Destinations Magazine

Cycling Trivialities – Part III

By Kartix

There is a certain simplicity about cycling that I enjoy: a physical push applied to the pedals or a pull if one is wearing cleats causes the crank to move. Through the chain rings attached to the crank, this energy is transferred by a chain to the rear cassette and then on to the backwheel hub. This hub is attached to the wheel through ball bearings causing the wheel to move, leading to motion. There is also the issue of how much force one needs to apply to move ahead, of how more revolutions with less pressure can take you as ahead as more pressure with fewer revolutions: the gears on the cassette take on this job. Then, there is the reverse action; the simplicity of braking: the brake pads attached to the calipers on both sides of the wheels rub against the rim as you pull the brake lever, or the disc attached to the wheel rubs against rubber to slow down or stop the cycle. All so simple and so many tiny parts coming together smoothly like a Mozart’s symphony! All this was happening as I was riding my bike on the first long day of the ride from Tadas Cross to Kulgi Nature camp in Dandeli.
The morning had begun early; we were well-rested and ready for a big ride ahead. Since I had booked the Forest Department accommodation at Dandeli, we had to be prepared to ride about 90 km to reach the camp by the evening. 90 km is considered very doable by bikers, but here there was the small issue of the Western Ghats and how undulatiing the terrain can be! As we reached our first stop of the ride, 20 odd km away, for breakfast at Kalghatgi, we asked around a random person for directions to Kulgi. Patil loved to ask people for directions, and well it leads to better accuracy than Google maps at least! While he gave us directions he also nudged us to visit a roadside hotel for breakfast and praised the food enough for us to try it out. Turns out, it was his brother’s hotel and he was just building its reputation and business! Anyway we had a quick breakfast there to oblige him and moved on to another small hotel with tables and chairs for us to sit and chart out the plan ahead.
The issue we had to discuss was this: from Kalghatgi to Kulgi there were two routes: one a scenic one that was 70 odd km but up-and-down and another 55 km on a relatively plain State highway. Matty who brought his supermodel Surly had an issue with its seat. The seat was a brand new leather one and had not ‘broken in’, read ‘ridden on enough to make it comfortable for long rides’. Here, they mention longer definitions of ‘breaking in’, but in general, leather saddles take hundreds of miles to soften up and confirm to your anatomy We decided that the seat had not yet confirmed to Matty’s anatomy and its best if he takes the straight 55 km highwayish road and the rest of us will take the undulating route.

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