Category Archives: Cycling & Biking

Cycling Benefits, Tip’s & Tricks

I now cycle on a daily basis. It keeps me fit and furthermore it helps to ease depression. Believe me, it does. Another cycling benefit that it does is that boosts your stamina. You will find your self more active during intense physical activity. Welcome to the cycling guide for the newbies. Cycling is a good habit, pick it up and make a huge difference to your environment.

As a result of this daily activity, I have lost a considerable amount of weight. Now I not only cycle, but learn tips and tricks for riding on different terrains. Most noteworthy is the fact that cycling helps you in boosting your confidence. My social circle just went ballistic since the time I started to cycle. I joined a few local clubs and there you go! Have rider buddies all the time to give you company.

I am more confident, better in shape and more outgoing than ever before. I urge everyone to pick up this good habit and cycle at-least 5-10 Km’s day to enjoy all these benefits.

I will post articles in this section of cycling guide. So stay tuned and learn all about it from a newcomers perspective.

Chandlai lake in Jaipur

Although everyone should like birds, only some people love them. If you’re one of them, Chandlai Lake is the best spot for you to enjoy the view of a massive number of birds by sitting at the lake. Chandlai Lake is more attractive for an enormous number of migratory birds than other small resident lakes near Jaipur city. Specifically, a rare bird species known as Pied Avochet can be viewed at Chandlai Lake Jaipur. Other bird species can also be founded. Birds such as Common Red Shank, White Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover, Rudy Shelduck, Black Winged Stilt, Brown-capped Night Heron, Common Teal, Pallas’s Gul, Ruff, and many more. In this article, we would look at chandlai lake history, how to reach chandlai lake, and know a little about chandlai lake dam.

Check out this image below on my Instagram.

Alone tree standing in between Chandlai Lake

Chandlai lake history

Under the development and protection of the Rajasthan Lake ordinance 2015, Chandlai Lake would be declared a protected lake. It has over 140-year-old inland water bodies of historical and cultural significance. Chandlai Lake will become the best tourist attraction in Jaipur city if approved by the government.

Picture credit: Nimit Agarwal If you want to be a part of rides like these join my group: Cycloshot Tribe

Since 1872, Chandlai Lake Dam was established, and the waterbody is very ancient according to the official reports. The lake attracts over 1000 local and migratory birds based on the estimations of the environmental department. This is the second lake after JalMahal to be covered under the act of lake development. Various tourism-related activities would be inculcated for Chandlai Lake Jaipur. Activities such as boating, bicycling, horse riding, hiking, bird watching, fishing, water sports, etc.

However, the proposal can also focus on the conservation and preservation of soil and water, fish, vegetation, and other wildlife. This will be including any changes to the existing structure of the wetland. Additionally, the government should restrict the inlet of polluted water into Chandlai Lake. They need to maintain it and make it environmentally safe for its fauna and flora. This was a little about chandlai lake history.

How to reach Chandlai Lake?

A view from the lake

If you’re a local resident of Jaipur city, you can easily reach out to Chandlai Lake. It just only 30 KM distant from Jaipur Tonk Road, Rajasthan. It is located near the four-lane National Highway 12 from taking a right turn under the overbridge at Shivadaspura. Chandlai Lake is the best spot for birding and can spend half a day with the people who stay nearer to Jaipur city. This is the home for different migratory birds. The best time to visit the location is preferable in the winter season. At Chandlai Lake, various birds can be seen, and no doubt about experiencing the natural beauty especially for bird lovers. If you’re a nature lover, Chandlai Lake Jaipur is an unexplored place, and you would definitely love the destination for its peace and beauty.

Visit Chandlai Lake and seize into its Bird Spotting

If you’re the one who wants to enjoy the beauty of nature and spend most of the time with nature, Chandlai Lake is one of the best attractive destinations. This lake populates with different kinds of species of birds, and you would enjoy the birds chirping and soothing sounds. You can visit alone or with family or friends to see the massive number of birds at one spot. Having said that, these words would not be enough for describing the nature of Chandlai Lake.

Chandlai Lake is a heaven for everyone to look out on the rows of birds on the lake. Especially the nature lovers have a feast for their eyes and feel pleasure by seeing them. In February month, Flamingos visit this lake as migratory birds, and the scenery of birds at the lake could be an amazing view.

Members from Cycloshot tribe at Chandlai Lake

Chandlai Lake is looking like a quite scenic destination as it has dry forests and hills ringing around. The water seems to be uncontaminated and monsoon run-off from the wooded hills. The lake might give many surprises because it has attracted more vivid kinds of birds like Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pintail, Pochard, Common Teal, Greenshank, Common Redshank, etc.

Chandlai Lake is the best destination to enjoy the nature of beauty along with the birds by sitting alone or with family or friends. It’s a very popular bird haven. This place will ensure to grab the opportunity to mind your own business without any bothering. The best visiting time for Lake is between November and early March.

List of migratory birds seen at the lake

From Jaipur city, it’s effortless to reach Chandlai Lake and have to experience the beauty of nature. It’s an eye feast for bird lovers to view the massive number of birds at one destination. There are various kinds of species of birds that have visited this place, such as:

  • Little Cormorant
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Moorhen
  • Purple Moorhen
  • Common Coot
  • Little Grebe
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Spot-Billed Duck
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Purple Heron
  • Grey Heron
  • Spotted Red Shank
  • Common Red Shank
  • White Wagtail
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Black-Winged Stilt
  • Brown Capped Night Heron
  • Common Teal
  • Ruff
  • Pallas’s Gull
  • Pied Avochet

A video journey to the lake!

Very seldom I go on a motorcycle to this place, this was one of those times

When you want to go to a place that should surprise you with its fantastic view, drive to the Lake. This lake is the best tourist destination for nature lovers and takes into a scenic of the Oasis of Flamingos in Jaipur city. You will enjoy the group of a variety of birds and feel pleasure at the lake while visiting the location alone or accompanied by your friends or family.

If you need to know anything more about Chandlai Lake in Jaipur or chandlai lake dam, drop in a comment. I will get back to your ASAP.

