Backing up 5 years, While I was leaving Boston, one of my friends got a folding bike and would travel to and fro work cycling. I was encouraged to do the same, so as soon as I came back to Mumbai, India, I decided to get a similar folding bike. Decathalon was the go to place. The folding bikes were just introduced by the company BTWIN into the Indian Market. Got mine and was super elated to ride to work. I exactly used it for 3-4 months before putting it away as my work demands increased and could no longer cycle to work.
Moving forward in time to 15 days back, me and one of my friends went to cycle upto Worli from Sion. I rode my folding bike which was pretty cool & surprizingly comfortable. Came back in 2 hours with a total of approximately 15 kms covered. That ride seemed like an easy one.
Switching to the present, a day back, with my previous experience of biking/cycling being easy I thought cycling upto Nariman point from Sion wouldn’t be a big deal. How wrong was I! Me and my friends rented our bikes from Do Pahiya at Sion. Yeah! we were all first timers. We had planned starting at 6:30 am but the bike rental was available only after 7am. We were 3 people. All our others friends were meeting us at Nariman point. Another added motivation to ride till there. Using our running belts for water and essentials like Sanitizer, Money, cellphone & food we started off.
Passing along the crowded Shivaji Park with people running, exercising and cycling with wind hitting our faces and our hair flying ( not really- just added a pinch of bollywood drama). Excited and super elated we reached worli in no time. Stopped as soon as we found the car waiting for us. One of my friends exhanged her cycle so that her husband could ride too. We realized our seats were too low. Adjusted them at this point. Point to note: Seat height is extremely important to be able to ride the cycle well. And off we started again taking the Haji Ali route where I met my Dad & Sister who were also keeping a track of whether we reach Nariman Point alive!
After a short discussion one of my friends recommended the breachcandy long roude instead of the kemps corner bridge. We were extremely thankful to him. Although let’s not tell him this! 😉 Slopes are beautiful only when riding downhill. Uphill is a herculean task. Not recommended to anybody riding a bike for the first time.
We reached Nariman Point. Yes we truly did. I have proof ! Although at 8:30am. One and half hour for a 20 kms ride. Not bad considering all the breaks we took. Another 30 minutes of fun, photo session and talks with our squad. And then all set to head back.
By this time, the sun was out and our buttocks were sore but our minds hopeful. Much like we didn’t have any option but to ride back and return our rental cycles.
Pushing and pulling and thinking of my stupidity. Never thought cycling could hurt so much. Our quadriceps (Front thigh muscles) were completely jammed. I would blame the seat height ( read: in my mind the idea of riding 40 kms) We were suppose to head back and not stop in our way. Contrary to our thinking, we took numerous ones, mostly to free our muscles and give our buttocks the much needed rest.
At this point I was thinking to myself ” The only way we are able to sit on our butts the entire day is because we have soft cushy nice chairs. ” Maybe our buttocks; the strongest muscles in our body were not made for all this sitting, whether on the bike seat or the chair ” Bookmark this thought.My thought
With the sun shining down on us the distance coming back felt longer than ever. Our heads started to hurt. We thought we didn’t need electrolytes. Didn’t we?(face palm) Dehydrated, with our muscles on fire and buttocks going numb from all the friction we arrived. 20 another kms to the rental place.
No more photos- we were more than happy to return the cycles
It was amazing to get off the buttocks. That moment felt like freedom. Jelly legs or maybe not since I rode my teeny weeny folding cycle back home another kilometer. We did it ! Yes in all the stupidity and madness. But, we knew the worse was yet to come. In the shower when our butts would burn & when our muscles would feel relieved.
We had discussed our recovery routine with each other. Ice packs, Cold showers, Stretches, Foam rolling and rest.. Defintely rest since we taxed our body with something new. I often say to my clients
Avoid TOO MUCH, TOO FAST, TOO SOON to prevent injuries.
And I did the exact opposite, too much distance- 40kms. Too soon- Riding the first time without prior practice. Too fast- maybe not but the too much & too soon did enough damage. With a good recovery protocol for me- Foam rolling & Cold Shower. Our next day was relatively Painfree.
In those hours, early Sunday Morning, I was young and stupid, inspite of having the knowledge of what could happen. But gladly all that stupidity made me qualified enough to tell you’ll that this wasn’t a good idea. 3 Hour cycling old, 12 years into the physio field old & now a little wise too.
Here are first time cyclers do’s & don’ts
- Females wear a cushy pad (sanitary pads also work ) or special cycling shorts with cushions. Males – Cushy SHorts ( Very important to reduce Buttock & Seat Friction
- Wear long sleeves to avoid tanning & helmet fitting the size of your head is a must
- Always carry water, electrolyte and some food for refueling
- Wear good shoes- Sport shoes
- Adjust the seat height before you start. Generally once you are on the cycle, your feet should tip toe to the ground.
- If you can and have the control with every obstacle- pot holes, speed breakers, Lift your butt off the seat
- Keep a doable distance in mind. Last Go Slow & Enjoy the ride
Tada for now, Stay stupid but carefully! 😉