10/10/10 : When It All Began

When it all began

It all began some years ago when I started feeling terribly cooped up and stifled due to being perpetually indoors. Be it home, work or leisure, none seemed to facilitate getting me outdoors, at least not in the way that I defined it.

I tried going for walks but doing repeat loops of narrow, well-manicured walking paths in neighbourhood parks made me feel like a laboratory rat going around a maze in some experiment. The other popular option of going to a local gym was effectively excluded since the operative word for me was “Out”doors. There was swimming, yes, but it was available for just about four months of the year. Plus, the chock-a-block full swimming pools in surreal shapes of kidneys and sun signs did not do much to inspire.

Then a brainwave hit me around my birthday, which also happens to be the annual ‘check my bucketlist’ time of the year to see which boxes haven’t been ticked. I saw, ‘Go Cycling’ written right under Things-I-loved-to-do-as-a-kid-and-want-to-do-again-because-I’m-not-dead-yet. It got me thinking. Cycling had been my favorite childhood sport and given the near claustrophobia I’d been feeling of late, it was perfect timing.

The decisive moment came at a friend’s house when I met a couple, both passionate cyclists, who had just returned from a Manali-Leh ride. I was completely bowled over hearing about the incredible experience of riding in the mountains. Anju was really encouraging and told me I should go for it, and motivated me further by saying that if she could do it, then, so could I. 

It was like the proverbial shot in the arm and gave me fresh impetus to put my plans into action. Of course, I didn’t take it to mean that I should climb onto the first available bicycle and ride off to the Himalayas.

I reckoned that all I needed was to was : 

  1. Buy a decent bike. 
  2. Look for an open area to ride. 
  3. Find people to ride with.  

Step 1 took me to the local bike shop where the mind-boggling variety of bikes and their price tags had me reeling. Whoa! When had this happened? My last bike had been a snazzy green BSA with nifty brake cables and a very affordable price tag. I realised this was going to need extensive research, so I put buying a bike on hold and moved to the next step.

Step 2 boggled the mind. I mean, where on earth could anyone ride? The traffic on the roads was a killer even from the relatively safe confines of my car. It made being on a bike look like a wish to commit harakiri! This sobering thought was enough to make me pop the next question to the bike shop assistant – who and where were these people who bought these cycles? 

Voila, came Step 3 as I was given the contact details of a local cycling group. That same evening, I called the cycling group’s admin, Anuj. He patiently addressed my queries and told me to come for a beginner’s ride where a guest bike would be provided to me.

The following Sunday morning I turned up at the designated meeting point, understandably apprehensive about being able to accomplish much after a hiatus of 15 years. One look at the pro-cyclist appearance of the others did nothing to allay those apprehensions.

They stood there resplendent in their padded, helmeted and gloved best with a look that could burn the rubber on the roads. It set off alarm bells in me. What the hell was I thinking – I was going to get annihilated!

My expression must have been a dead giveaway because suddenly I found the others rallying around, reassuring me that I’d be fine and they’d watch over me. 

To cut the 17 long km story short, I managed to reach the finish point of my first ride. The legs were a little unsteady and the posterior somewhat numb as I got off the saddle, but I felt absolutely great.

The follow-up ride that came three days later proved to be the defining point. And I can’t thank Anuj and Arun enough for rooking me into believing that it was going to be an easy ride instead of the bone-shaker, teeth-rattler, bum-breaker 30 km off-roader! It gave me the confidence that set me off on my cyclist avatar.

It’s taken me a while to write about my bike life – the thing that I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe. While 10/10/10 might seem like a date straight out of an ancient prophecy of doom, it happens to be the day I carpe diem-ed and went for the ride that changed my life.

As for the how-to-buy-your-first-bike topic, I’ll leave that for another day. For now, I’ll just say that I bought my first bike, a beautiful Trek mountain bike, and there’s been no looking back since.

My first bike

Read more by Rashmi B. Nayar


Picture Credit : Rashmi

56 thoughts on “10/10/10 : When It All Began”

    1. Absolutely my pleasure Pragati 🙂 You must write your cycling story…it’ll be so much fun! Waiting to catch up soon 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot Prateek 🙂 Always so hood to ride together even though I get left behind with your pace 😀

  1. What a lovely article Ma’am.. You articulate everything so beautifully.. It got me all nostalgic cos I got bitten by the cycling bug after seeing you.. And remember buying a Trek to ape you again.. Look forward to reading your articles cos you constantly outdo yourself with each article..