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Sun Temple in Jaipur

If you are a morning person then Jaipur has a lot to offer. There are a lot of places in and around Jaipur that you can visit in the mornings to get a spectacular view of the pink city. Sun temple in Jaipur is one of the places that early risers love. Suryan Mandir or better called the Sun Temple in Jaipur, Rajasthan is the first man-made structure in the city to get the rays of the sun every morning. Surya Mandir in Jaipur as called by the locals is located on the route of Galta temple which is also known as monkey temple. In this article, I would elaborate in detail everything that you need to know including the sun temple Jaipur timings & what please you can visit around the sun god temple in Jaipur.

History of Sun temple in Jaipur

Sun temple as seen from a nearby hill

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and his courtier Diwan Rao Kripa Ram played a significant role in constructing this temple in the 18th century. The temple stands on a rocky outcrop in Jaipur and is a part of the Aravali hills. This is one of the most beautiful heritage temples across the city. I love coming here in the morning as you get a spectacular city view.

If you notice the temple in situated or rather built on the eastern side of the city. This is because the sun rises from the east as we all know.

Furthermore, Jaipur city is built on the guidelines of Sthapatya Veda. This is an ancient system of knowledge that involves the connection between the people and the places where they stay and work. This is also similar to the concept of Feng Shui.

How to reach Surya Mandir in Jaipur

There are a lot of ways to reach the temple. Let me list each one of them.

  • Easily accessible via public transport from all around the city. Local buses are the cheapest option although they are time-consuming considering the city traffic.
  • If you are multiple visitors then it is best to hire a cab to the temple. This is better than traveling in crowded buses especially at these COVID times.
  • Another way of visiting this temple is the fun way which is on a cycle. If you are fond of cycling. You get a cycle on rent and head towards the temple in the morning.

The reason why I mentioned the cycle is because of the fact that there are many trails around the temple on which you can ride your mountain bikes. No road bikes, no hybrids this is a place specifically for mountain bikers.

In fact, the Sun temple in Jaipur is a paradise for mountain bikers. So either you can connect with me for this or check out different cycling groups in Jaipur.

From Galta gate to Surya Mandir

Whatever means of commute you take you are going to reach Galta gate first. From the gate, you need to climb a cobbled pathway all the way to the temple.

This cobbled pathway is 0.71 km long and has an incline grade of 3.5%. This info I wanted to add incase you are a cyclist and want to come to the temple on your bike.

Along the pathway, you will see a lot of small temples. Each one has its own significance. When I go I make a point of spending time in each one of them. Especially if you get a chance to visit the temple in the morning be a part of the “Aarti” that happens. It is mesmerizing.

Sun temple Jaipur timings

The temple opens up at 6 AM and closes at 7 PM. When we go early we usually reach before 7 AM as we do not intend to miss the morning Aarti.

Even though Sun temple Jaipur timings are from morning 6 to evening 7, this depends on the season too. In winters make it an hour later in the morning and in evening come back an hour early. This is for obvious reasons that the nights are longer and days are short.

This place is beautiful but it is packed with wild animals. The temple priests have claimed to have seen leopards and panthers late in the evening. So just make sure that you are back before the dark and don’t stay till late.

Panaromic view of Jaipur city

From this temple, you get to view the most mesmerizing view of the pink city Jaipur. Just to see this view I go to Surya mandir in Jaipur very often.

Trails around the temple

Trails around the temple

This place is ideal for mountain bikers and hikers. It has an abundance of wild trails around which are fun to hike and ride on.

These trails are amazing and even though it gets you a little warmed up and makes you sweat they’re worth it.

Each trail takes you to a point from where you can get the panoramic city view.

For mountain bikers as I said it’s heaven as the trails are fun to ride on around the sun god temple in Jaipur.

Riding on the trails around the temple

Summing up about Sun temple in Jaipur

This is a place which is ideal for tourists as this place is away from city noise and hassle of touts, beggars or peddlers. You are going to enjoy the place if you are a mountain lover and if you love spending time in peace.

We got to Surya mandir in Jaipur almost every week with our cycling group as we get to witness peace with adrenaline-filled trail riding.

Furthermore, if you love mountains you are going to love this place.

Surya Mandir Video Log

I made a vlog for the temple recently with my cycling buddies. Embedding the link below. Watch and share with your friends and please do not forget to subscribe.

My Channel: Your likes, comments and shares are what keeps me going and my channel

I got to the sun god temple in Jaipur frequently. So, if there are any questions that you may have, please drop them in the comment section below. I would love to answer them. Thank you for reading the article and I welcome you with an open heart to my city.

Do you have wrist pain or finger numbness while cycling?

Dealing with pain areas while cycling can be tough. This article is specific about dealing with pain in your wrist while cycling. Wrist pain while cycling is very common and most of the cyclists that I meet have gone through this at some point in time. Some like me also encounter handlebar palsy, which relates to your fingers going numb. The first time when my fingers got numb while cycling was actually funny. Never experienced it before. This was on my 300 KM brevet ride.

Let us get to the bottom of it.

This started happening to me when I got into brevet races. The 200 KM brevet was fine and was less tiring for my hands. However, in further races numbness crept in. Especially in my middle finger, ring finger, and pinky.

Now, this was new to me so I relaxed for a few minutes took a break, and then started again. Just because of this numbness that I was going through I took more breaks than usual in my brevet.

I knew about the saddle soreness and back pain while cycling, as I wrote about them and I knew how to counteract them. However, for this numbness, I had no clue how to make it go away.

So before we get to the ways to prevent this let us understand what exactly is this?

Handlebar palsy

Handlebar palsy causes a lot of discomfort when on long rides. PC: Trilok Provelo

For people who might be wondering what is the meaning of palsy, here is the definition.

Definition of “Palsy” as in Merriam Webster

This article has a lot of inputs from a lot of doctors as well from the cycling community, so here is what they have to say about handlebar palsy.

Fingers numb while cycling is a result of compression of Ulnar nerve, hence it is also called as Ulnar palsy.

