November 19, 2015 by Rohan Kini
A nice writeup on BUMSONTHESADDLE, the inception and our effort in getting more people on bike via our shop rides as a part of the club culture column on the Deccan Herald.
The BOTSWOMEN riders and the Tarmac Chronicles. Looking good!
They thought of cycling to their offices instead of using their motor bikes. “I used to ride my motorbike from Jayanagar to Indiranagar everyday, which took me more than an hour one way, and it was extremely frustrating. A colleague of mine suggested that I ride a bicycle to work and my life changed after that. It’s so much more convenient, easier and stress-free compared to what I had to go through otherwise,” Rohan says.
This thought led to the two engineers to start ‘BumsOnTheSaddle’ (BOTS) which is a cycling club as well as a retail store. As a group, they want to encourage more people to take up the eco-friendly transport which not only helps in their well-being but also the planet. “It was very important for us to start a retail store as well because the equipment you need for cycling are as expensive as the other transport gears. We wanted to educate people about what they were getting into and how they can improve their riding skills,” Rohan adds.
– read more on the online version
November 16, 2015 by Akshat Khanna
Brevets (long distance endurance cycling events of 200/300/400/600 kilometres that are supposed to be completed in a stipulated time) have caught the fancy of cyclists across India. With various randonneuring clubs in different parts of the country and with a spirited participation from a handful of Indian cyclists in the recently concluded Paris-Brest-Paris 2015, there seems to be a spike in interest in this form of cycling.
For a first time brevet rider, besides building upon their riding capabilities and endurance levels, the right choice of gear can be quite a confusing proposition. Packing too much or too little gear is an issue that a lot of prospective riders end up facing. We’ve come out with a guide to help you make an informed choice on what you need to be carrying for your brevet.
Apparel and Rider Gear
Being comfortable as a rider is crucial for these events and can be a make or break factor. Good quality apparel goes a long way in ensuring that the rider is comfortable and performing at their optimal best during these rides.
- A light weight sweat wicking jersey that does not flap in the wind, lest it cause excessive aerodynamic drag is optimum for these events.
- Look out for jerseys with hints of neon/bright colours and reflective accents to aid your visibility on the ride.
- The rear jersey pockets in the jerseys can be used to store utilities like energy bars, cue sheets, cash and credit/debit cards for easy access.
- Good quality jerseys will come equipped with one of the three rear pockets having a waterproof zipper pocket for additional protection to your jersey pocket contents that require so.
- BOTS Recommended options – Specialized RBX Jersey and Specialized RBX Sport Jersey
Shorts and Bib Shorts
- The padding in cycling shorts and bib shorts is a factor that separates the not-so-good bib shorts from the good ones.
- Its worth investing in a good pair of bib shorts on your ride. The last thing you want is saddle sores and/or a sore behind midway through your ride.
- BOTS Recommended options – Specialized RBX Sport Bib Shorts and Specialized RBX Sport Shorts
Besides these, arm covers, base layers, gloves (Specialized BG Gel, Specialized BG Sport) and reflective jackets are some other pieces of apparel that one could look at investing in based on the weather conditions and brevet distance.
A good pair of tires can save you a lot of hassle on a brevet. They need to be light weight yet robust. The last thing you want on a brevet is to spend more time on the side of the road fixing punctures instead of actually riding your bike!
- Look for tires that are 25-28mm wide. They will be the best performing tires when it comes to finding the right balance between reducing rolling resistance and a comfortable ride.
- The Schwalbe Lugano 700*25c and the Schwalbe Delta Cruiser 700*28c are optimum choices with their K-Guard puncture protection belts, directional tread patterns and relatively light weights.
Puncture Prevention and Patch Kits
- Keep a pair of spare tubes for your ride. Its quicker and more convenient to replace a tube than finding the puncture and patching it up in the middle of the ride.
- Check out our range of Schwalbe tubes here.
Puncture Patch Kits
- In the rarest of rare cases when you end up using up both your spare tubes (which if you ask us, is just rotten luck!) learning to fix a puncture can be a very handy skill to be aware of.
- We recommend you practice fixing a puncture or two using a patch kit before your brevet. That will help you iron out any clinks in your armour and give you the confidence to take care of the situation if such disaster does strike. There are a lot of videos on youtube to guide you with the process. Else, just stop by your local bike shop and the mechanic should be able to guide you with this task.
- The Parktool patch kit is a well rounded patch kit that is compact enough to sit discreetly in one of your rear jersey pockets.
- What good is a tube if one does not have a pump with themselves to fill in air! Now a days one can find a wide range of compact pumps that can either be mounted on the frame or sit comfortably in your rear jersey pocket.
