Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our Bums on the Saddles in India?!

One of the delights of my life is the opportunity to visit India. Our next trip, coming very soon, will be my third, and this time we are planning to cycle the streets of this fascinating country peopled with truly wonderful and generous folk.

But wait, there's more. We are traveling to Bangalore just as they are kicking off their first ever randonneuring brevet, or organized, long distance, unsupported ride. Not only that, but we are visiting DartreDame's parents (SingingCyclist's grandparents), and one of their neighbors who lives in their small apartment building is an original Bangalore randonneur.

Imagine the odds: there are over a billion Indians, and just over 100 of those billion participated in their first ever Bangalore brevet, and of those 100 one is a friend of my mother-in-law and father-in-law!

So yes, we plan to cycle, and we plan to visit with a few randonneurs. Another Bangalore randonneur I came upon via twitter is the blogger responsible for the Bums on the Saddle blog. Rohan apparently is the owner of a bike shop in Bangalore, and he is quite the proponent of cycling in Bangalore, and near as I can tell one of the organizers of the randonneuring community in Bangalore.

Check out his blog and you'll discover links to Bangalore Brevets Facebook pages, details on the Bangalore brevets, plans to participate in Paris Brest Paris for the first time like me, and much more. Most of all, you'll be charmed I'm sure by the enthusiasm they exhibit for their newly discovered sport of randonneuring. This spirit of enthusiasm and appreciation for the best of Life is precisely one of the aspects I treasure about my visits to India. If you'll permit me a generalization, I must say that this unselfconcious exuberance for Life is characteristic of India and Indians. One need look no farther than the the unbelievable castles, the heart-stoppingly beautiful clothing, the powerful and evocative fragrances of incense, the incomparably delicious and diverse cuisine, and iconically, the Taj Majal itself, one of the world's true wonders.

But of course, the best example of Indian beauties--Taj Majal included and that is saying something!--is Indian women. Exhibits A and B: DartreDame and her mother!

Can you tell I'm excited?

And what of the cycling there? I must admit I'm a little nervous because there are so many cars and autorickshaws and motorscooters that it is a bit intimidating. I've learned though that the bicycle rides begin early in the morning when it is pretty quiet, so one gets out of town before the craziness. That makes sense, and from another link I can't find now the quiet morning streets are a treasure of their own.

The only bummer is that we are missing the actual brevets by mere days. The launch (not ACP-sponsored) was on December 5 and the first official brevet, the 200k MG Road, Bangalore - Mandya - MG Road, Bangalore Brevet, will be on January 15, after we depart.

But if all goes well for me this year and all goes well for the Bangalore randonneurs, we will all rendezvous at our very first Paris Brest Paris come August!

Oh, and for examples of the stunning Indian garb I mentioned check out this link to my previous post. And, for street scenes of working bicyclists, see this previous post.

Keep it enthused!



  1. Very cool stuff! Have a great trip! I'm so glad to know about this small Indian rando scene. A trip to India is high on my life list and the thought that I might be able to arrange it at brevet time sounds like a fantasy come true. Thanks for the links. See you at PBP.

  2. I'm so envious! Sorry you're going to miss the actual brevet. It's very exciting to see the kernel of a brevet culture begin there.

    I expect a full report, with photos (ride, food, "beauties", etc), upon your return.

    Enjoy your trip!

  3. Thanks, guys, for the enthusiastic sendoff. Will try to Tweet, at least. Indeed, see you in Paris!