Guest Post by Darshan Bildikar – A 45 KM daily bicycle commute

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December 3, 2012 by Rohan Kini

Folks typically have a ton of questions on bicycle commute – safety, pollution, feasibility, sweat, kind of bike etc.

Bicycle commute is very important to us at BumsOnTheSaddle – we believe that it is the best way to move around in an urban setup. Plus its loads of fun!

Hence we have a LOT of writeups on bicycle commuting on our blog and on our support pages too at www.help.bumsonthesaddle.com

Darshan recently dropped into BumsOnTheSaddle and was talking to us about his 45km daily commute! And we had to share it with the rest of the world!

Over to Darshan ….

Darshan commutes 45 kms to work in Bangalore

I recently visited BumsOnTheSaddle a.k.a BOTS to get the folks there to fix a niggle on my Trek 1.5. When I mentioned to Rohan that I commute 45 KM daily to office he said that I should probably do a small write up about it. If this inspires someone else to get their bum on the saddle, great!

About a year ago, one of my friends bought a Trek 3700 from BOTS. It looked damn cool and like most guys, his shiny new toy impressed me, for that’s all I considered it at that point of time. I work in the IT industry and had been leading a mostly sedentary lifestyle with absolutely no exercise and an aversion to gyms (still hate them). A cycle seemed like a great option at that time to get a little bit of exercise. I wasn’t even thinking of commuting to office at that point of time. So I bought my Trek 3700 from BOTS.

I stay in the south of Bangalore near Bannergatta National park and I still remember the first ride we did to Ragihalli forest. I willnever forget those excruciating 12 KM. Within 15 days though it got easier and I was doing 18 KM rides almost everyday. And then one day, I guess I had a kind-of-epiphany; I realized that if I was riding 18 KM everyday, there was nothing stopping me riding the 15 KM to my office at least 2 days a week. I started to and that’s when I realized how fantastically convenient it was to commute to office by cycle. For one, it is much, much faster than a car and this is something that people don’t realize or don’t believe when I tell them. When I drove to office it used to take me about an hour in semi-peak traffic (7:45 in the morning). When I started cycling, it initially took me about 50 minutes to reach office. Within about two months, I was able to bring this down to 35 mins if I pushed hard and 40 mins if I didn’t. Soon I was commuting all 5 days to office by cycle a distance of 32 KM daily. It was great and I loved it! I was getting fitter,losing weight and having so much fun!

Then I changed companies and my new company was 23 KM away from home. Basically the other end of town. There’s no way I can do thins on a cycle I thought. I was wrong. Again, I started with baby steps. I was thinking let me do this at least once a week. It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Yeshwantpur from Begur Road where I live. Though I wasn’t really tired at the end of it that was more time than I was willing to spend on the road. That’s when the same friend who initially bought the Trek 3700 suggested that I try a road bike. I researched it and bought a second hand Trek 1.5 that hadn’t run much.

I now commute to office daily and cover a distance of 45-46 KM every day. It takes me 50 minutes in the morning (I leave home around 7:15) and little over an hour in the evening when the traffic is heavier. If I drive (I sometimes do) it takes me 1.5 hours. So there you have it, riding my cycle means that I get so spend an hour more with my kids at home, I’m constantly getting fitter and having so much fun. There are a lot of questions I get asked so here’s a kind of FAQ I’m putting up

1) My office is too far, commuting by cycle will just take too much time: I think I’ve answered that. No it won’t take too much time. It will save you time. The caveat here is that you have to invest in a goodcycle. I see no reason for you not to! If you can spend 5L on a car, then you can certainly spend 20K on a good cycle when it’s basically serving the same purpose. Getting you from point A to point B. Not to mention the great savings on fuel!

2) Am I fit enough: I’d been leading a sedentary lifestyle myself for two years before I took to cycling. Also, I have no shame in admitting now that I was 12 KG overweight and very far from being fit. If I can, you can. Needless to say that cycling will help you get fitter. A lot fitter!

3) Won’t you reach office tired? No you won’t. In fact the days that I don’t cycle are the days that I feel most lethargic on.

4) Won’t I reach office all sweaty: Yes you will. If you’re lucky to work someplace that has a gym or a shower room, problem solved. Else, just carry a change of clothes and freshen up in the washroom.

5) What about my laptop: I’ve been carrying a change of clothes and a laptop over the past year. No back problems. Just get a nice enough bag.

6) What about the pollution: What can I say? It’s about as bad as riding a motorcycle and if you leave early enough you don’t breathe in that much smoke. Also, it’s going to take folks to start using public transport and cycling as a means of commuting to get the level of pollution down. So you’re doing your bit.

7) Is it safe: Yes it is safe. About as safe as any other mode of transport you use in this city. All you need is a healthy dose of common sense.

Everywhere I ride people are stopping me to ask me questions or generally to wave and smile. Let’s just face it; I’m one of the coolest things on the road J. Won’t you join me?