This is caused due to compression or hyperextension of the Ulnar nerve which enervates  your fingers. This tends to cause a state of numbness in your fingers.

Ulnar nerve in your hand which causes this palsy

Hand pain while cycling is very common especially with cyclists riding long distances on the flat handlebar or on the drops.

If you have this quite often our team of doctors who are also cyclists would advise you to take immediate medical help.

This can cause problems in hand movement in the future if not taken care of and it does take a lot of time to get resolved.

However, we would be discussing few measures that you can take to counteract this while on your ride.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Let us look at the diagram that I shared earlier. If you notice there are two nerves that are mentioned. The one we talked about was the Ulnar nerve. The second one in discussion here is the Median nerve.

Median nerve just on the left of Ulnar nerve

The syndrome mentioned above in the heading is caused by compression of Median nerve which in turn leads to hand pain while cycling.

This is characterized by numbness or tingling in the fingers and with me it especially happens in the ring and middle finger.

If you encounter this please seek medical help. This palsy will not only put you in an uncomfortable position but also will have an effect on your performance.

Wrist pain while cycling? Not to worry. Let us look at the preventive measures

1. A good bike fit

I would be honest with you all. This is the cause of everything that happens bad when you are on a bike when it comes to pain and aches.

I wrote an article about back pain when your are cycling long distances, check this article out. I have explained in detail about the bit fit which needs to be done.

One of the prime reasons for wrist pain while cycling is putting too much weight of your body on the handlebar.

Just imagine the amount of weight that your hand can actually hold vs the weight that you are putting on your wrist due to poor bike fit.

So no more low handlebar, bad stem height, high saddle post and no smaller or larger frames. Get a proper bike fit done and then ride.

2. Wrist pain while cycling due to poor quality of bar tape

This does have a great effect on getting the pressure off your hands. It might sound a minor trick and you might think that it might not have that great effect in increasing the pain in hands while cycling, but it’s the other way around.

I rode on my bike with a cheap bar tape that was company fitted. Then I got it changed to expensive but very comfortable bar tape.

Yes, it made a lot of difference, my rides were more comfortable and pain in hands while cycling was almost gone.

I have seen some professional cyclists putting gel and double bar taping on handlebars, it does again makes a difference as per them. This is what a professional rider Trilok had to say.

3. Padded gloves are a must

New riders might not invest in gloves, however, gloves does help in reducing pain in hands while cycling.

The functionality of gloves is to protect your hands in case you fall from your bike.

However, the padded gloves reduce the pressure which comes directly on your Ulnar nerve. This in turns reduces the pain in hands while cycling.

Especially if you find your fingers getting numb while cycling a good quality padded glove will help you. So I would advise you to invest in getting good quality gloves and none of that cheap quality stuff.

4 .Keep shifting your hand position

I always do this and it helps. Sometime I don’t even grab the handle bar when riding I just tuck my hands in my jersey and just pedal.

With practice I am sure a lot of cyclists might be riding without even need to grab the handle bar on an empty straight road.

When talking about road bikes, I usually change my hand positions to drops, or hood or top. Sometimes changing the hand position also depends on the kind of track/road you are riding.

So just keep changing your hand positions and you will be fine.

5. Relax your hands and body

I have seen some cyclists holding the handlebar and drop as if they are taking out their frustration. I know at inclines you might grip your handlebars a little too tight but a nice way of climbing incline would be resting your hands on the handle or bar top.

This reduces the extra pressure on your wrist.

Do not grip the handle hard rather keep the grip relax. Also, try to keep your upper body relax too.

Reducing wrist pain while cycling in a nutshell

Handlebar palsy or numbness can really be annoying when riding long distances. However, if you keep in mind the above mentioned 5 tricks you would enjoy your ride without hiccups.

If still your fingers are getting numb while cycling I would recommend to seek immediate medical help. If you have any questions related to this article please drop them in the comments below.

I will try to answer and attend your comment as soon as possible. Happy riding folks!

MTB Himalaya 2019 – Trilok Kumar Provelo’s adventure escapade

Trilok Kumar Provelo, this is not the first time this name has popped up on my blog. Some of you who have been with me from the start must have heard about him. I wrote an article earlier about him when he cycled continuously for 24 hours. This time he almost slew MTB Himalaya 2019. There has been a recent surge in the number of MTB riders in India. Now, Trilok Provelo is a well-known name in road cycling. Most noteworthy is that he is also a founding member of Jaipur’s now biggest athletic community who loves clicking their pictures when working out. Himalayan mountain biking is the toughest bike race in the country. The fact that in the year 2011 104 MTB riders started the race but only 42 could finish makes me believe this.

Take a moment and look at our cycloshot tribe group in Jaipur. In case you want to join us please do, connect with any of the admins mentioned on cycloshot tribe page. Better yet connect with me. Wink wink!

Now, before we go further please subscribe to my YouTube channel. Click here and watch the videos of my recent trip to Ladakh.

What is MTB Himalaya?

MTB Himalaya is an annual mountain biking race organised by HASTPA. HASTPA is Himalayan Adventure sports & tourism promotion Association. jointly by Hero Cycles and Himachal Tourism. This race was started way back in the year 2005 and is being held every year since then. Officially this race is for 8 days, which consist of 6 race days, one day rest and one flag off day and a small ride. Let’s take a look at the stages one by one in which Trilok Provelo participated and became the first rider from Rajasthan to finish it.

Stage-1 Balkhus Epiphany Day-1

MTB Himalaya Stage-1

With difficulty level moderate this Himalayan mountain biking stage 1 needs MTB riders to cover a distance of 64.5 km. Elevation gain is moderate, consider it a warm-up ride for MTB riders. The race starts from Dak Bagla and ends at Gada Kuffer. Elevation jumps to 2480 meters and minimum goes till 1650 meter. This stage has two pitstops or feed stations.

Stage-2 Sutlej Symphony Day-2

MTB Himalaya Stage-2

The second stage is a bit more on the tougher side. This day is scheduled from Gadakufar and ends at Kungash. Maximum altitude being 2502 meters and the lowest being 876 meters. The second day will test your skills. The distance covered is 87.1 km. Himalayan mountain biking is tough and this race makes you believe it. This stage has three pitstops.

