Thursday, March 24, 2011

My bi-cycling ordeals - chapter N!

My bi-cycling ordeals - chapter N!

I borrowed the Texins bicycle to go home yesterday. Cycling 8 KMs felt good & was fun, albeit a little tiring for the Quadriceps & Hamstrings. However it would have been a bit more fun, if:
  1. The cycle had any brakes to speak off!
  2. The gears changed… when I wanted them to!!
  3. The cycle hadn’t made me miss the bus the day before!!!
  4. Folks around didn’t respond to me stating that I will borrow the Texins cycle with blank stares & questions in the line of “What Texins cycle? You mean take out those pedaling thingies from the gym?”

To elaborate…

  1. Brakes: Well, exaggerations apart, they are actually there! But this does not say anything about their being effective in – well – braking! (They look good, I will admit – they lend the handle bar a bit of character!) To quantify: coefficient of rolling friction of cycle tyres on road is supposed to be of the order of 0.005. [Source: Google.]  With brakes pressed all the way with knuckles going white – as would be the case when there is a Bangalore Auto-rickshaw swerving in front – the effective coefficient of friction probably increased to 0.0075 or thereabouts! And I do have quite a good grip – I tested 470 in one of those grip-testing machines that anyone who has visited a Durga Puja pandal & fair would be familiar with (for others, the scale is 0 to 500, 500 being the strongest!!)
Recommendation: Let’s get the cycle repaired & serviced!

  1. Gears: I will admit that I am not an expert on geared bicycles & therefore don’t know what to expect of them. However, I am reasonably certain that gears are supposed to change approximately when I shift that gear-knob near my right hand, and that they are not supposed to randomly change out of the blue, when I am happily cruising away on the main roads, about 15 minutes after I have stopped fiddling with the gear-knob, and with a sickening jangle which caused my heart to skip a beat under the apprehension that the chain had come loose, as used to frequently happen in my old non-geared Hero Ranger Devil!
Recommendation: Same as above!

  1. Missing the bus: So this is what had happened. I had checked at 6:30 PM day before yesterday if the cycle was available, and was assured it was. However when I went to Texins at about 8PM, I found out that although the cycle was indeed there, what was missing was air in the tyres – there was none of it. Absolutely zilch. Not a molecule of Nitrogen, not an atom of Oxygen, not even any whiff of those rare, inert gases. Under the possibly misplaced conviction that presence of air was essential to enjoying a bicycle ride, I, Kulkarni & one of the housekeeping folks laboured for about half an hour in a futile effort to pump air into the wheels! By the time we had given up, it was too late for me to catch a bus. Interestingly, today, air was apparently filled into the bike tyres using the same pump, but by a different house-keeping guy – so evidently the job requires some amount of skilled effort!
Recommendation: Can we put together a protocol which should automatically come into play when someone asks for the cycle, including, at the bare minimum, checking if the cycle is ride-able in terms of shape & presence of wheels, tyre pressures, etc?

  1. Folks with blank stares: This has a slightly indirect implication on the whole premise of having fun with the cycle. The logic runs in the following lines: ‘Blank Stares’ implies ‘no one knows about the cycle’ implies ‘the cycle is not used much’ implies ‘falling apart due to disuse’ + ‘lack of knowledge about aforementioned falling apart’ implies ‘when someone actually wants to use it, he is not able to’ implies ‘the cycle isn’t used much’ implies ‘Blank Stares’ & so on…
Recommendation: We should advertise more about the cycle ...

P.S. For the uninitiated, Texins is the Employees Welfare Association of our company. Let it be noted that my opinion about the bi-cycle does not in any way reflect my opinion of Texins - Texins is & will remain one of the best things in the company - it would be hard to find a parallel for Texins in any other company in the city or even in the country. It is one of those things that make us stick to the company - for those of us who have been around for a long time, that is!!