during the tour I was mostly a passenger sitting in the support vehicle during the climbs and enjoying the rides on the downhills or in the plains the longest being Karur to Bathalgundu 100+ km. This tour became a trendsetter since it included participants who over the course of time began to contribute much to growth of cycling in Chennai . The memories of December evenings midst the hills with camp fires, fun and frolic brought forward joyful moments, the tour came to an end on the last day of the year with many aspirations and good will to look forward. On the way back to Chennai I had a stop over at Srirangam having a blissful time at precincts of the temple during the dawn of the new year.
At Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary on 31st Oct 2010