Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Colour Splash- Cycling diaries

Foggy days, chilly mornings, basking in the warm sun, piping hot tea- love winters!

Undeterred by the foggy cold morning, we set of to complete yet another 50 kilometer ride. Fully layered and covered up to face the icy cold winds, we set off at 7 Am. The start was later than our usual ETD of 5 am for rides as the fog is generally too thick early in the mornings these days to allow good visibility.

To our delight , the ride that began as a tedious task at the beginning seemed totally worth it because of the beautiful splash of winter colours that we came across while riding.

The beautiful yellow flowers of the mustard plants in abundance

Riding on a good road is always bliss!

Mustard fields

They say that turn to  nature to look up the best colour combinations! So true!

Fog on the fields

Tree lined good road
Stop over for tea and breakfast was at a Bird sanctuary (Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary) on the way. Birds spotted - Stork, Hippo and Egret.

Approximately 250 species of Birds are found at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. Some of them are resident, while others come from distant regions like Siberia, Europe and Afghanistan . Every year more than a 100 migratory birds come to sultanpur bird sanctuary in search of food and water.
 Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

After a scrumptious breakfast of toast and eggs we started on our way back with the sun shining on us! Another happy ride, another day made worthwhile.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Driving down the Grand Trunk Road

On a road trip that I had to make all of sudden required me to get from Delhi to Chandigarh in the dead of the night and included a drive of near about 6 hours.

I chose to drive on the 6 lane highway called the Grand Trunk road and completely enjoyed the drive. 

The Grand Trunk Road is one of Asia's oldest and longest major roads. For more than two millennia, it has linked the eastern and western regions of the Indian subcontinent, connecting South Asia with Central Asia. It runs from Chittagong, Bangladesh west to Howrah, West Bengal in India, running across Northern India into Lahore in Pakistan, further up to Kabul in Afghanistan. Its former names include UttaraPatha ("Road to North"), Shah Rah-e-Azam ("Great Road") or Sarak-e-Azam or Badshahi Sarak.

The route spanning the Grand Trunk (GT) road existed during the Maurya Empire, extending from the mouth of the Ganges to the north-western frontier of the Empire.

Today, the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) remains a continuum that covers a distance of over 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi). From its origin at Chittagong, it traverses to Sonargaon in the Narayanganj District of central Bangladesh, it reaches India, passing through Howrah, Serampore, Bardhaman, Panagarh (where it passes Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary), Durgapur, Asansol, Dhanbad, Aurangabad, Dehri-on-sone, Sasaram, Mohania, Mughalsarai, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Kalianpur, Kannauj, Etah, Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Delhi, Panipat, Karnal, Ambala, Khanna, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar.

It's the easiest way to get to chandigarh from  delhi and a number of road side restaurants (dhabas) can be found on the highway throughout this journey. The restraunts offered refreshing tea and yummy Indian food.

A popular hangout is the Sukhdev Dhaba at Murthal, Sonepat. It's a multi cusine restraunt but it's famous for its paranthas which are served with white butter and piping hot tea. Even at 2 in the night the place is thronged with people and getting a table is a task.
Sukhdev Dhaba completely thronged at 2 in the night.

The 6 hour drive on the highway becomes a breeze by making a few stops at these dhabas. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cycling in the Winter Chill

The first day of the month of November! The chill in the morning quite significantly broadcasted that the winters are officially here! It was beautiful foggy morning and a light jacket was required to feel comfortable. Just the perfect weather to cycle and enjoy a non sweaty,  vigorous ride! Here are some of the photos from the Sunday morning ride today!

Kilometers covered today: just round about 20
High point of the ride: the sunrise and fields full of marigold flowers

The ride was followed by coffee at a rider friends 20th floor apartment. Sipping coffee , while taking in the panoramic view from the 20th floor was indeed a treat after a blood pumping 20 kilometer ride! All in all a great start to a sunday morning :)

Cycling tip for the day: the cycle tyre air pressure range is written on the cycle tyre. Always use a gauge to ensure that the tyre pressure is above the lower limit. Appropriate tyre pressure helps in less effort while riding therefore the focus shifts from effort to enjoyment! Follow this tip to enjoy your ride to the maximum.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Delhi to Kasol, Himachal Pradesh -Road Trip

Fully utilising the long weekend which came around the 2nd of Oct, I and my friends planned a trip out to the mountains! The destinition was a small little town of Kasol which lies en route to the popular hill station of Kulu and Manali in Himachal Pradesh. We had 3 days in hand (Friday to Sunday) and without wasting any time started our journey on Thursday night itself after office hours as we knew we had a long journey by road ahead of us.

We started  from Delhi and headed to Chandigarh then to Kiratpur, Bilaspur and finally to Kulu district. The whole journey took almost 15 hours taking up the most of Friday but on reaching our destination i.e., Kasol all seemed totally worth it.

Nestled amidst beautiful mountains this small little town has a majestic river , Beas, running through it.

The touristy attractions of the place are:
1) A trek up to Malana Village or Magic valley!