- The GIYO Element Hand Pump is one such device. The USP of this device being the guage that comes inbuilt in this pump. That gives you a fair idea of how much air you have filled and can help you avoid nasty pinch flats due to running your tires under pressure
- Tire liners are a flat strip of plastic that sits in between the inner side of the tire and the outer side of the tube. This layer provides an added bit of protection from basic road debris like thorns and small sharp stones and are worth the investment.
- Make sure you choose the right size of tire liner based on the compatibility with the tire on your bike.
- To view our range of Tuffy Tire Liners, click here.
Having a good pair of front and rear lights on your bicycle are not only important from a safety and visibility point of view, but also mandatory as per the rules if one is looking at taking part in these events.
Characteristics of a good front light – High Lumen rating (At least 300 Lumen. We recommend a minimum rating of 500 Lumen for our riders), good battery life and can withstand the elements of weather. A rechargeable battery powered light is an advantage. Then one does not have to carry a lot of batteries along.
Characteristics of a good rear light – A tail light is supposed to serve the purpose of making the cyclist visible to the traffic at the rear. Besides that, features like reliability and its ability to withstand various different weather conditions are important.
Recommended rear lights : The Cateye Nima 2 is a nifty little rear light that not only mounts on the bicycle frame, but can also be easily mounted on the rear of the helmet. We recommend you use two of these if you plan to do so as they come with a lower power rating. Besides this, the Cateye Rapid 5 is another viable option.
BOTS Tip : Carry a small USB power bank with yourself. Its a useful item to charge all your electronics, be it your mobile phone, Garmin device or bicycle lights.
With a brevet, one races against the clock. From the start to the finish line, the clock never stops. So pacing yourself is a skill that is very critical here. And having a cyclocomputer in front of you gives you the perfect idea on how you are doing and how you need to pace your ride further.
For an event like a brevet, a basic cyclocomputer is sufficient. All one needs are features like average speed, distance covered, time taken. Based on this data, one can easily ride themselves to a comfortable and successful brevet finish.
One must however make sure that they don’t pick up any run of the mill cyclocomputer as accuracy of data is really important. Also, a cyclocomputer will be exposed to the elements of the weather. So that must also be taken into consideration. Especially on brevets in the monsoon season.
The Cateye Strada Slim Wireless Cyclocomputer is the ideal choice for all you randonneurs out there.
Saddlebags and Frame Bags
Considering the length of these brevets, especially the 400 km and 600 km rides, having saddlebags and frame bags become imperative. Not only do they help you carry your belongings, but also come in handy during wet weather conditions when keeping things exposed in the jersey pockets is not a wise decision.
Click here to view our collection of saddlebags and other variety of frame mount bags.
Nutrition and Hydration Tips
- Eat something that is rich in carbohydrates at least 3 hours before the ride. This is the food that is going to be your primary fuel for your ride.
- During the ride remember the golden rule, ‘Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty’.
- Carry a few energy bars like the Yoga Bars. Eat one every half and hour to forty five minutes based on the intensity of the ride to keep replenishing your energy reserves.
- Carry two water bottles on your bike. Carry plain water in one of those bottles and electrolyte solution in the other. Keep taking regular sips every fifteen minutes of so from the bottles, alternating between them one by one.
BOTS Tip : Make sure you are aware of the brevet route prior to your ride. If possible do a route recce prior to the actual event date to be familiar with how you plan to pace your ride. If that’s not possible, then go through the elevation data of the route. That shall give you a rough idea of how to pace yourself.
Hope that with this information you are more confident to tackle your next brevet. And hopefully on your way to becoming a Super Randonneur.
For any other queries, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com and we shall be glad to assist you in any way possible.
November 4, 2015 by Suraj LN Swamy
Wondering how we rode all the way from Seattle to Hesaraghatta? — We didn’t, but Justin did.
Read on to know the journey.
We met Justin Koh, a long distance cyclist & Amazonian, about a week back and invited him to ride with us on the 5th Episode of the Tarmac Chronicles.
We set off towards Jalahalli airforce station via Mekhri circle & New BEL road. This was our route to reach the lake bed at Hesaraghatta. At the Airforce station the cadets were on their regular routine Saturday morning run and seemed to be awe-struck by a cyclist fly-by at 28Kmp — quite a view while suffering!
A couple of kilometres after Jalahalli the road started to wind & twist. Cool fresh sweet air and almost zero noise. Out of Bangalore city limits! Perfect.
As soon as we reached Hesaraghatta river we took a left turn into possibly one of the narrowest roads in the universe! A perfect spot for a great half way break, healthy snacks, happy photos, general shooting the breeze with your mates. Note – The stretch is perfect 4km of pave´ experience! Don’t worry, your road bicycle can handle this. Mostly.