Stage-3 Daruk Vana Day-3

MTB Himalaya Stage-3

This is again one of the toughest section of the race. Furthermore, with over 2810 meters elevation and minimum elevation being 1505 meter, you need to cover a distance of 72.5 km. The flag off is from Kungash and ends at Gada Gushani. This stage has three pitstops. This stage is also called as the queen’s stage.

Day-4 is the rest day.

Stage-4 Divine Lap Day-5

MTB Himalaya Stage-4

The stage-4 of MTB Himalaya gives you a little relief. Difficulty levels of this stage are less than the last two stages. The maximum elevation is around 3000 meters and the minimum is 969 meters. The flag off is from Gada Gushani and ends at Pandoh, covering a distance of 72.2 km. This stage has three pitstops.

Stage-5 Stairway to Heaven Day-6

MTB Himalaya Stage-5

Similar to stage-1 the difficulty level is a bit less. This race starts from Pandoh and ends at Barot. Distance covered is 89.2 km. The highest elevation being 2078 meters and the lowest being 840 meters. This stage again has 3 pit stops.

Stage-6 Into the wild Day-7

MTB Himalaya Stage-6

This is the last day of the race and most noteworthy the last stage. The flag off is from Barot and the race ends at Bir. The distance covered is around 58.2 km with a max elevation of 2700 meter and a minimum of 1370 meter. This stage again has three pitstops.

Unfortunately, while writing this article I found my self on the MTB Himalayan website. The website has a little old and outdated information as far as the stages are concerned. The latest MTB Himalaya only had 6 stages as compared to a website which shows 8 stages.

Nevertheless, Trilok Kumar Provelo has once again proved to an outstanding contender for this event. He became the first cyclist from Rajasthan to finish this tiresome and brutal race. Along with Trilok Kumar Provelo, MTB Himalaya became 3rd MTB event in the world to complete 15 editions. I wish them all the best and hats off to HASPTA, Himanchal tourism and Hero cycles for keeping this intact and making it happen every year. Check out a few more pictures by Trilok below.

Check out why cyclists are crazy?

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Tips to Get Back into Cycling After a Long Break

Getting Back to Cycling Routine

God, it’s been a while since I was on the saddle. I stopped cycling post the 400 KM’s brevet which I had to quit as a result of the strained ligament. I have been on rest ever since the event. Cycling routine is fun, no doubt about it, however, once you take a break it is abundantly difficult to get back on your cycling schedule. I rode my bike after a gap of a month today. I immediately knew what was I missing in the first few Km’s. Here is what I figured outpost riding after a month’s time. I am also going to be posting a Vlog for this, check out my YouTube Channel.

Stop Giving Excuses, Start Your Cycling Routine

There have been a few Monday’s gone by when I told my self that I am going to start riding my bike. While getting back on the saddle won’t be easy, it’s certainly possible. The first step in the process is to get rid of any of the excuses as to why you haven’t started riding the bike. Concentrate on what you can do right now. If you can only ride two days a week for 30 minutes at a time, then that’s your starting point. Try not to focus on speed or mileage at first. Pump up your tires, oil your chain and focus on having fun again. You’ll get back into the swing of things soon enough. I rode for 3 hours for a damn 50 km ride today. I got my bike services and now ready to rock again.

Make a List

I started riding the bike because I wanted to lose weight. Since then quite a few pointers added in my list of why I wanted to cycle. I wanted to save money commuting to the office, losing weight, having fun or challenging yourself with brevet rides, etc. Thinking about these things reminds you of all the great things about the sport and serves as motivation during those days when you don’t feel like riding. I like did not make a list, although I thought about all these things which got me back on my bike.

Call Your Ride Buddies

Riding solo is tough, I know this because I have done a lot of solo rides last year. Check out my STRAVA. A better way of getting back to cycling routine is to go out with your ride buddies or join group rides of your local cycling clubs. Socializing on the bike with friends or like-minded cyclists at a local club is a great way to have fun and take your mind off the difficulty. You’ll have good conversations, challenge your friends to a few good-spirited sprints and get to hang out afterward at your favorite local “Chai” shop. This not only can make it easy to slip back into the cycling routine, but you’ll also get fit more quickly by forcing yourself to hold that wheel of the guy or gal in front of you.

Set Realistic Goals

You do not have to go for a century ride the day you start riding after a long break. That is never going to happen, and will also elongate your resting period. Keep your goals simple. It could be something as simple as riding three days per week. Commuting to work one way by bike or tackling a long weekend ride with a friend. Once you accomplish these goals, set a few that are more difficult to conquer. Furthermore, will motivate you to ride a little further. Before you know it, you’ll be aiming for a Gran Fondo.

Reward Yourself

When was the last time you had a chilled beer after your bike ride? Don’t just keep on packing carbs without cycling. Go for a ride and then pack carbs, you will feel good and the beer will be worth it. Rewarding yourself for your hard work can help with that initial motivation. Buy cycling stuff that you always wanted to buy, but stopped your self from getting it.

I know it’s tough to ride back again after a long pause. However, if I can start, so can you. Read the points and follow exactly what I wrote, it’s all coming through my experience. I am sure you are going to post your cycling pictures soon.

Let me know in case you have a different perspective when going back to your cycling routine. I would love to include your inputs in this article.

In case you love showing off your cycling picture, read my article on cycling hashtags that you can use to get more people to like and watch your picture.

Tips for cycling during the night.

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How to train & complete 300 Km Brevet

I literally can’t sleep right now. My 300 Km Brevet is tomorrow, and I started writing this article a night before my ride. I do not know if this happens with everyone, but before any cycling event sleep tends to vanish. I recently did 200 Km Brevet. In my last article, I wrote about the tips and tricks to complete a 200 km Brevet ride. Let me take you through my journey of completing a 300 Km Brevet ride. Now, these rides are tough, however with a little practice and planning these rides can be a cakewalk. 300 km cycling is the second ladder to being a super randonneur.