Malana is a small village nestled on top of a mountain which is 13 kms away from Kasol town. It takes about one and an hour hour to get there by road  and the vehicle can be taken up till a certain point after which the rest of the path needs to be trekked.  The village has its unique culture and practices. It's a steep trek up the mountains to the village and takes about one and half hours.

2) A stroll in the Kasol market which has a number of eating joints serving international cuisines and shops selling local handicrafts and woollens.
We had a scrumptious lunch at a nice, spacious restraunt located in the heart of the market called, little Italy. It serves the best Grilled trout, fresh out of the river! Must try!
Kasol Market place

Lil Italy restaurant

3) A visit to the famous Gurudwara (Sikh temple) , Manikaran Sahab.
The Gurudwara is just 6 kms away from Kasol market place and is famous for its hot springs. A tip is to visit the Gurudwara at night as the place has a mystical appeal to it at this time. Take a dip in the hot water spring, eat  Langar  (food served free of cost to the pilgrims) and listen to the sermons by God men!
Manikaran Sahab

Inside the Gurudwara

Inside the Gurudwara

4)Various camp sites and cafes along the riverside to chill at,  eat and enjoy the view.

Campsite by the riverside

River Beas

River Beas

It's a beautiful place to visit! In case the road journey seems a bit tiring then a flight from Delhi to Kulu is a possibility too! All in all it was very relaxing, refreshing trip full of new discoveries!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Care for your environment - Cycle!

My current city, Gurgaon, has taken a huge step towards making the city ecofriendly! Following the World Car Free day which fell on a Tuesday ( 22 nd Sept 2015), the Traffic Police of Gurgaon has declared every Tuesday, each week a car free day.  The car free day basically means that every resident makes a conscious decision towards the mode of commuting. Every city resident choses a public mode of transport, either a bus, the metro or car pool but avoids driving solo around the city.

The first Car Free Day in Gurgaon saw a few resident participate with a lot of roads still clogged with traffic. But it was a start! I for one picked up my Merida (bicycle) and decided to cycle to work and back. It was a total ride of 50 kilometers. I started early in the morning at 6 am and avoided the peak traffic. The morning ride was a breeze however on my way back I came across peak traffic and the roads did not have any cyclists only lanes. But all in all it was a good day where I felt like a good samaritan who did her bit for the city and it's environment! Here are some of the clicks from my ride that day.

On the Highway early in the morning

Close to my destination

Blessed with Great Weather that day

So to all those people who are fed up of the traffic situation on the road, care enough for their environment and want to be fit but dont find time for it , pick up that bike which is catching dust in one corner of your house and make a lifestyle change now!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Accessories which make a ride comfortable

Accessories which make a bike ride comfortable and fun are few basic ones! Mine just arrived! Here's a peak into my latest haul:
1. Btwin hand gloves - long rides can be tough on the palms. Holding onto  the handle bar for long can be painful. Gloves are a must for long rides.

2. Btwin padded shorts - being on the bike saddle for long can be uncomfortable no matter how good the saddle is. A good pair of shorts help!

3. A saddle bag to carry your bare minimum , keys, phone!

4. Good pair of shades for eye protection

Fastrack sport frames

5. Face Mask

6. Btwin Helmet - head protection

7. Last but not the least- My latest mouse pad for office computer
A constant reminder of how much fun cycling is cause it's a heady mix of exercise , being in the midst of nature and friends!

So this was the update on my accessories! I am fully prepared for long rides! Riding to my office to observe the World Car Free day tomorrow (22nd Sept 2015). We are responsible for our environment..let's make a change today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Merida Crossway Hybrid Bike

This post is dedicated to my new bike, the Merida Crossway 20! This weekend I took this bike out for a 50 kilometer ride and every bit of the ride was pure pleasure. This review is by a very happy customer and Merida bike is totally worth the money!

I bought my bike from a big store called CycloFit in Ghitorni , Delhi. The store has all international brands of sports bikes and honestly although I had done my research on the types and brands  of bikes to buy,  I had no idea about the Merida brand.

On evaluating different bikes in the store, I realised that Merida was offering superior quality in terms of the gear set, suspension, brakes, tires as compared to the other brands!

I finally chose the Crossway 20 model ..Merida is a cycle brand from Taiwan which makes bikes with German tecnology. Here's a peep into the are specifications..

