Showing posts with label bicycles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bicycles. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I cycled to Office today. Still in one piece !


Today, I finally crossed something off my 2011 new year’s resolution list. (Or was it 2008 ?) After moving to Bangalore that year for health reasons and the wonderful weather, I decided to take up cycling. Cycle to office, or , at least take up cycling on the weekends. But I was not prepared for the oh-so-bad traffic and late working hours. My office was 14 kms away from where I stayed, and for someone who last cycled 10 years ago, that distance was un-coverable.

But my patience paid off. I moved to another company seeing that their office was closer to my home, 8 kms. A little more reachable. I went out and bought a second-hand all terrain 21 gear bike last year. But again, I was on a support project. And the odd working hours  meant I postponed cycling again. But after participating in Bangalore Cycle Day last month, I decided to take one more shot at it. Today, I cycled the 8kms to office, and managed to cycle the distance back even though it was raining all the way back.

The easy part ? The morning ride to office. The weather was cool and dry for some weeks now, no raining at all, seemed like a good time to take the risk. I started around 9 am, as I only need to be in office by 10. The roads at this time are just building up traffic; and the weather is still cool. Perfect ! After cycling for 20 mins, I got exhausted, the old engine isn’t what it used to be.  I walked about 10 mins, to get my breath back. I had my backpack with me, my laptop and lunch packed, had to carry that weight all the way.Then the last 15 mins of cycling was easier, as I got more confident of my riding and the began to understand how the traffic around me worked. When I reached office, I was sweating all over, and out of breath again. 45 mins for 8km, not bad ! I took my asthma medicine , and stood under the AC for 5 mins for the sweat to dry up ;-) . (Next time, I am packing a change of clothes). There was no bike parking area in my office parking lot, so I locked the bike to the generator pipes ! Man, it pained, all through the day, I could feel by body aching, as it was not used to such stress for many years. But only the easy part was done. Since I had biked to office, I had to bike back too. And this served as a push to stay on the ordeal.

The ride home was much more problematic. I had some late calls to attend, some last minute work. And then, out of the blue, it started raining. I decided to wait till the rain stopped, but then there was not halt even after 8pm, I decided to start anyway. Riding a bike in the rain is a really different experience. Having been born and brought up in rain soaked Kerala, I was never scared of it. In fact, I love rain. I can walk and bike in the rain all day, but it seems very few people share my enthusiasm for the beautiful phenomenon. People are in a hurry to get to dry ground, they are willing to break every traffic rule to get there. I had a special problems with the two wheelers on the road, as they were also exposed to rain like me, but found my little bike taking up too much space on the road. They were coming at me, horns blaring, lights blinking , literallay yelling at me to get our of their way. I couldn’t see where I was heading most of the time, it was already dark, and the rain on my glasses meant I could not see through them. Anway, after 40 mins of biking I reached a place where I could get into a bus stop to get away from the rain. It would tak me another 20 mins to reach my home, where I just walked in and fell on my bed exhausted.

This was truly a new experience, I had not expected it to rain on the way back (screw you, google ). What made the journey tough was my nearly 8kg backpack, with my laptop and other stuff. And the problem was compounded by the rain and zero visibility on the road. But it is certainly do-able. Just to need to ensure I leave a little earlier, when there is still daylight. And to pack light, maybe I can leave my laptop at office ? Anyway, I have overcome a big hurdle today. Looking forward to the next ride !

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bangalore Cycle Day


This month’s edition of Feel Bengaluru Cycle Day was at Indiranagar, on July 27th. I had known about the movement and wanted to participate earlier, but the previous venues were far off.  This time, the venue was closer to my place, so I participated, and boy, was I glad for it.

We were at the venue at 6:30 in the morning, I was still checking my watch because I am usually in bed on Sundays, till 11, but today, I was up at 5:30 itself. There was already a long queue for the rental cycles, but we got in line anyway. The crowd had started to build up, people of all ages were on multi-coloured bi-cycles of all manner of sizes and design. We had to stay in line for almost an hour for our bikes, but it was worth the wait.

My only rant about the event was about the rental lines, there was a lot of line jumping in the queue. People jumped in and where out with bikes in no time. We could see the line did not move, but all the bikes ran out of the first two trucks ! We were beginning to feel we would not get a bike at all, but it all worked out good for us. The queue was still growing, I am sure lot of them did not get bikes even after being in queue for more than an hour :-( .

The main ride was flagged off at 8:30 AM, a whole swarm of cyclists were unleashed, no one seemed in a hurry; after all , it was a ride, not a race. The Bangalore cops had shutdown motorized traffic on the bike route, and so , the entire ride was pure fun. With the motorists out of the way, it seemed like we OWNED the roads.  There were guys on skateboards, and kids on little kiddie bikes, and there were the pro-bikers, on their big mean carbon fibre bikes. It made for a good spectacle though, we could see pedestrians and motorists watching us on the side lines.

