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Ranganath Bhat

Rangnath Bhat

Image of Rangnath Bhat

Lessons for Life that Cycling has Taught Me

Today I have clocked 4000th Kilometre on my bicycle from my 128 rides i.e., a little more than 31 kms on an average per ride. Beginning to ride from May, 2016, the last 7 months have been a period of learning. Starting with a 2 kilometre ride, I have graduated to longer ones. Every morning I look forward to explore nooks and corners of the picturesque erstwhile South Kanara with Gopalkrishna Baliga, Vinod Prabhu and Dr Sai Giridhar Kamath who have motivated me to keep on riding.

Senior Cyclists ( by experience not age) from the two cycling groups MACC and MBC have advised and tutored me about the finer techniques of cycling.

Not to forget, my wife Rajani who travels with the cycle rack in her car and ready to pick me up should I be stranded out on the road. She is the one who helps me to stretch my quads, calves and lats and applies DFO gel to soothe my aching legs.

Cycling has definitely taught me something or made things very very obvious that I can make use of them in life.

It’s never too late to begin..

You have to be open to the idea that you are never too old to start learning something new.

I thought 57 years of age would be too late to begin cycling. I was shy too to wear the gel shorts necessary for cycling. The tight T shirt would show the bulging muffin top. Who cares what others think ! It was only a matter of time I got used to the bicycle.

It is said that a hormone called Endorphin is released when you exercise and I suppose when you cycle, more of that is released into the Blood stream. Endorphins are also known as the hormone of happiness as it induces feeling of euphoria. After cycling, you are active for the whole day.

Age should never be a bar for starting a hobby or activity.

Have a Guru…and get your basics right

Learning by yourselves is good, but you might end up learning the wrong techniques.

My hobby has been photography ever since I was 15 years of age when my dad bought me an Isoly camera. Until I attended a Workshop of Dr Krishna Mohan in 2012, I thought I was a good photographer. Then I had to unlearn and relearn the whole process of Photography and I am still learning from him.

In cycling, Gopalkrishna Baliga has been a Guru for me and he has been giving me the tips to learn right techniques. If you have to do things right, then you have to get around the nuances of getting the basics right. There is more to just getting on the bicycle and start pedaling. The seat height, the way you pedal, how do you breathe, how often to drink water and eat are some of the basic things you have be familiar with to be a good cyclist.

Select the best…

I bought Giant Roam Zero which set me back by a few grand . This is a hybrid bicycle capable of doing the rough roads and the highways alike. The built quality is superb and is a joy to ride. Now looking back, I don’t regret having invested in this. I have seen many cyclists reinvesting to buy a better bike after having bought a cheaper bike earlier. They would have been well off having selected a better one in the earlier instance.

Here it is important to understand that costly too is not the best.

Compete only with yourself…

The cycling fraternity is made up of young men and women and their potential is immense. Never compete with them. Knowing ones limitations is very important. The more you concentrate on your learning process and compare yourselves with the you of yesterday, the better the result will be.

There is no short cut to success…

The adage ‘ No pain ..No gain ‘ is absolutely true. A lot of effort and commitment is necessary to achieve what you want.

I used to be terrified by the smallest of the climbs. Gradually by cycling consistently and increasing the distance traveled, I could log in 100 kms at a single stretch and I am comfortable with the climbs of the likes of City Centre. The fact that I could do the Gruelling climb of 18 kms and an elevation gain of about a 1000 feet up the Kudremukh Ghats gave me a feeling of accomplishment and I forgot the long hours of persistent effort I had to put in to reach this level of endurance.