Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ready, Get, Set, Go…FLAT TYRE!

It was not all that bad as the post heading says. But the most awaited event of this month came to a successful end today. There were approximately 7000 bikers taking part in the Cyclothon event that was organized by BSA Hercules. The event was scheduled to start at 7 am and the ride was on the beautiful NICE (Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise) express highway. There were many categories of registrations for the event.

Elite Ride where all the racers participate, took off at 7 am and they all first completed their race of 65 kms (36 kms for women). The other rides including, Amateur Ride (36 Km), Green Ride and Corporate Ride (25 Km), Teen Ride (5 Km), Fun Ride (2 Km) and the 10K ride (10 Km) were scheduled after the Elite race.

So we were all geared up with our bikes and reached the venue before 7 am. Kowshik, Lakshmi, and I bicycled down from NH-4 intersection to the BIEC campus where the event was organized. We could see many people with their bikes ready to hit the road and feel the cycle ride on the NICE road. We saw people warming up, fixing the breakdowns, pinning their bib numbers to their tees and surprisingly Raghu Dixit’s stage show to entertain the whole Cyclothon fraternity with his magical/musical chords!

We waited for TS, Sunil and Sandy to join us as they had made their own arrangements to reach the place. After sometime, all of us were at the main stage listening to good performances by Raghu Dixit.

After a while, the elite riders were almost reaching their finish line so we all lined up to cheer them. We saw them coming with full speed on their lovely bikes to touch the finish line. After all of them returned, we were asked to go to the Hall – 3 and assemble so that they can start the amateur ride. All 6 of us, with lot of excitement, took our bikes and started moving towards the Hall – 3. All of a sudden, Sandy had a breakdown with his bike as the tyre alignment was totally damaged. He then tried his best to go to the people who were fixing the breakdowns in the Hall -2; but later I received a message from Sandy saying ‘I am out of the race’. Nobody could help him fix his bicycle.

With the sense of disappointment, five of us, reached the hall – 3 where all the amateur riders were ready with their bikes to start the race. We went inside and lined up in the front row. While we were discussing about the Sandy’s breakdown and how sad he would’ve felt and all that, there comes the second disappointment. It was almost the time our ride was to begin, I noticed, I had a flat front tyre. What the hell?

I was very disappointed with what happened to my bike as I was awaiting this event like mad, practicing everyday and making sure that I complete the race successfully. But! What can I do? I had to run to the hall – 2 where the mechanics were fixing minor breakdowns of many cycles. Unfortunately, they said, there is no way that they can fix the flat tyre. I got mad and was feeling very disappointed that I am going to miss the ride. I called Sandy who was at the main stage and explained him about my breakdown; he was feeling sorry about whatever happened to both of us. In the mean while, all the others were all set to go and their ride began at 9 am.

Sandy and I were sitting opposite to the main stage looking at all the cyclists who were hitting the road at the starting point. We were cheering for them and we were also feeling very sad. Not only two of us, there were many people who had breakdowns and they were feeling terrible like we were. A group of 4 participants came to us enquiring what happened to our bikes and it happened to be the same case with them that even they had breakdowns. They suggested us to go to the organizers and request for renting a cycle and go on with our ride.

We were like, oh yeah! We will certainly beg for a cycle and started walking towards the Hall – 2. At the same time, Raghu Dixit was singing ‘Neene Beku’ song from the movie ‘Psycho’ and we were like ‘Cycle beku’. We checked with few of the organizers who were giving BSA city bikes on rent for 100 Rs. But they said they cannot give it to us as it was too late and there were no bicycles left. But we heard someone saying ‘there are old cycles lying in the corner and you may want to check it out’. We ran towards it and we selected two Cycles and we decided to take them and continue our ride. The cycles were not in a good condition and more importantly, there were no gears. We thought, we should not miss this event in any case and we decided to take them and we hit the road at 9.45 Am.