Preparing for 300 Km Brevet

Once you do a 200 Km Brevet your mind and body automatically adjust and get acquainted with another 100 plus Km for your next brevet. 300 km cycling is tough, but not too tough if you prepare yourself.

I do short rides of 40 to 50 km every alternate day and on the weekend I do around 100 km. This keeps my body and mind prepared for this upcoming 300 km cycling event. So you were to ask me how did I prepare and what schedule I followed? I was doing short rides during the week and longer rides of 100 Km and more on weekends. 

Make sure you are training pretty good for the 300 km. Do a long ride for around 100–150 km and see how you feel. I already did 200 km so this part was covered for me.

Things to pack for 300 Km Brevet

Now considering the fact the I am doing brevets in the winter season, there are few things that you might need to consider having before you start the ride.

Even though in my last article I elaborated on how you can prepare and what to carry on brevet rides, let me tell you in a nutshell what do you actually need to carry.

  1. Front and rear lights (required by ACP)
  2. A good quality helmet
  3. Backup front and rear lights
  4. Reflective vest (required by ACP)
  5. Spare tire tubes
  6. Spare Chain
  7. A portable pump which can be attached to your bike’s frame
  8. Extra batteries for any electronic device you depend on (phone, GPS, etc.)
  9. Energy bars in case I get hungry during the ride
  10. Electrol powder/Glucon D
  11. Two water bottles
  12. ID cards and some cash (That too in change)

**Require by ACP: Mandatory things need to be carried as advised by Audax Club Parisien

In addition to these items, you need to carry anything else peculiar to your needs. Most randonneurs will carry sun-screen, and many will carry Tums, for the stomach problems that are common on long, hot rides, as well as a chamois cream, Ibuprofen, and anything else that makes long days in the saddle more comfortable.

We had a discussion today on our Brevet group about carrying eye drops for dryness. Carry it if your eyes get dry on the ride. Or else go for a cycling shade that covers your eyes completely.

The Ride Day

I got up at 4:30 AM. The flag-off was at 6:00 AM, and you at least need to reach 30 minutes before to get your brevet card and attend the briefing by ride marshall. These things are important especially if you are not doing brevet from your local club and traveling to another city to do brevets. Without clear route instruction, you will be lost.

We started at 6 AM in the morning and headed to Jaipur Sikar highway. Your body does not get too tired and the cool breeze surely helps a lot. After riding for almost about two hours, we hit our first control point.

First Control Point of 300 Km Brevet

The first control point was on Jaipur Sikar road. We rode with little effort but swiftly. Our marshal vehicle was already at the control points. We had breakfast and then headed our way to the Sikar Bikaner highway.

I would suggest not taking long breaks at control points. Try to limit your breaks, as your body cools down, the lethargy kicks in. Keep your halts short and start your ride to the next control point. 

Second Control Point of 300 Km Brevet

By the time we reach our second control point it was almost noon. As usual, our marshal vehicle was there. Tiredness does not kick in till the time you cross 200+ KM in a 300 km brevet.  After doing a couple of brevets I think the distance has got nothing to do with you getting tired. It is just your mind that gets tired.

The last leg of the ride is the one that is most tiring. Till the time you keep your brain keeps functioning, and it tells you that your body is not tired, your body basically does not get tired.

Third & Final Control Point for 300 km brevet

So, at exactly 150 km turn point we had our third and final control point. It took almost 8 hours to reach halfway through. Riding till the turning point is easy compared to returning back to the finish point. This I realized after having 3 flats and a busted tire. A puncture kit, spare tubes, and a spare tire, this is what I recommend that you should carry. Other riders might or might not help, like in my case, I got plenty of help from the fellow riders.

Heading back to the starting point

Heading back from the final control points in endurance rides are tough. The reason why I say it’s tough is that the body tries to take control of your mind and force you to make multiple stops.

You can make stops, however, keep a check on the clock. A firm determination and making up your mind for the last leg of the ride is essential. Ever thought while working out when your body does not listen to you when you get tired, it’s the mind which gets your body back on track. If you believe that this is something you should achieve, your body will have no choice but to align itself with your mind.

This is exactly what I did. We finished our brevet at around 10 PM, with few hours still remaining. As soon as you reach your finish point, the body rejuvenates and you no longer feel tired. I guess it’s all in the mind. So this was all about the 300 km brevet or 300 km cycling which I completed successfully. Thank you for reading, if you have any questions please drop in a comment below. I would love to answer any questions you might have. 

200 Km Brevet – Preparation & Completion

I just completed my 200 km brevet ride last Sunday i.e. 4th November 2018. In this article, I would take you through my journey of preparing and completing my 200 km brevet ride. First, let’s get familiar with few terminologies which will come in handy in understanding the concept of brevets. This article is an extension of my previous article about long-distance cycling. Let me also shed light on Audax India, the body that organizes these rides. I would also mention how to recover from a 200 km brevet ride. A 200 km cycle ride is easy if you prepare for it and layout a strategy for yourself. We will also look at the 200 km brevet time limit set by Audax.

Note: Daily running can boost your stamina for long-distance cycling.

Few Important Terms

What is Audax India? Audax India is a cycling sport in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a pre-defined time limit. Audax is not a competitive sport. So all that matters is to complete the distance in a set amount of time.

What are BRM/Brevets? BRM stands for “Brevet des Randonneurs Mondiaux” which is obviously French.

If you translate this in google translator it means “Patent of the world hikers“. In simple terms within Audax India, there are cycling events called BRM. Randonneuring is long-distance Endurance Cycling with rides of 200, 300, 400, 600, and 1000 km called Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs).

What is Randonneuring? Randonneuring (also known as Audax in the UK, Australia, and Brazil) is a long-distance cycling sport with its origins in audax cycling. In randonneuring, riders attempt courses of 200 km or more, passing through predetermined “controls” (checkpoints) every few tens of kilometers.

