To cycle around, to enjoy the freedom it offers, the immerse yourself into the sense of joy associated with it, all you need to have is a bicycle. Yes, the humble bicycle and nothing else. Oh yes, perhaps am overlooking the fact that you need to have some penchant for getting out of the monotonous daily stressfull life that modern times offer.
In July 2014, I was adviced by my doctor to get a bicycle and ride on a regular basis to get out from the everyday stressful life of my profession. It is not that, only my professtion is stressful but I believe, in today’s materialistic world, every profession has it’s own challenges. Riding a Bicycle on the other hand, daily for say 40 minutes in the open fills you up with enough positive vibes to ward off the daily stress.
Buying a bicycle, a decent one to meet your basic need should not be a challenging one given the range of options that is available in today’s market but be careful as you might be confused with the range of options. In 2014, with little to no knowledge of modern bicycles I went to Firefox Bike store in Kolkata and got a Ludhiana made Xbicycle for Rs. 10,000/-. Soon after getting the bike, I started to ride in my locality.. tried to ride atleast 40 minutes everyday or every alternate day. Marked difference I noticed since after I started cycling is that with continuous cycling, how quickly one can get back in shape and fill with confidence. As time went on… and some decent saddle time in my kitty, I decided to make things a bit more challenging and entertaining at the same time.
Being an Advocate comes with it’s own challenges and benefits, one benefit is a month long holiday in this part of India during Puja Vacations. With Courts closed, I decided to ride at some places which are less crowdy and picturesque at the same time. Stumbled upon an article on Sebastian Pradhan on Xbhp and after reading the article and going through the pictures, I decided that this should be the place which I should go cycling.
With the route selected I decided to do a practise ride from Kalimpong to Delo top and gosh am glad that I did. As I said with only two months of riding experience I had little or no knowledge whatsoever on how to choose your gears while climbing to minimise your level of exhaustion. The result started to show after 1.5 kms, went out of breath, panting heavily puked out everything that I had in my stomach in full view of the public with barely any strength to stand on my legs. However, after about 30 minutes of rest I recovered somewhat and understood the most important lesson, never challenge the climbs. The 8 km long climb to Delo further helped me to understand the gearing mechanism of my bike, how to ride as comfortably as possible while in a climb. However the most shocking discovery was made while coming down from the top. To my horror I found that while assembling my bike in Kalimpong, I didn’t properly adjusted my brakes and as a result of which in the downhill, I had no brakes. Somehow managed to park my bike in a relatively flat section in the downhill and returned safely.
The next day being target day, retired in my room early a tad early after cross-checking once again my bike for a good night’s sleep. The ride started around 7.30 a.m. (at the hindsight I now consider it to be late by atleast 2.30 hours) and started at a relatively slow pace and always paying attention to my level of exhaustion. One thing I learnt last day, that in hills, once you are out of your breath, it will take almost an eternity to regain strength. Gradually I climbed till Dr. Graham’s Home and took some rest and after about another hour I was at my first destination, the Hanuman temple at Delo hills. Continued till Algarah at the same pace and reached Algarah aroung 02.00 p.m. just in time to have my lunch in a local cafe.
With Algarah the climbing part was over, which though tiresome and exhaustive didn’t pose any danger to life. But after Algarah, it was all downhill, the entire 26 kms till my homestay at ReshiKhola. Till Pedong, it’s almost straight down but once I crossed Pedong, it turned out to be hairpins and it started to rain. Raining is not how you describe it though, it poured for an hour and I had to take shelter in a stranger’s house. Coffee was also offered to me 🙂 by the lady of the house and suggested that I should wait for the rain to stop before proceeding. Pouring stopped suddenly as it came and gradually and very cautiously I moved on . Finally to much of my relief, I reached my destination just before evening and welcomed by Sebastian and his family members to spend the rest of my vacation.