It was a great sense of feeling with both of us that we finally made it. We cycled hard and we saw the beautiful NICE road welcoming us which gave us enough confidence to complete the full ride. We saw many video cameras on the way and many of the riders who were already returning from their rides on the other lane. I saw Kowshik returning back with full speed on his city bike. I never thought I would complete the ride looking at the status of my ugly-looking-poor-conditioned-rented-bike which even had very less air in its tyres. But somehow, I was moving and it was working fine. Both Sandy and I were pretty fast that we could easily overtake many of the other cyclists.

After completing about 13 kms, we saw Lakshmi having a breakdown as she had a flat tyre too! And it was in such a bad shape that the tyre had come out of the frame completely. She said she will get her bike in a truck and she asked us to continue. Actually after reaching 13 kms, we were asked to take the U turn and go back. So I was wondering if they have reduced 36 km ride to 25 kms. After a while, we met TS and all three of us started cycling together. Worst part was, we did not get water while we were on the road. All the Fosters stalls were empty and we had to manage with the one bottle of water that I had.

As soon as we saw the finish line, we increased our speed and made sure that we reached the finish point very soon. So, we completed our ride of 25 Km in about 90 minutes. Not bad huh! With the old BVK Iyengar Road – Atlas Columbia Cycles!

We returned to the main stage and collected our refreshments. Saddest part was the way they had organized the event. We did not get to eat any breakfast, no water while we were on the road and after coming back from lengthy tiresome ride, they were feeding us 2 bananas each. I do not know what they did with so many sponsors on their board.

Lakshmi had to get her bike by loading it into a van. Luckily van was made available so that all those who had breakdowns while on the road could get their bikes back. After all of us returned, the biggest problem was to carry our cycles back home. Sandy, TS and Sunil had their own arrangement to take their bike; so, only three of us were left worried about the return journey. If the cycles were fine, we would cycle down but we had two cycles with flat tyres. Then we checked with the Volvo bus driver to drop us anywhere near to Rajajinagar. Luckily, we got into the Volvo bus that was going towards GG Palya near Yeshwanthpur. Thanks to the driver and conductor, they allowed us to take the cycles inside the bus. Otherwise, we would’ve had hell of a day!

We got down at GG Palya, Kowshik decided that he will cycle down to his house which is only 4-5 kms from that point and get his car to take the other two cycles. He was pretty fast and he actually came back within an hour’s time. Cycles were fitted onto his Thule Clip-Ons and we reached his place by 3 Pm.

Well, that was our adventurous journey of the most exciting Cyclothon. In spite of the poor organizing, it was the spirit of thousands of bikers that kept the Cyclothon lively and made it a huge success! Kudos to all the participants!

We will encounter breakdowns every day, but never give up!



Manjunath Byadigere said...

Good one Srik...
The last sentence tells it all!

I saw some live clips in a news channel at about 10am and felt the organisers must have done a good job... Sorry to hear that it was not so.

The important thing was your desire to paricipate, with all the odds going against you.Never mind this time, I wish you luck for next event whatever it is!

Happy riding.
Doc Manjunath.

Narasim said...

The important thing is that despite setbacks you completed the course. As the old saying goes, every stumbling block is a stepping stone. Good for you.

Unknown said...

good one Srik! you have covered everything precisly and comprehensively...
however I would like to add the early-morning Auto-Rickshaw drive. Our excitement of the day started right from there loading our 3 bikes & ourselves in the Auto-rickshaw (one that is used to transport goods which we had arranged the previous evening). the ride was full of excitement awaiting to reach the venue and witness the grand event. Also narrating the movie story "Ohileswara" and singing "Ee dehadinda dooravaade eke aatmane... " :)
Thanks for everything Srik

Vaishnavi said...

Wow! Nice to know that you completed the race despite the flat tyre et al! That's the spirit. Surprising though that not enough water was made available. Refreshment should have been priority there. But anyways, you had a good time and that's what matters.

Raghu said...

It is interesting to note that you managed to complete the race somehow. Kudos to your spirit of participation and also my kudos to all the cyclists of Bangalore who made this event beautiful, which probably was the reason for selecting Bangalore as the venue for this inaugural event.

Wish I were a part of this event.