Who becomes Super Randonneur? This title is earned by any rider who completes a series of brevets ( 200, 300, 400, and 600 KM) in the same year. A medal is also available for those holding this title. Riders should provide supporting documentation to their brevet organizer, as well as payment.

Check out my Instagram post below.

The medals looks like these

How did I prepare for 200 Km Brevet?

Nobody just gets off their couch to do a 200 km cycle ride. You need to train to ride long distances, train for power, and train your core. Post the ride you need to recover from a 200 km brevet ride as well. This needs preparation.

Assuming you can ride a maximum distance of 100 kilometers, preparing for your first 200 km cycle ride should take at least 4-8 weeks.

Brevet is not all about cycling and fitness. It requires riders to be mentally strong. An average rider can complete 200 Km Brevet easily. You do not require a great deal of fitness level for a 200 km cycle ride.

All the ride demand is for you to be mentally tough. Although I cycle regularly and once you start cycling regularly brevet becomes easy. However, doing a 20 to 30 KM haul and attempting 200 Km Brevet is another.

I started with a few 50 km rides and slowly and gradually build my stamina for a couple of 100 km rides. This boosted my confidence and I knew that I was ready to do this brevet.

People will tell you to follow strict regimes and diet plan, however this, not a mammoth task as you might imagine. Again stressing that an average fitness person can do this very easily.

Preparing for 200 Km Brevet – 4 tips

Prepare Slowly

An average fitness enthusiast can easily do this challenge. However, you can’t just jump from the bed one fine day and do a 200 km cycle ride if you are a beginner. Give yourself time, I prepared myself for one complete month before taking up this brevet challenge. For beginners, I would suggest getting into a long-haul cycling routine at least two months before the brevet. This would help your body to cope up with the physical stress.

Plan a Strategy

Usually, the authorized representative from Audax India in your city will have the planning done before even Audax opens the registration. For e.g. I knew the route already before I registered. We were supposed to go to Kishangarh and then head back to Jaipur.

A route that was effectively planned by the Audax marshals. They planned it through “ridewithgps“. The route was well planned and had a clear explanation and marking of control points throughout the route.

Check the route here

Now, if you are a regular cyclist and if you are doing 200 Km Brevet with a group, you might have to keep a check on your speed. I was averaging 30 km/hour before I had few flats. Assume an average speed of 22 km/hour (14mph) for a group of riders, and calculate the total time of riding the planned route. 

Plan a rest stop approximately for every 1.5 hours of riding, with minimum of 10 minutes of rest time per stop. Add one big rest stop of 20 minutes for lunch and stretching in the middle of the ride. Add up the total time of riding the route, rests, and lunch.

Then add 1 hour of spare time for mechanical, longer rests, and unforeseen problems. The total time is the most probable time of completing your long ride.

Prepare your mind

I realized that more than physical preparation, you need to prepare yourself mentally for this gruesome challenge. 200 km brevet time limit is 13:30 hours. You need to finish the ride in the time allotted to you. In my 200 km brevet, my body was in auto mode pedaling continuously. The challenge was to fight the boredom. An idle mind can be a deterrent to your success since it’s very easy to start thinking about how much more you have to ride, how tired you are, how boring this stretch of road is.

To keep my mind occupied I did below mentioned things (Few of them are hilarious)

  • Keep talking to other participants in the brevets.
  • Analyze the road quality and look for optimal safe lines for your wheels. (White lines on the highways)
  • Be extra cautious and pay attention to the traffic, this isn’t Europe where cyclists are given a priority on roads.
  • Look at the little details like trees, bushes, insects. This is especially helpful on a long route. Think of something which fascinates you. (if you know what I mean :))
  • Think and visualize your next stop point and keep at least a distance of 50 km between stops.
  • Listen to music but at low volume and with one earbud only. (This is quite unsafe, so avoid it if possible)

Prepare for unwanted stops and mechanical failures

Even though the 200 km brevet time limit is 13:30 hours but still there are bottlenecks that can prevent you from timely completion of the ride. This is by far the most important part when it comes to ultra-cycling. You need to have your bike in top condition. You need to set up your bike, clothing, tools, food, spares, etc. Let’s talk about these things one by one. Road bikes are quite unpredictable when it comes to flat tires and mechanical failures when you ride on Indian roads.

About your bike and other essentials

Now when we have done preparing our mind and stops on our route the next thing which comes is the selection of your bike and what to carry on the ride.

Bike Selection

200 km brevet or for that matter any brevet can be done on any type of human powered bike. It can be a Road bike (Which is easiest), it can be a Hybrid bike (A little tough) and a mountain terrain bike. (Toughest)

It all depends on the fitness state of the participants and the rider’s mental strength. I did this on a road bike equipped with hybrid bike tires. (Polygon Stratos S2) It’s ideal to train on the same bike that you’ll be riding on the long ride. Your body will adjust to the bike, and you’ll have time to adjust everything to work as well as it should.

Bike Fit

Your bike should be well fitted, and you shouldn’t have any pain during riding. Just make sure that whichever bike you ride, at the time of purchase make sure that the bike shop does a proper bike fit for you. If you don’t like to fiddle with the bike, every decent bike shop will be able to do a good bike fit for you.

Service the bike

I talked with a lot of riders, a day before the ride started. Most of them got their bike services a week before the ride. That way they can take care of any adjustments that they might identify during the test rides. 

Check that the wheels are ok, tires and tubes are in good condition (or replace them), check and service or replace cables and brake pads if the worn, chain is in good condition, etc. Most of the rides say a big “NO” for getting the bike serviced a day or two before the ride. Not recommended!

Clothes

Ride in the same bib shorts and cycling jersey that you trained in, even if old, you are comfortable in them. Plan to carry a base layer and a foldable rain jacket in one of your pockets, so that you can layer if you get hit by cold or rain. Carry an extra pair of socks in a zip lock bag – after a rain, put on dry socks, then the plastic bag over the dry socks and the wet socks over the bag.

This way your feet will be dry and you’ll be able to continue riding. Helmet and cycling eyewear goes without saying, no need to describe them. Most important, please wear a reflector jacket or a reflector belt, always remember safety comes first.