Merida Crossway 20 (Hybrid Bike)

The Merida Crossway 20 Features are:Frame: 6061 technoformed aluminium frame with hydroformed top tube, mounts for rack, mudguards Fork: Suntour NEX 63mm travel with lockout Bars: Merida comp oversize 6200mm wide 25mm rise Stem: Adjustable A-Head - allows you to adjust height of the handle bar Gears - 3 in front and 8 at backFront Mech: Shimano Tourney Rear Mech: Shimano Acera-X Chainset: Shimano M131 48-38-28Bottom Bracket: Cartridge BearingCassette: Sunrace CS-8S 11-32Chain: Sunrace 8s
Front Brake: Promax MTD 160mm 
Rear Brake: Promax MTD 160mm 

Rims: Merida Comp D 

Front Hub: Alloy Disc 

Rear Hub: Alloy Disc 

Tyres: Cross 40c Front Cross 40c Rear

Seatpost: Suspension 

Rear Brake: Promax MTD 160mm 
Rims: Merida Comp D 

Front Hub: Alloy Disc 

Rear Hub: Alloy Disc 

Tyres: Cross 40c Front Cross 40c Rear

Seatpost: Suspension 

Rims: Merida Comp D 
Front Hub: Alloy Disc 

Rear Hub: Alloy Disc 

Tyres: Cross 40c Front Cross 40c Rear

Seatpost: Suspension 

Front Hub: Alloy Disc 
Rear Hub: Alloy Disc 

Tyres: Cross 40c Front Cross 40c Rear

Seatpost: Suspension 

Rear Hub: Alloy Disc 
Tyres: Cross 40c Front Cross 40c Rear

Seatpost: Suspension 

Tyres: Cross 40c Front Cross 40c Rear
Seatpost: Suspension 

Seatpost: Suspension 

Bike Weight - 14.9kg (52cm frame - with pedals)
The Crossway is Merida's very popular hybrid bike for daily commuting, leisure and light off-roading. It's the versatility of the Crossway which makes it so popular...and the very competitive pricing.
The Crossway 20 MD is a great first bike or run-around available through Cycle 2 Work (or on Tredz Finance).
Frame & Fork
Merida have done an excellent job on the frame. It is light so you can accelerate fast, stiff so your pedalling is efficient, and strong for daily durability. Ideal for nipping through the morning traffic or a bit of off-roading too - thanks to the 63mm travel Suntour NEX fork.
The frame on the 20-MD is also double butted, helping to shave extra weight for a more rapid ride. There are also mounts for rack and mudguards - showing it's credentials as a commuter machine.
Shimano gears and shifters are good quality and reliable, while Merida's own 700c Comp rims will keep you rolling. Promax MTD mechanical disc brakes give you great stopping power than standard rim brakes - great if you're on busy urban roads or gravel/ dirt tracks.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bicycle Basics - Types

Turning pro biker is a tumultuous journey! It's a tough journey but a fulfilling one. There will be days when you would want to give up but the thrill and adventure of the rides would keep you motivated to continue. To begin, getting a good cycle in case you are thinking of long rides is a must.

There are mainly 3 types of bicycles to choose from:

1. Road cycles, 2. Mountain cycles 3. Hybrid cycles

Road cycles: are the cycles which have light frames and slim tyres. They are basically meant to give speed and go fast. Generally have 27 gears. Most expensive as they are supposed to give good speed and quality while weighing less.
Mountain cycles: these cycles are rugged. They have huge frames, comfortable seating with bulky tires. They are divided into full suspension, front suspension and no suspension types. They are meant for off roading and do not provide much speed. Generally have 26 inch tires and 21-27 gears.
 Hybrids : these cycles combine features of both cycle types. They have light frames as that of Road cycles along with a few features from the mountain cycles such as front suspension. They generally have 27 inch tyres.

Cycle tyre size:

The cycle tyre size also matters quite a bit while choosing the right cycle. Size generally ranges from 26 - 29 inch tyres. The larger the size the more road covered per rotation.

Cycle Frames:

Steel frame is the classic type of frame. However aluminium, carbon and titanium are lightweight are very durable in comparison.

Brands to buy
1. Schwinn - The Schwinn Bicycle Company was founded by German-born-born mechanical engineer Ignaz Schwinn (1860–1945) in Chicago in 1895. 
2. Trek - Trek Bicycle Corporation is a major bicycle and cycling product manufacturer and distributor from US
3. BTWIN - France make
4. Cannondale-The Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, is an American division of Canadian conglomerate Dorel Industries that supplies bicycles.
5. Scott- American company
6. Firefox - Indian make

Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Additions to the Living Room

It's been an awesome Sunday. It started with a long, adrenaline pumping, beautiful cycle ride into the outskirts of city (40 Kms). Five of us started at 5.30 am in the morning and completed the 40 kms within 3 hours and only one pit stop. Nothing like cycling on weekends to break the drudgery and to get those sleepy body cells active again.

Early morning start

40 kms on the road

Next on my agenda this Sunday was a bit of furniture shopping.

Gradually and slowly I have added some unique pieces of furniture to my new home. Latest additions to my collection are these vintage teak wood chairs and an beautifully crafted glass table.

The chairs are comfortable, sturdy and elegant looking. I need some appropriate size cushions to complete their look.

 The table, made entirely of glass has added a bit of drama to my otherwise boring living room. The stem of the table coils up like human DNA making it very eye catching.

Another addition was a wooden table crafted in the shape of an elephant.

Love the metal detailing on the table.

My living room furniture is a heady mix of contemporary and vintage pieces and somehow they fit in very well together.

Happy with my new additions and happy that this was a Sunday well spent!