    1. Thanks so much Amol 🙂 You’ve gone to the next level with your gorgeous Bergamot…happy riding and am looking forward to taking it for a spin next I’m in town 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Bela 🙂 Hadn’t realised it’d been a decade till I sat down to write…it’s been quite a ride :))

  2. Rashmi that was great, u have a flow for writing and making it interesting. Ur hard work shows. Keep it up and keep going

    1. Thanks a lot Pratibha 🙂 I wish I could write poetry like you…so effortlessly beautiful. Loved your poem on cycling 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Preeti 🙂 and I wait for your feedback every issue knowing what a voracious reader you are :))

  3. Loved it.Takes u back to when we were kids n the present to how u have given it a shot again. Inspirational… the bike rides n the writing.

    1. Thank you so much Mona…so love your feedback 🙂 You are so right because ever so often a bike ride in the cantonment gives me a feeling of de ja vous! So much of what I am today is because of our cantonment childhood :))

  4. Loved reading this, Rashmi! So inspiring and evocative. Love that you have a bucket list of things you loved to do as a kid…and are working on it!

    1. Thank you so much Anjum 🙂 I’m convinced that the child in me jammed her brakes in the winding lanes of our cantonment kid years…and thank god for it :))

  5. I finally read it and now know the story behind the famous cyclist…
    I loved the story of annihilation 😂😂😂..imagining your expression.

    1. Haha…more crazy than famous :)) I swear when I realised the level of cyclists I was going to go on that ride with, I wanted to run away!!

  6. After reading your cycling story, I too would like to write about my regular cycling days immediately after my schooling. There were no cycling groups, no one to guide you about how to ride or and teach you any cycling techniques.

    In fact it was the period when we’re not aware about cycle brand (I used to ride BSA Mach I single speed), gearsets, gel short/gloves, tail/head light, Sportswatch or Application like Strava, Endomondo etc. I used to cycle without helmet (as I didn’t had it or nobody told me to have it)…my longest ride during that time was Delhi to/fro Rishikesh (Lakshman Jhoola).

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Trilok. You have brought the early days of cycling alive. Such wonderful memories of simple times 🙂

  7. Rashmi…. very interesting and inspiring article!! Always admired ur cycle pics on fb…. and date10.10.10 is very special to me ie Chinnu’s birthday . Looking forward reading more articles dear😊

  8. Rashmi enjoyed your piece .. 10/10 is common between us ( my bday), I wish biking was also 😁….. Though as a teenager I use yo bike to my school and I still remember that feeling of being able to fly on my bike … Reading your article I sense that same feeling you get . Keep riding and writing.

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Bob. I love this extra connection of 10/10/10. I so wish I could do the hikes you and Ranjit go on…such incredible locations! Do write about your experience some time…would love to read it <3

  9. Lovely article Mrs Nayar.
    Took me down the memory lane when as a kid I used to enjoy riding my bicycle and used to ride to school also.
    Hope to get to read more of your experiences ..and keep up the josh.

  10. Amazing and interesting read !! Love the way you’ve honestly shared your fears and apprehensions before the 10/10/10 ride . In all the years I’ve known you I believe you’re at your fittest best and all because you took the challenge up that day many years ago …. may your path be filled with continued bike rides .

    1. Love what you wrote Kajal… thank you so much sweetie <3 I'm hoping to see a bicycle appear in your paintings some day :))

    1. Thanks so much Neelam `:) Things that push us beyond our comfort zones are the most fun and toughest 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Narjjis. I really admire your will and determination to follow your passion…waiting for February <3

  11. Such a relatable article.. so well written..!!!
    As they say, the 1st step is always hard.. and after that, its history..!!! Kudos..!!!! 😊

    1. Thank you so much for such lovely words of appreciation Neha. I’ve realised that no matter what, being on the saddle always peps me up and makes me feel I can do anything 🙂

  12. Beautifully articulated Rashmi….though not much of a cycling enthusiast, I could feel the pulse and heart-beats racing, the cool wind blowing through the hair, the shiny beads of perspiration tracing their way down the cheeks and the feeling of déja vu at the end of one such expedition…so if one could go through these gamut of emotions , you can imagine how much ‘with you’ was I and how well a written article it is. Kudos all the way !!!!

    1. Loved seeing this through your eyes… thank you so much for your beautifully crafted feedback Mrs Sachar…means a lot <3

  13. Enjoyed reading your article, Rashmi!! I can proudly say that u shared your thoughts and desire during one of our girly deep thought sessions😀😀and you have gone all the way up and more with all your spirit and balance😘😘truly inspiring 🤗🤗💃💃👍👍👸

    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful feedback Mona. I think of our conversations often, they always made a routine workday so much more special. Miss them a lot. Hugs

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