Food and liquids 

You need to keep yourself hydrated. Carry two water bottles and a spare one in your backpack if you can keep one. I carried two water bottles. Plan to have a small sandwich/fruit every hour. You should carry enough stuff for the first 4 hours, then you can replenish at control points along the way. In the 200 km brevet, we control point at 50 km, and then at 100 km, we got plenty of hydration support and refreshments. Remember that you need to recover from a 200 km brevet the next day as well. Being hydrated helps a lot.

Audax India marshals are helpful at control points only as this is a self-supported ride.

Spares and tools

Carry two tubes and a portable pump. A portable toolkit with a chain breaker is a must. Learn how to break and connect a chain with your chain breaker ahead, practice on any old and discarded chain.

Have a front (white) and rear (red) light on your bike, with fresh batteries. Also, you need to have your rider number properly displayed at the front and back. I had two flats while coming back from the 100 km control point. Luckily the riders on the way had pumps to fill the air and puncture kit.

My biggest mistake was not to take these essentials things. In my next BRM of 300 KM, I carried all these essentials things.

Other Important Stuff

Money and ID, several strips of adhesive bandages, 4-6 pain pills (ibuprofen or similar), glucose tablets. ORS and electoral packet are essentials too. Magnesium powder packets are good for preventing the onset of cramps.

I carried my cell phone to record my ride on STRAVA. I will also recommend keeping a battery bank to charge your cell phone in case it runs out of juice. My GoPro was my companion along with other riders, which I charged with the battery bank that I carried.

What is the 200 km brevet time limit?

200 km brevet time limit as per Audax is 13 hours and 30 minutes in total. So you need to make sure that you complete the 200 Km cycle ride within this stipulated time frame else you would stand as DNF. DNF is an acronym for did not finish is event terminology. I complete it in approximately 11 hours coz I had a few flats on the way back.

How to recover from a 200 km brevet?

Recovering from a 200 km brevet is easy. Although it does not strain like the other brevets like 300 KM, 400 KM, or 600 KM and above, it surely gives some soreness & pain in your legs. If you are not used to long-distance cycling then it could be a problem and create un-easiness the next day. I would advise you to ignore the pain and for a short ride of 30 to 40 KM. I did the same and post my ride I was feeling wonderful. The logic is the same when you go to a gym and do heavy exercises after warm-up, your body needs to warm down as well. This is why we have warm down exercises in place. Similarly, you need to recover from a 200 km brevet as well.

Summing Up

So that was everything about the 200 km cycle ride that I attempted and completed. Always remember brevets or for that matter, any long-distance cycling is not about how amazingly fit you are but about how strong is your will to complete the ride.

If you have any questions related to the 200 km brevet time, recover from a 200 km brevet or Audax India, please leave them in the comments. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Best Triathlon Watches This Year

“6 Best Triathlon Watches” sold in the Year 2019

I recently started running along with cycling. I wanted to get a smartwatch which can record more than what STRAVA records in my mobile phone. Few of my friends who are triathlete introduced me to the world of triathlon watches. The question was which One?

For people who are new to triathlon, let me explain what does it mean. In simple terms, Triathlon is an activity that combines swimming, cycling, and running in one event. In order to track your stats be it the distance, speed, cadence heart rate and even altitude you need a top-notch gear which corresponds to triathlon watches.

There are many smartwatch manufacturers in the market in the sports domain. However, only a few give you important body stats which amalgamated with top-notch technology.

Let try to see the top manufacturers such as Nike, Casio, Timex, Suunto, Polar, and Garmin, and their ranking as per the user feedback which I took from different sports social platforms. So let’s take a look at the best watches for this year.

Garmin forerunner 935

I have a lot of friends who compete into triathlons on a regular basis. Most of them are inclined towards Garmin. Why would they not, let’s look at the impressive specifications of this triathlon watch which has inbuilt GPS.

  • Watch mode batter backup: 14 Days
  • Weight: 49 grams
  • GPS enabled battery backup: 1 day

Not the above, but it comes with removable bands which you can regularly change. This comes in handy when you are competing in events that require you to wear their customized bands.  The advantage with this watch is that it comes with top-notch measurement metrics. Furthermore, with a built-in biomechanical measurement and heart rate monitoring, Garmin has proven once again that they are the leaders in the market.

The only disadvantage that I could find was the watch being too expensive. However, on the contrary, it’s a onetime investment and that too worthwhile for serious athletes.

Some more specifications for professionals:

Price:

Just watch: $499.99 and in India: INR 43,000

Watch plus Bundle: $650

Now in case you are wondering what bundle comes with the watch for which you are being charged extra take a look below the bundle pieces of equipment.

  • Premium GPS running/triathlon watch with wrist-based heart rate
  • Offers advanced running and multisport Features in a comfortable watch you can wear all day, and it only weighs 49 grams
  • Provides elevation changes with a built-in barometer; altimeter and electronic compass help you keep your bearings
  • COMPACT AND COMFORTABLE – HRM-Tri is the smallest and lightest heart rate monitor from Garmin. Designed with rounded edges and no exposed seams, the strap remains comfortable during extended hours of training.
  • SWIM HEART RATE1 – Stores up to 20 hours of heart rate data during swims, then forwards it to a compatible device at the end of the session. It also sends real-time heart rate to the watch when the monitor is out of the water
  • RUNNING DYNAMICS2 – Provides feedback on running form by measuring cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time when paired with a compatible device

Though the Forerunner 935 is waterproof, its optical heart rate monitor still doesn’t work underwater, so you’ll need the HRM-Tri or HRM-Swim straps to get data about your ticker while swimming.

TomTom Spark 3

This is an upgrade from TomTom. The main features of this triathlon watch are its cardio stats tracking ability and inbuilt music memory. Let’s take a look at its features.

  • This watch allows you to store up to 500 songs and has a built-in memory of 3GB
  • This watch also has a heart rate monitor
  • It comes with a Bluetooth headset which can be connected with your TomTom watch and phone
  • This watch is waterproof up to 40 meters.