The Road from Hesaraghatta to Rajankunte was again absolutely stunning. Until you hit the Yelanaka Doddaballapur intersection at which point the peace, calm and happiness are hit with a generous done of shiver-down-your-spine traffic and people coming at you from all directions.
Over this was yet another great ride with a fantastic bunch of folks.
Everyone seems to be getting stronger and better on their road machines. The best part being a new route being explored every week.
My ride buddies on this episode included:
- Tarun Rao (Awesome photographer)
- Niranjan Kamath
- Rajat Poovaiah
- Justin Koh
Thanks to all these amazing guys. Without whom this episode would not be chronicled.
Missed the ride? Here is the route – http://bit.ly/tarmac-chronicles-20151031
Join the BOTS Strava Club – https://www.strava.com/clubs/bumsonthesaddle
Know the next route that you think we can Chronicle? Shout em out!!
October 26, 2015 by Suraj LN Swamy
After last weeks horror on Bangalore East roads, I was focused on mapping a “blow MY mind away” route.
And I was successful!
We kicked off at 6am sharp with riders coming in all the way from Sarjapur to participate. The route followed Ulsoor > OMR > K. R. Puram bridge. Enroute we picked up Andy & The aeroplane man, Leander Wheatley. The feeling of riding between Metro station to K. R. Puram bridge goes something like this: “Argh!! Traffic, so many people at the bridge, why is Bangalore like this?”. As soon as you get onto the bridge and start climbing, you’ll be wondering: Dam!! where did all those people, motor bikes & cars go?.
Entering Budigere road a.k.a Siva’s road was just filled with grass lands, lot’s of twisting and turning road, selfie time at a very good looking farm house and lastly Gulkand bun & tea at Malabar Tiffin (I would recommend this place for refuelling lost calories before head out to either Devanahalli / Nandi hills).
We met this guy at the bakery who was experiencing his morning dose of Jack Daniel and “generously forced” us not to pay for the Gulkand bun and tea. If any of y’all are heading there after reading this, you will probably still find him at the bakery!
After we crossed KIDB, it was all downhill and the most brilliant straight road until we reached Hennur. I would recommend this road for anyone looking at interval / controlled training, mostly TT effort kinda stuff.
With all that said, I would like to conclude with: Riding in the north, northeast, northwest is a blessing for road bikers in Bangalore. There are so many options of rural roads that one can explore. All you need is a bike and a thirst for exploring.
Missed the ride? Here is the route – https://www.strava.com/clubs/8986/group_events/75482
Join the BOTS Strava Club – https://www.strava.com/clubs/bumsonthesaddle
Know the next route that you think we can Chronicle? Shout em out!!
October 24, 2015 by Rohan Kini
You can almost forget how beautiful Turahalli forest can be if you’ve not been there for ages.
Beautiful. #$@!@^# beautiful.
After endless delays, kalmane coffees, broken bikes and sorting out souls-without-helmets we finally set off towards our quest for the day – the Peacock Trail inside Turahalli Forest off Kanakpura road, Bangalore.
14 of us today. Most folks knew how to ride their bikes, some had hit the trail before and we even had one road biker.
Shashankh CK from BOTS was the ride lead and he kicked off the ride with a pre-ride huddle going over rider safety and some trail fundamentals. With that we akwardly kicked off the ride.
Exhilarating Wavy trails thru semi-dense eucalyptus forests, nice but-not-killer climbs, rocky bone shaking patches, a few not-really-gut-wrenching descents and a lot of fun. It was a fantastic day to hit the trails as the weather was perfect – clear skies, not too hot and a slight nip in the air with dew on the green green grass.
Lots of photo ops. It was that beautiful.
Yeah. We hit some punctures too.
Luckily, there was puncture fixing expertise in the group and everyone jumped in to fix em flats.
You gotto hit the trail to understand what trail love is all about.
- carry a spare tube. If you’re riding a 29er remember you might not be able to bum it off someone else
- carry a patch kit and learn how to use it (puncture protection)
- a hand pump for sure
- a wedgie or a hydration bag is super helpful to ensure you done have things shoved all over your bike
- remove as much gunk as possible off your bike – stand, locks, fenders etc all stay at home when you’re mountain biking
- some light reading on mountain biking would be great
Missed the ride? Here’s the route – https://www.strava.com/activities/415205838
Our ride photo collection – http://bit.ly/cycling_makes_you_happy
Do keep a look out for our rides on Strava.
BOTS Strava Club – https://www.strava.com/clubs/bumsonthesaddle