Society

Chennai has a new group of exploring cyclists

Be it hills, temples or estuaries, this group of cyclists is willing to pedal far for the sights and sounds surrounding Chennai

Over 100 kilometres on a cycle might seem like a lot around Chennai, especially with the summer humidity creeping in, but some views make it worth it. Just ask Naren Aakash, an enthusiast who took some of his peers cycling to Pulicat and back last week.

“I plan to do this twice a month, on alternate Saturdays,” says Naren, founder of the fledgeling cycling group Triban Roadies that is now one-ride old..

There are many routes to cover: the next ones I am planning will be to the Pallavaram Hills, Poondi Dam and Mahabs,” he says. There is more to look forward to than just the destinations — the Pulicat trip, for instance, afforded the cyclists scenic glimpses of early morning fishing at estuaries en route. It was a route of varied sights and terrains; the group of four kicked off from Decathlon Mogappair at 5 am, having assembled at 4.45, and first cycled along a bypass till Red Hills.

Chennai has a new group of exploring cyclists

“From Red Hills to Minjur, we took the Outer Ring Road. It has some ups and downs, but for the most part it’s a straight road without any junctions, so you can ride at your own pace and safely pick up speed if you want to,” continues Naren. Minjur onwards, the group stuck entirely to internal roads, crossing village after picturesque village on their way till Pulicat, stopping for bites, breath or just scenery as and when they felt like it.

“We also saw Pulicat beach and the light house. In fact, one of the cyclists had joined us with the sole aim of getting to the light house, “ says Naren. He goes on to explain how targets like these can act as motivators that help achieve fitness goals (or just cycling goals in general). “The man who wanted to reach the light house, for instance, was in his 50s. He had only cycled up to 50 kilometres before. We were expecting him to give in earlier, but he completed the 115 kilometre round trip with us,” he says.

Kindly note
  • Safety precautions the team insists on:
  • Ride only on the left side of the road
  • Avoid overtaking
  • Wear bright shirts for visibility in the early morning
  • Tail lights, front lights, helmets, water and energy bars are mandatory
  • Average riding speed should be around 25 kilometres per hour

Naren is not the first one to try and build a cycling community in the city. He is certainly not the first to go exploring its lesser-known natural sights either. The one thing that sets him apart, however, is his insistence that all riders use a particular model of cycles for his trips — Tribans, a series of road bikes made by Decathlon.

“Depending on the focus of your ride, your cycle can belong to one of tree categories,” begins the cyclist who, apart from his regular corporate job, also works at Decathlon part-time. “For offroading, you go for MTBs (mountain bicycles). For short commutes, you use hybrids. And for long distances on flat roads, you use road bikes.”

Contact Naren at 7418079018.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:34:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/chennai-has-a-new-group-of-exploring-cyclists/article30963390.ece

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