Cycling & Life lessons

I was a big fan of cycling during my school days. Everyday after school I used to get out on my cycle for a couple of hours. For me, my ‘Hero Ranger’ bicycle represented freedom, speed and fun. By the time, I got into my 12th class, my fascination for driving a motor cycle took over and cycling became part of history.

A week ago, I got a call from Deena (founder of Cykul and Atlanta foundation, Former Country Head, Invesco), inviting me to participate in their cycling event — “Chiefs on a Roll”. I have known Deena for a few years now. He is a great cycling enthusiast and an awesome human being. He is easily the biggest reason for cycling to become popular in Hyderabad. Deena had invited me in the past but somehow I could never make it to any of the events [let’s not discuss the reasons ;) ] . This time, thanks to the guilt factor, I promised I would be attending. I am glad I did.

The event was scheduled to begin at 7am Saturday (yesterday). I reached the venue by 6:50am. I saw a bunch of chiefs already on cycles ready to roll at the start point. Saw a few familiar faces too that I hadn’t seen in person for a long time. There was lots of chatter, laughter and energy in the air. It was a nice sight to see in the morning. I quickly picked up a cycle & got in line. The ride started. So did my observations.

Bad starts do not mean a bad ending: I realized, at the start point, the cycle I was provided had a flat tire. By the time I exchanged the cycle, the rest of the riders were nowhere to be seen. I thought I would end up cycling all alone. However, was able to quickly catch-up with the rest. Infact, I ended up completing the ride fairly quickly.

Keep good company. It matters: By the time I caught up with the rest of the riders, we were cycling on an uphill road. I saw a few of them cycling comfortably and moving forward while I had to sweat it out. Two riders — Manish Jain (Partner at Angaros) and Dr. Ram (MD, Smiline chain of Dental hospitals) helped me on the way. Both of them taught me how to use the gears on the cycle. Thanks to them, the ride was enjoyable. The beauty of the whole experience was that I had never met them before and I did not ask them for help. Also, in between, my cycle’s chain skipped a beat and came off. Manish stopped his ride to help me fix it quickly. (I paid forward by helping another cyclist later). Good company mattered :) .

Skill is important. Makes your journey lot more enjoyable: Imagine being on the first gear all through — I would have exhausted myself midway. Being aware of how to use the cycle gears correctly made my ride a lot more easier and enjoyable.

When the going gets tough, push harder: There are steep uphills and there are long ones. Both challenged me and tempted me to get off my cycle. While I did get a chance to leverage the slopes to an extent, there were many instances when I felt I just had to get off the cycle and walk past the uphill. Thankfully I didn’t. Instead I pushed harder and cycled past the uphill much quicker. If I had got off the cycle, it would have taken forever for me to reach the destination. Riding on an uphill is crazy. If you slow down or stop, it just becomes lot more crazier. So push harder and keep going.

Have some fun at the end: Though super exhausted, I took part in an impromptu competition on the stage (who would ride the farthest in 1 minute). Dr.Ram signed me up for it and I signed up Naidu (founder of Meraevents). Take a guess who won ;). Also, had a chance to catch up with a few friends from the industry. Overall, it was a morning very well spent.

BTW, found a whole lot similarities with my startup journey.