No more in the side lanes

The Bangalore bikers' calendar is chock-a-block with activities

Published - June 22, 2011 07:10 pm IST

Mayank Rungta sporting his favourite gear

Mayank Rungta sporting his favourite gear

When one says ‘Bangalore' most of us think parks, gardens and possibly ‘IT capital'. But few know that Bangalore is one of the most happening cities for biking. A community that had a mere 150 members in May 2008, the Bangalore Bikers' Club today has nearly 2,800 members with upwards of 6,000 discussions.

I have watched this community grow 20-fold in three years since I joined it, and this can be attributed to the efforts of various biking initiatives like Bums On The Saddle(BOTS), RideACycle Foundation(RACF), Go Green Initiator(GGI) among others, and increased access to better bikes.

Spoilt for choice

The Bangalore bikers' calendar is always bustling with activity and hardly a weekend goes by when you don't have bikers blazing trails.

Just this weekend, we had a Bangalore Bikers' Championship race on Rajankunte Road with a good turnout.

This, when other cities struggle to get bikers to venture out on a Sunday morning. Another group that organises cycling tours, Cycling and More, is just back from their ride — Green Aisle 2.

Yet another group, Tandem Trails, has opened registrations for The Great Malnad Challenge – 800 plus km.

Last but not the least, the 4th edition of the most coveted cycling event, Tour of Nilgiris (TfN), has been announced and is already overbooked.

The tour will take 100 bikers across 1000 km of very beautiful and challenging terrain in the hills of the south.

Things have changed monumentally over the last few years. Earlier, one had to wait two or three months before (s)he got a bike of choice. Today, you can go into any of the dozen stores and find a good bike of the right size. Better still, the prices of high-end bikes have come down significantly. A lot of people who can commute to work are now considering hopping on to these cool bikes. We have conducted over 50 workshops in various corporates, colleges and apartments to encourage biking to work and otherwise.

Biking is also becoming a serious sport with the many bicycling championships and the Bangalore Brevets. There are several racing teams competing in these events and with the Brevets, many riders are testing their grit and determination to the fullest.

Even as I right this, a serious rider, Samim Rizvi, is cycling 3,000 miles (4,800 km) across America in The Race Across America (RAAM). Hey Ram! It won't be a surprise if we had a Race Across India very soon.

(Mayank Rungta is an avid biker and works with RideACycle Foundation and is a self-professed evangelist for ‘Bums On The Saddle'.)

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