November 7, 2013
Ever fancied taking up cycling as a hobby or as a fitness regime? It may sound weird to many who have fascination for speed bikes, cool cars or those who hit the gym. Be it as a hobby, a mode of transport, as an exhilarating sport, a recreational activity, a form of fitness regime or just as pastime - cycling is increasingly gaining acceptance and popularity among many people including youngsters. The port city of Mangalore also has a group of enthusiastic cycling aficionados who go on regular cycling expedition for sheer fun.
The only common factor that bonds many of these cycling enthusiasts is their passion for cycling and they love frolicking joyfully on their bikes amid the bucolic splendor of our evergreen Ghats. Through WhatsApp they keep connected and chalk out an itinerary. They come together every Sunday and go on a cycling expedition traversing through different parts of the city. Once a month some of them venture out on an odyssey and they love the challenge involved. The group with their gear cycles and attractive headgears, knee pads and glows, has attracted many eyeballs. Harish Maheshwari, a Mangalore-based Marwari businessman points out that from the initial reaction of raising eyebrows and askance glances, there is general acceptance from the public. “On a few occasions when we used to move in a group people used to disturb us by blocking the way or even making fun of us. We took it very positively and went about our task and now we are happy to say we are accepted and people even co-operate with us”.
For Harish who joined the group a year back, it has been a fulfilling year as a cyclist. He joined the group on the invitation of another cycliniacs (as they call one another) when he attended the Rx Life annual cycle rally a year ago. The invitation proved to be like manna from heaven as he met like-minded cycling enthusiasts and from then on he has been on regular cycling expeditions. Recently a gang of six cycled about 90 kms to and fro from Mangalore to Kota beach and back, on a two day cycling journey. One of the relatives of another cycliniac had a beach house in Kota and the group had a memorable outing, both cycling and skylarking on beach side.
To overcome the risk factor the group had a pilot jeep in which they had put their belongings and food stuff so that they could ride freely without any baggage. It also served as a precautionary measure and the riders did not want to take any risks on a long journey.
Laxmeesh Shenoy, another young cycling aficionado says he cycles for health and also to enjoy nature and her bounty. He cycles regularly on his own and every Sunday he along with a few members goes cycling from Mangala Stadium to Tannirbavi at around 6.30 am and interested people them. Those interested in being a part of the group need to have a good gear cycle, a good headgear and other accessories like kneepad, glows and other paraphernalia to ensure safety. Laxmeesh says “anyone above the age of 18 can join us but they should be capable of taking their own decisions. They should be able to repair their own bike in the event of something going wrong, though we help out one another”.
There are about 10 regular bikers in the group sharing the passion of cycling and going on long journey. On week days they cycle about 5 to 6 kms to maintain fitness or they may even go in a group of 2 or 3. On Sundays they traverse about 30 to 40 kms which keeps them fit as a fiddle to undertake longer journeys.
Another businessman Chandramouli Shenoy has been a regular at many cycling expeditions. He joined the group as he always fancied cycling and like the adventure part of it. “Generally people belittle us saying we are jobless and consider cycling is a waste of time. But I just enjoy the adventure part of it which sublimates my stress and is the best way out from the humdrum of everyday life. It is relaxing and is a great stress buster”, he exults.
Both Harish and Chandramouli share a great camaraderie as cycliniacs and are now venturing on a much more challenging expedition. They are planning to cycle all the way from Bangalore to Mangalore in two days by October end. “We will travel by bus with our cycles and want to cycle all the 360 kms with a stopover in Sakleshpur. It is going to test our endurance and fitness”, Chandramouli says. Harish is quite upbeat about the forthcoming adventure and he says this expedition would serve as a practice for the national cycling expedition conducted every year by Youth Hostel Association in Leh, in which he wants to participate.
It is heartening to know that many youngsters have joined the group and there are a few students who are regulars at expeditions. So far there isn’t any lady member in the group but Laxmeesh says “women are always welcome into our group. There is lot of discrimination against women which acts as a barrier for many of them to be a part of adventurous groups like ours”.
For all those who are health conscious, fitness freak, love nature with all her inexorable wonders and simply adore cycling, the best option is to be a part of this group and you will find that life is going to be a vivifying experience.
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