A few weeks ago after experiencing some car trouble, I hatched a brilliant plan to make my commute around the city, ‘simpler’. I decided I would get a bike and just like my school days, I would ride gracefully to work, cafes and what not. The wind on my face and Mozart’s Andante Piano Concerto #21 playing in the background was the fruit of my imagination which was to be cut up into pieces sooner than later.
The first task at hand was the selection and purchase of a suitable bicycle. Easier said than done as I soon figured out. Turns out there are a gazillion makers with fancy jargon such as hybrids and hardtails and what not, that would easily put a newbie to shame. Nevertheless, I pushed forward and with the help of a trusted friend, I absorbed a lot of the lingo associated with the sport and settled on a hybrid bike which has tires suitable for the urban jungle as well as a posture suited for a middle-aged man in street friendly attire.
My budget was limited as always and after much debate on online forums and endless hours of research, I finally settled for a bike with many features at a sort-of affordable price.
The bike you see in this post is the Montra Downtown 21-speed. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? I bought it from a store on Sunday, around 9 km from my current residence and naturally, I had to ride it there myself. This is where is fun/funny part starts.
I initially started with a lot of huff and puff and was off to a good start but a few minutes in and I could feel something wrong. Now you have to understand that though I am not overweight, it has been a little short of two decades since I had been on one of these things. Slowly but surely I felt the wind exiting my lungs and Mozart’s Symphony turn in Beethoven’s Symphony #5- Bing bing bing… BANG!
I dismounted my newly acquired steed and sat down on the pavement no less and had a sip of water. The world was spinning and I was obviously dizzy and the only fear that gripped me at the time was that I would faint and would wake up to find my ride stolen. I think that induced an adrenaline shot in through my blood and I got up after a few minutes. At this point, I had no choice but to carry onwards and that is exactly what I did.
Yes, I reached my home safely and once I reached, I decided it was enough adventure for the day and that was that.
The very next morning(Monday) I woke up fresh and relaxed and began to admire the machine I had standing in my living room. Upon close inspection, I found the reason for my discomfort the day before. Turns out the rear wheel’s brake was not calibrated correctly and was in fact jammed. No wonder such a short ride seemed lightyears the night before. Truth be told, I should have checked that before I left the store or at least have someone along with me. The terrain of Pune City is not exactly a flat land either which made matters worse.
That evening, I took the bike back which was easier than last night since it was mostly a downhill ride. More justification for performance the night before. The guys apologized and fixed things quickly and I was off once more. This time it was much better so I decided a tour of the city was in order. Looking back, I think it was the second facepalm moment.
I covered 30 km that day and the slender seat on the Montra was not kind to my bottom. Though I did not feel it then, it made the coming night one of the most excruciating one of my life. Once in bed, my back hurt and my butt had a severe burning sensation to it. It was like there was a cactus lodged up between my legs and that is a sensation I will never forget.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw me avoiding sitting down altogether, even at work which is quite funny considering I share working space with my team. On a Thursday, I got a gel-based squishy seat cover for the saddle and though it was not great, it was much better than before. The last two days have been cautious and careful trials with the bike, short distances at a time and I think I am finally getting the hang of it.
I do have a plan to replace the seat in the near future but that is a comedy of errors for another time. Needless to say that this has been an unforgettable week and I have learned my lessons.
- When starting biking, know your limits.
- Check the brakes.
- For god’s sake check the seat if it is comfortable or not.
- Take photos. Lots of photos.
Ever been in such a situation? Leave me a comment below if so and I will feel a lot better. Thanks.