Owning a cycle has drawn me into whole new world of fun and fitness and am still scratching only the outer layer. Weekend trips with rented/friend bikes were immensely satisfying for long distance endurance but few and far apart. Having one for myself has added extra thrill of freedom and comfort level. And added bonus of discovering new clubs and events.
Having missed April edition on account of RFH 5km run, sense of anticipation heightened to attend May event (Cycle day at present being conducted last Sunday of every month). Having loads of free time, I did a recce to venue (Agara lake) on Thursday - 18+ km round trip in an hour.
Like the TCS 10km run the previous Sunday, it rained heavily on Saturday night and trouble again sleeping on account of mosquitoes, humidity and excitement. Getting off bed 8 minutes past scheduled alarm, I got ready, dumped bananas, plum cake, camera (whose batteries I forgot to recharge after waking) and off I zoomed on streets in cool morning air witnessed by grey sky.
As I neared Jakkasandra, felt strange to not see other cyclists but soon after two of them joined Sarjapur road from my left. Overtaking them with a wave, I stood confused near the lake - traffic incoming from opposite stretch supposed to be cordoned off while the entrance to 14th Main road was blocked for motorists with a couple of policemen regulating traffic. After brief consultation, the three of us decided to pass through gaps (filled with rain water, later saw lot of cyclists sprayed dirty on their backs) and relieved to see activity going on at intersection of outer ring road.
There were more motorists parked under the flyover than handful of cyclists at that hour (6:35 AM). Organizers were going about setting placards, water stations, feedback desk, etc. Small crowd was gathered few meters ahead. After parking my cycle aside (taking care of not coming under occasional droplets), I started my compulsive snapping spree - trying hard to capture cute little kids on their eye pleasing cycles (here's a confession: whole morning I couldn't get a decent enough candid photo :-/ )
After a short while, the small crowd was ballooning but formed a queue - going past them I realized late that they were waiting to get rented cycles. Moving on, I spotted a familiar face here and there and got more clarity on events scheduled - plenty of posters kept at various intervals as well as volunteers/organizers setting up their wares/drawing-on-road.
|Long wait for rented cycles, thanks to overnight rain|
Crowd swelled by the time I roamed 2-3 times back and forth the activity stretch. Stage had been set up near the flyover intersection, queue for rental cycle became even longer (later came to know that heavy overnight rain delayed logistics). Stage events - calling kids, teens, man with cycle atop, 80+ old elder with plenty of cycling experience, warm-up (very nice too I admit, enhanced with music and synced wordings like 1-1, 2-2, etc) kept cyclists busy and entertaining. But 'another 5 minute start' became too repetitive and more than a few raised voice to start.
|A popular cyclist in Cycle day events|
|Just before start of lap around Agara lake|
Eventually, hordes of bikers as well as few skate boarders started on the cycling stretch around Agara lake - media and photograph enthusiasts (some gone atop the flyover to get big picture) encouraging us. It was very slow going but excitement was palpable including the ones on rented cycles. Battery was low, yet I kept clicking while riding, even managed a selfie that was poor to say the least. Was extra cautious around skaters who were matching our speed, some tagging along a cyclist.
|Fun ride round the Agara lake|
2-3 km ride was too less to satiate cycling desire, but fun riding nonetheless. Especially watching the kids crank up the speed, looked scary and their antics drew more than few glances and amusing looks. After the lap, I guess a few left while others moved to next set of activities.
Except for 1-2 commercial stalls, it was all about having fun and breaking shell of daily routine. Innovative fitness drill involving heavy tyres and ropes as well as typical weight lifting, people tried them all - professional instructors at hand to help. A little dream social team brought color to lives of poor/slum kids by teaming them with other kids and followed by photo shoot with very thought out props. Hand and face painting just close by to top it up. Indoor games reached streets and how! - life sized snake-ladders, large drawings of chess boards and then usual carom board and other popular kid games involving hopping on numbered squares.
A home made pump powered by jumping on air filled water bottle released rockets high in the air - kids and adults alike waited their turns. And then large stretch of road painted with colored chalks - mainly thanking Cycle day and environmental friendly messages. Last but not less favored was skate boarding conducted by Holystoked.
I left few minutes past 9 AM, not sure if slow cycling was done. A very nice event to create awareness and I'll wind up with these
- Colorful crowd, enthusiastic kids to seasoned elders
- Various pro-nature proclamations (gogreengocycling, gas sucks, etc)
- Popular regulars - Anil Sir and one with mini cycle on his head (sadly, his last event in Bangalore)
- Street games - I suspect they are the real crowd pullers compared to actual cycling
- Meeting fellow cyclists was expected, but meeting fellow trekker after about 32 months was icing on cake
|Starting early for better tomorrow|