Grab your binoculars, your safari hat, a tube of sunscreen and your sense of adventure. If you recently procured yourself a bicycle and are looking for similarly placed self-propelling mobile units, we’re happy to take you on an expedition where you can spot these different varieties of bicycling wildlife.

Sociable Road-Weaver

This is your in-and-around-city rider, the sort who rides in town or in the outskirts, with family and friends. The aim for this creature is a great workout while heading out in search for some chlorophyll as visual balm and also Vitamin D. Head to the outskirts on any weekend morning, and you’ll see them traversing the road at about 15kmph.

The Migratory U-Turn

Travel_Cyclingtourfeatured-i_Bangalore

Photo Source: Unventured

The solo or a group “bikepacker” {that’s backpacking on a bike}, do it all — from exploring their city on a bike in a day-tour to exploring the world. More on that, here.

Bright Helmet-Crested Rider

Photo Source:  South Fire

Photo Source: South Fire

Also known as group riders, this species goes on shop rides — weekend rides organised by local bike shops. These are usually loosely organised, and are on weekends when a race is not taking place. Some of these are announced on social media, and others are via WhatsApp groups. The best way to get further information on them is to talk to people in those shops, and find out what kind of rides these are likely to be, and if they work for you. The folks who organise these are Bums On The Saddle aka BOTS {also watch out for their women’s only rides}, Cycling Boutique and Crankmeister. In addition, this group called South Fire organises night rides, for the nocturnal among you. BOTS and Cycling Boutique organise rides for people at the beginner — early intermediate end of the spectrum. Crankmeister’s rides are training rides, and you would need a road bike and some experience to keep up.

P.S.: A local bike shop, or LBS, isn’t your doodhwala — bicycle selling shop of yore. It’s a bike shop owned by riders. The best ones are part hangout, part information hub, and part coffee bar.

Reflective Vested Distance Goer

Photo Source:  Bangalore Randonneurs

Photo Source: Bangalore Randonneurs

The Randonneur {long distance cycling} sub-species can be identified by their reflective vests, lights with rechargeable batteries and a day’s worth of supplies strapped to their bikes. They ride brevets — super long, self-supported distances of 200km and more, with time check-points en route. Bangalore has a vibrant Randonneuring event calendar. People who finish all the brevet distances {200, 300, 400, 600} in a racing calendar year are called super Randonneurs.

Follow them on Facebook here. Find the group on Strava here.

Spur-Winged Aero Lycrabacks

Photo Source:  Tours of Nilgiris

Photo Source: Tours of Nilgiris

This one comes in two further sub divisions: the brash young guns and the MAMILs {Middle-Aged Men In Lycra}. This variety revels in speed. They race in Individual Time Trails {ITTs} and Team Time Trials {TTTs}, road, MTB races, and XC {cross country} races. As long as it is called a race, there is someone timing them, much effort is being put in, and they will arrive in a blaze of glory and self-induced pain, this creature is blissful. They can be spotted gazing raptly at a computer screen, dissecting their performance and that of others, on Strava. This sort can be seen in droves, at races such as Bangalore Bicycling Championships and Bangalore Amateur Racing. Both these groups publish their calendars well in advance, so participants can train in peace.

The more advanced of these like to dish themselves and others a large serving of pain and glory, and sign up for the Tour of Nilgiris. A nine-day tour of south India, with plenty of climbs, competition, and fun. Other events such as the Coorg Escapade, and Udupi Cyclathon are forming new meeting grounds.

Feature Photo: Ray Photography (Tours of Nilgiris)