The Spark 3 tracks all your cardio activities throughout the day by recording live statistics. Whether you run to work, jump over a puddle of muddy water, take a quick nap in the office or walk your dog in the evening, the watch keeps track. It will keep tabs of your heart rate, calories burnt, active minutes or steps taken. That’s not all, expect a live stats GPS tracking.

Price:

USD: $270.00

India: INR 25,000 (Approx.)

Some more specifications

  • Bluetooth Music Player & Wireless Headphones: Included Bluetooth sport headphones have contoured ear hooks, are sweat and waterproof, last for up to 4 hours, and pair with your Spark and phone simultaneously
  • Waterproof Sports Watch: Multisport Mode tracks all your indoor and outdoor sports, including every run, cycle, swim and gym workout
  • GPS Running Watch and Activity Tracker: Measures time, distance, speed, pace, calories burned and sleep. Coming soon, pick from over 50 workouts and get step by step guidance on the watch to help you achieve your goals
  • GPS Watch with Advanced Features: 24/7 activity tracking, phone notifications, waterproof up to 40M and customizable straps
  • Route exploration: Discover new routes, push your boundaries and never run the same route twice

The only downside about the watch is that it may not provide you with metrics as detailed as a Garmin.

SUUNTO Spartan Ultra HR

SUUNTO which is luxury sports manufacturer based out of Finland came out with this triathlon watch as a successor of Suunto multisport and Ambit watch. This model is as luxurious as it is handy. Let’s look at some key features.

  • It has a battery life of 26 hours
  • It has a coloured touch screen
  • Comes with barometric altitude
  • This watch is water resistant up to 100 meters
Price:

USD: $439.99

India: INR 57,770

Some more bundle specifications

  • Suunto Spartan watches use a state-of-the-art colour touchscreen with a wide viewing angle that offers great visibility outdoors, even in direct Sunlight
  • With 80 Sports modes pre-installed in the watch, Suunto Spartan watches are ready to go for nearly any kind of activity right out of the box
  • For demanding adventures, Suunto Spartan Ultra comes with up to 26H battery life with good GPS tracking accuracy
  • Includes built-in altimeter, barometer, compass and GPS with 100-meter water resistance
  • Connect Spartan Ultra with your smartphone to sync your activities, customize on the go and see calls and notifications on the watch.

Polar V800 GPS Triathlon Watch

This watch is ideal for swimmers. The watch also monitor’s an athlete’s cadence without aid whatsoever, of additional sensors. There is a universal bike mount that comes in the package. The polar will monitor all your cardio activities in in-depth details. Let’s look at some specifications.

  • This watch keeps a track of heart rate even in  water
  • The watch is waterproof up to 30 meters
  • Metrics are available for pool water and outdoor water both.
Price

USD: $499.95

India: INR 38,000 Approx.

Let look at some more bundle specifications.

  • GPS SPORTS WATCH: Advanced multisport GPS Watch for serious sports enthusiasts and professional athletes who want to reach peak performance, the built-in GPS keeps track of your ride, run or hike measuring your speed, distance and route
  • ADVANCED TRAINING WATCH: Create and customize profiles for different sports and get exactly the data and guidance you need for each activity
  • FITNESS TRACKER: Combines training load with 24/7 activity data for true recovery status. Polar Flow web service compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6, OS X 10.7, OS X 10.8, or later, and PC Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, or later
  • HEART RATE MONITOR INCLUDED: Use the Polar H7 heart rate sensor while training and even while swimming
  • TRIATHLON WATCH: Compatibility with Bluetooth Smart running and cycling sensors provide even more details about your training. Compatible third-party power meters

Garmin Vivoactive HR Triathlon Watch

This Garmin watch is an all-rounder.  It practically does everything which a TomTom mentioned in the second number do. Let’s look at some common features.

  • It allows you to receive calls & social media notifications
  • Give you important weather updates
  • You can send texts
  • Play music from the watch itself
  • You can as well customize it with applications like Strava, Relive etc.
  • Battery (made of lithium) life lasts up to about nine days
Price

USD: $150.00 Approx

India: INR 38,000 Approx.

Let’s look at some professional specifications here.

  • Regular fit wrist circumferences 5.39″ to 7.68″ (137 to 195 mm), GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution colour touchscreen. Display size-28.6 mm x 20.7 mm.Display resolution:205 x 148 pixels
  • 24/7 HEART RATE MONITORING – Elevate wrist heart technology gives you heart rate all day and night without an additional strap, Heart rate is not available while swimming
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE – Up to 8 days in watch/activity tracking mode. Battery life: GPS mode: Up to 13 hours. Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days
  • SMART NOTIFICATIONS – Set any notification from your mobile device to display when paired with a compatible smartphone. Water rating:5 ATM, Compatible with Android 4.4 OS or Later, Bluetooth 4.0 or Later and AppleiOS 10.0 or Later,iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

The best news about it is that it is quite affordable compared to other watches mentioned.

Timex Full-Size Ironman Rugged 30 Triathlon Watche

This is the most affordable quality triathlon watch available in the market. It’s not feature packed as compared to its rivals but good for an athlete with a strict budget. Let’s look at some features that this watch has.

  • It comes with 100 meters water resistance
  • Bluetooth let you connect with your smartphone
  • Runs a constant 24 hours timer and records every activity
Price

USD: $34

India: INR 4223

Let’s deep dive into more of its specifications and find out what more it does have to offer.

  • Made in USA and Imported
  • Bold Sport Design
  • Sports Stopwatch with 30 Lap Memory
  • Countdown Timer & Alarm
  • Durable Resin Strap with Buckle Closure
  • Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft): in general, suitable for swimming and snorkelling, but not diving

The only problem is not equipped with diverse features like other brands. However, or is quite reliable. It is ideal for an athlete with a strict budget.

Check out few Timex Watches.

So these were the best triathlon watches this year. Let me know in the comments which one are you buying? I would love your hear your triathlon journey. For any other information please drop a comment in the section below.

Sync these watches with popular fitness applications on mobile.

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