Bangalore Cycle Day is Citizen’s event, run in co-operation with Bangalore’s finest (cops) and various social gatherings. It is held on the last Sunday of each month, each time, they identify a different part of the city to host the event. A bike route is prepared, and arrangements are made to block out motorized traffic in the area for the 30min bike ride. Various groups have sponsored parts of the event, there are about 250 bikes people can rent, they just need to hand in their original photo id cards as collateral. People are encouraged to , and do, bring their own bikes. After the main ride, there are street events for everyone to join in. Since the roads are pretty much free, grids for various traditional and modern board games are chalked right on the roads. You can sit and enjoy a nice game of chess, snakes and ladders, and various other traditional games I couldn’t name. No body is in charge, but everybody is. You just need to turn up at the event with family and friends , and just have a good time. And did I mention, the entire event is FREE ! (though I’m sure people would gladly pay).

An uncle turned up with a rope-n-top, and I tested my old top skills. I was happy I was able to set the top spinning again! There was a skateboad group , HolyStoked collective, and they were giving away lessons on the sport. Kids were taking up hulla loops,scootering,skipping, and drawing on the streets, and ..slow cycling.  All in all, there was something for everyone, though I think the organizers did not expect so many people to show up. The place was jam-packed !

Bangalore , and other Indian cities as well, needs more such citizen’s events. Kids nowadays don’t have the luxury of open fields and trees like we enjoyed in our young days, for them, games mean video games. Catching up/hanging out means facebook & google hangouts. Even for us grownups, we need a reason to step out , get some exercise, and meet people face to face again. What’s the point of toiling away life at the office desk, when you forget for whom it is for. And the streets, for once it was nice to see people gather on the streets for all the positive reasons. Nowadays , to “take to the streets” means to revolt, uprise or revolt against something. But for Cycle Day, taking to the streets was full of positive vibe.

I wanted to stay longer, but it was already 10:30, and hunger pangs got me. So off it was, and I’ll be back for the next event soon. Here’s hoping other localities and cities of the country follow suit and organize such events too, starting a “chain reaction”.

Thanks to Decathlon & ATCAGS, for sponsoring the bikes, you guys are doing a fantastic job.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sandwichbike Flat-Pack Wooden Bicycle Goes Into Production



A flat-pack wooden bicycle that can be assembled in less than an hour has gone into production (+ slideshow).

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

PedalFactory claims the Sandwichbike can be unpacked and put together in just 45 minutes. "If you can make a sandwich, you can make a Sandwichbike," the company declares.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

The single-speed bike is constructed from 19 parts that are packaged and delivered in a box along with the tools required to assemble it.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

The frame is made from panels of weatherproofed beech plywood and is held together by milled aluminium cylinders.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

Stainless steel spokes sit within the 26-inch tyres. The completed model weighs 17 kilograms.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

Pedalfactory was co-founded by designer Basten Leijh, who originally developed the bike with his Amsterdam design studio Bleijh for the 2006 International Bicycle Design Competition in Taiwan.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

The bikes are now available to order and the first deliveries in Europe will coincide with the official launch event, taking place in Amsterdam on Sunday. International orders will be dispatched early next year.

Read on for more details from the designers:

Product launch Sandwichbike: innovative designer bike now in production

The Sandwichbike will be launched in Amsterdam on Sunday 1 December 2013. This innovative wooden bicycle that already drew unprecedented attention worldwide in the design stage is now being shipped.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

After a period of extensive research and development the bicycle has now gone into production. The Sandwichbike can be delivered worldwide from December 1, 2013 onwards. The prototype was recently exhibited at various fairs and websites and was an instant hit among bicycle lovers and design.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

The Sandwichbike is a unique product on all fronts: material, design and production method. Its distinctive frame is composed of two weatherproof beech wood panels. Its advanced production technology makes self-assembly easy while a high quality standard is maintained.

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory

Postal package

The bicycle is flat packed in a box containing the parts as well as all the tools needed. This creates a great unpacking experience. For enthusiasts, putting the bicycle together is part of the charm and the logistical benefits are huge as this enables worldwide delivery. Anyone from Amsterdam to Honolulu can receive a Sandwichbike by post.

Assembling a Sandwichbike is easy and takes less than an hour. "If you can make a sandwich, you can make a Sandwichbike."

Sandwichbike by PedalFactory


The Sandwichbike is a Pedalfactory B.V. product. Co-founder Basten Leijh (also: Bleijh Industrial Design Studio) designed and developed this bicycle. Leijh is an expert on bicycle design and innovation. Among many other product innovations Leijh developed a city-bicycle that could be locked by twisting the handlebars.

Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment

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