Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Revisiting Hessarghatta

Few minutes left for the first sunday after getting my Merida...... Thought of revisiting the first ever respectable-distance ride i did, more than 2 yrs ago...... Convinced Pushky to join me on the ride.....

Started off at 5:45 am...... Pushky's "good condition" Hero DTB had a wheel-bend, faulty brakes, a slowly leaking tyre, creaking pedals et al...... But still, he was game for it. (Mind you, he did long distance rides once in a while, with his defintion of long ride until this being ~6km).... We had a pleasant uneventful ride till we reached the completely dried out Hessarghatta lake..... then on to Nrityagram and Taj Kuteeram..... Now the quest was for that "amazing spot" that our gang discovered on the earlier ride..... The open meadow where one could see the horizon..... The most scenic stretch of the Bangalore Ultra..... Searched around for it, recollecting vague memories......

......Went all around on the rich red mud roads in search of the place...... And in the process, lost Pushky...... I search frantically, racing through every fork of the bumpy trail roads that he could have possibly taken..... I experienced moments of flight, when the bumps sent me soaring!..... I searched, racing ups n downs alike at ~30kmph...... Knowing the speed limitations of his "good condition" bike, i did not have to do more than ~4km of searching, until finally we found each other at the "amazing spot"...... A few snacks, coffees and teas at a nearby petty-shop later, we headed to Bangalore..... in the wrong direction!.... Retraced our paths..... were heading back the way we originally came from.....

.... kkkkhhhhhh..... crash!!!.... Yes, i fell down.... Owing to cellphone in left hand and right hand clutching font brake harder than necessary.... Bruises at several places.... A brown-ed KTM T-shirt.... And an injured thigh muscle.... Rushed (read hi-speed-limp) to the Taj nearby for cleaning up the bruises!.... Could still pedal flat and low-grade ups, thanks to endorphins i guess..... Had amazing sweet jackfruit (from an over-generous vendor who kept on giving more n more without asking for more cash).... Then finally reached NCBS at last.

Total distance covered: 64 km (including 15-20k of roaming around Hessarghatta)
Total time: 6 hrs including lot of timepass!

important consequence: Added one zero to the right, in Pushky's definition of a long ride, which he managed without incident on his "good condition" bike, albeit at a slow pace.

Current mood: Waiting to do another long ride
Currently listening to: Sounds of UT2004 music recverberating through the lab!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

yeeha! My new bike: Merida Crosssway

I was enquiring abt TREK and Merida bikes here in Bangallore. BOTS had run out of 21" framed TREKs, plus the TREK prices had risen >10%. I went to Venkat's Merida store. I had more or less decided to go for a hybrid bike instead of an MTB, but was keeping fingers crossed hoping he had my size. (But i had also the dream of gettin disc brakes, which sadly would cost me bombs more, plus of course, the size issue)

He had a Merida-Crossway..... Perfect......And i bought it!

Experience so far (18km Chamrajpet-Sanjaynagar-GKVK):
- Awesome, effortless ride
- Powerful V-brakes. Doesn't move an inch beyond the spot u braked at. Very smooth too. Was just that powerful even in rain.
- lightweight. Can lift it with one finger (btw, that's not an exaggeration. I actually did that)
- Weird bell - Looks funky

- Looks awesome. Chicks looking more at bike than at me.
- Needs extra protection, cos it looks too cool and is so easy to lift and run away.
- A bit of fidgeting at a particular gear position, but i guess i'll just have to tune it a bit and it'll be fine.
- Weird bell - sounds different, so ppl don't realize that there's a cycle behind.

Well, the better aspects of it can probably be apparent on a long ride, or rather after many long rides!

Here's what ppl have asked, which i missed on my post earlier

Price: Rs. 15,000. And it came with a free TREK cycle-computer, a tail lamp, headlamp and sidestand. (Offer valid with venkat only till jun 30th). I din't like the headlamp( and bought a good quality TREK headlamp later from BOTS).


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Preparing for my first ever talk to a research audience

I have given a talk before to bio students at the planetarium abt the GAl4-UAS system. But never given any sort of talk to a research audience. People expect me to be a good speaker, but i do not know if i'll live upto it.

The occasion: The NCBS sympotein on animal locomotion. The sympotein is a great idea that the NCBSites have caught on to, where students present about a generic topic after reading up all relevant papers and reviews on that topic. It takes time n effort to read up everything, including the dull n boring papers. But, its a really good learning experience. I definitely feel wiser after reading just half the papers.

This sympotein, as of now is scheduled to be somewhere in the first week of August. An awful lot of time left..... Am excited already.

Current mood: Itching to read another symp paper, but still cribbing abt filling lab notebook
Currently listening to: clicketly-clickety-click-click all around

Waiting for a new bike

It's been more than a month now since my Hercules Ultima DX is gone.... Waiting to lay hands on a TREK or a Merida.... Itching to go on a long ride.... But as in anything i want to buy, people don't have my size!!! I need a 21" frame, and that sadly has to come from halfway around the world.... And it costs a bomb too! Waited accumulating cash, and now the TREK prices have gone up! Have to try Merida before they follow the global trend of hiking up bike prices.

Happy that atleast we have good shops in bangalore for these, owned by passionate bikers, who are a class apart.

Current mood: Cribbing abt having to fill up lab notebook
currently listening to: Mungaru maleye - Sonu Nigam