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SimplyPedal encourages you to get back on your bicycles

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SimplyPedal is a community of cyclists who encourage each other to get on their bicycles, explore new places, and make new friends

In 2013, in a bid to improve his fitness, Pawan Kumar decided to dust off his old Hercules bicycle and go for a ride. This ride, he says, realigned his priorities and became a life-changing experience for him. He put up a post on Facebook looking for more people to join him, a call that was answered by some old school friends of his. From there, Kumar says, the whole thing just snowballed.

What started then is known today as SimplyPedal, a 1,500 strong community of cyclists on Facebook, the members of which take part in organised rides every weekend. According to Kumar, who works as an advertising associate at Amazon, the objective of SimplyPedal is uncomplicated — get people back on the saddle and help them improve their endurance and fitness. “Anyone who can ride is welcome to join our group, and we then help them start riding and improving their fitness. The main objective is to get adults who have not cycled in a long time to get back on the saddle and build the endurance to cycle longer distances,” Kumar explains.

To do this, SimplyPedal has come up with an inventive name scheme for their rides. Beginners generally try out the #rasam, which stands for Ride on a Sunday Morning. "The #rasam is a beginners ride, which starts every Sunday at 7 am from Cubbon Park and does a 30-kilometre loop inside the city, before ending with a breakfast. Last month, we tried to uncover the cuisine of Tamil Nadu for our breakfasts, this month the theme has been ‘Biryani for Breakfast’.”

Once riders are comfortable with the #rasam, the community encourages them to participate in the #sambar, short for Saturday Morning Breakfast And Ride, which involves a little more of a challenge. “The #sambar is usually a 100 km ride with breakfast along the way that is conducted every week. Among our members we have a core team of about eight people who help coordinate our rides,” says Kumar.

He also stresses that SimplyPedal is driven by passion, not profit. The riders meet to ride and interact with each other along the way. The community does not engage in any outside meetups that don't involve a ride. As for the community itself, Kumar says it is made up of members of ages 18 to their early 60s.

For accomplished cyclists who can keep up with the rigours of the #rasam and #sambar, Kumar and team have put together the #dosa, or Do Something Awesome. This, Kumar explains, is a once in three months multi-day ride, which typically sees members ride to a destination, partake in bonding activities and return the next day.

Kumar seems to be of the opinion of sticking with a formula that works, and to that end, the way SimplyPedal functions has not changed much over the years. One of the initiatives he has undertaken, however, is to create tie-ups with bicycle rental agencies to encourage more people to get up and hit the road, for personal betterment and that of the community.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 4:29:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/simplypedal-encourages-you-to-get-back-on-your-bicycles/article22450550.ece

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