——————–

Thanks a ton for sharing that will all our bikers Darshan!

Some other commute experiences

  • Wow Dude… That is awesome.. Just one question though.. How do you overcome the objections from your family members?

    With me, for one.. I am raring to buy a cycle and use it.. however, I work in the graveyard shift and i have a lot of objections from my family members to buy a cycle and use it, Your suggestion would definitely help.

    • Start small is what we recommend Suksy! Much easier to convince folks incrementally.

      Get a bike, start riding around and slowly start commuting one day at a time :)

  • Joseph George

    I completely agree. My commute is a 40 km round trip, and I hate the days I dont cycle into work. 40 kms each day, 5 days a week is par for the course. I was leading quite a sedentary life style before I started cycling. And it feels good to be cycling.

    I made myself a promise – I will ride into work every day. So, rain or shine, I ride my bike into work. Only exceptions are when safety demands that I dont ride. That typically means the day when I am sick or did not have enough sleep in the last 24 hours.

  • Sharath

    Neat write-up and good going with a 45km commute!

    I’d like to add that pollution is a *big deal* here and can be a turn off for most people who commute by bike. We cyclists inhale waay more gunk than an average motorcycle rider, since we take in a lot more “air”. I always use masks during my daily 20km commute and I wrote a very detailed review about them here: http://bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=12105 I wouldn’t ride in the city without a mask — doing otherwise is just asking for trouble.

    Also worth mentioning is that bikers should get front and rear lights if they ride in the night. Being visible to others while riding in the dark, should be top priority as well.

  • Which bike do you own?

  • mohit raju

    OP, most of the other “commute experience” links are broken

    • Oh oh. Thanks Mohit. We just moved over to wordpress from Mephisto.

      Will fix it! Thanks for the heads up

      • mohit raju

        No sire, thanks to you. Had been yearning for a local blog where our local riders could post there experiences and this just fits the bill.

        Stories in the restored links end abruptly though.

        Sorry for being a nag, but i guess as this is mostly a beta phase with wordpress for you guys you would need all the help with weeding out the annoyances.

        • Oh oh! Yup – the migration kinda messed up at times and looks like we lost data :(

          Its awesome to have the feedback though – impossible to go over 6 years of blogs and find broken links :)

    • just fixed some of them! Thanks for pointing it out

  • Excellent. You are really contributing for green environment. All the very best & wishing you safe & happy cycling all the time. I am 61 yrs old. Do visit my blog http://rgbcycling.blogspot.in/ if you get time. RG Bhat

    • Thats fantastic Mr Bhat! Keep pedaling :)

      We will definitely check out your blog.

  • vinod

    What is that bike in the picture?

  • Charan, times of India

    Man, u r an inspiration to many…keep going

  • Deepak

    Good write up.. especailly the QA part..

  • Naveen Mahadeva

    Well that’s a great post . Congrats .

    Well, I do commute to office 36km daily on my TREK 3700, 2009 model . I do believe its very easy to ride such a distance and given the facilities in our office for shower and other such facilities, no reason to not to ride..

    Things I hate :

    1. Pollution while riding back

    2. Dust

    3. Broken Drainage lines on the road

    Things I love :

    1. Spending time with myself

    2. Silent side roads, with no traffic

    3. Tender coconut every evening after the ride .

    4. People who are jealous of my bike :P

    Keep riding my boys ..

    Thanks,

    Naveen

    • whooo hoooo!

      Yeah, we love the “Me time on silent road and the no traffic”

  • Girish

    Will road bike sustain on Bengaluru roads..? I ride a hybrid cycle and not sure if I should invest on a road bike, given the condition of Bengaluru roads.

    • Works perfectly fine. Road bikes are tough little creatures.

      • Girish

        Thanks Darshan, will definitely try out a road bike.. been using a hybird – schwinn sporterra for almost 2 years now, given the pot holes on the bangalore roads – especially during rains (at least the road I take)… always felt like investing on a mtb..

      • Santosh Balasubramanya

        Hey Darshan I had..Schwinn Spotera HYBRID…and it used to get punctured very often..so i shifted to..Schwin MTB..and now I feel its very slow…:(..How often des ur cycle get punctured….?..bcoz daliy commute and all the roads are pretty bad shape..?

  • BRS

    Inspirational!

    I regularly go for early morning rides, of about 12 kms. This is in a nice residential area with negligible traffic.

    Only once did i take my bike to work, which was about 10kms, one-way. Distance was never a problem, but the zooming traffic, esp motor-bikes, were scary. The experience with “fast-food traffic” was so bad that i stopped riding to work :(

    Reading such posts tempts me again. But, road safety is a concern, especially when one has dependents.

  • Sanath Kumar S D

    Congrats Darshan . . . !

    From 17th Dec-2012, I also started commuting to office by bicycle and I ride about 46+ KMs daily. I stay in CV Raman Nagar and my office is in Electronic City . . . :-)

  • Vishwanath Muniyappa

    Congrats Darshan…

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