Starting to Get Out with BDCyclists

Someone once said that the real world is out there. You can never get the taste of it sitting in front of your computer under the roof of your home and office. Interesting thing is, I actually did read this quote sitting in front of my computer at home.

BDCyclist

Trying to get the hang of it!

I stay at home a little too much than those of my age. I grew up kind of lonely in my home with my mother and father only. Brother stayed at Dhaka Medical College hall and sister got married. Yes, I did go to school but strangely my classmates were good friends while we’re at the school. As soon as we leave the premises, it’s like we forget each other. These are just a few reasons why I don’t end up going out of my home that much. I stay at home after my school/college hours, and apart from studying I work from home for some extra income (like blogging and article writing for printed IT magazine).

I wanted to go out but I didn’t know where or with whom I should go out. This was until recently I stumbled upon some YouTube videos showing a couple of bicycle riders enjoying their way around the city. It got stuck in my mind and I began wondering if I could join the team, known as BDCyclists.

What is BDCyclists?

The group is more like a group of people who love to go out with their bicycle to enjoy vacation and weekends. The group does have plans to organize race someday, but that’s not its primary focus. Following is how the group defines itself on its Facebook group and website:

We are neither an elite athlete group, nor people who are training to compete in races. We are just general people like you who is either a student, a service holder, a business person having a common goal of staying healthy in this stressful Dhaka life and ride for recreation, health, and sheer fun.

I find that pretty exciting and adventurous to join in. But how could I join in without even knowing how to ride a bicycle?

How I got in

Luckily I had an active member (maybe plus founder or something alike) named Fuad bhaia. I began bugging him to help me learn riding a bicycle. From the beginning, however, he was positive in helping me out and finally he did introduce me to the group page asking a few others to help me out. Soon I realized there were other people who were interested in joining the team without knowing how to ride properly.

As a result of a bunch of personal requests knocking at BDCyclists, today the group arranged a beginner’s session to help newbie learn riding bicycle. I was invited and I went there early in the morning.

How it went

The first problem with me was that I never rode a bicycle before. Approximately 3-4 years ago, I once cried a lot to my parents to buy me a bicycle but they never did it. As an excuse, they kept telling me that it was dangerous to go out there with a ride because I could get hurt by an accident. Back then it sounded okay. Years later, now it sounds stupid to my ears.

Good that I can manage a bicycle for myself, but not just yet. So the second problem with me is that I don’t have a bicycle. The cyclists from the group managed bicycle for me as well as other newbie riders today. And then the training actually began.

I wouldn’t say it was easy. I never quite understood that riding a bicycle required some technique as well. I kept falling on both sides (not on the ground, though :P ). I’m still not good at keeping my balance while pedaling or sitting on the saddle. However, after one hour training session with wonderful support from Ripa apu, Nazia Apu, Shan vaia and a couple of other members of BDCyclists, I’m a little more confident that I will learn it sooner or later.

After the session, Mona bhaia gave us some tips on learning and riding bicycle and confirmed that the session will be a continuous one starting from next Saturday onward. Luckily, my college is closed on Saturdays so I can happily join each and every upcoming session.

Here are a couple of photos of today’s session in front of the parliament house in Dhaka.

BDCyclist

Still trying to get the hang of it!

he photos were taken from BDCyclists official Facebook group page. The photos were taken by (respectively) Nazia Apu, Ripa apu and an unknown guy arranging a stage for a small event on the occasion of World Pneumonia Day in front of the Parliament House today. :P

Afterthoughts

I’m not a rider yet, still I feel like starting to get out. I haven’t begun cycling yet, still I had so much fun at today’s session that I can actually imagine how fun it would be to go out on an actual ride. I’m also aware that it’s not an easy task either, but at the cost of fun and other things that staying at home doesn’t offer, I’m willing and dedicated to do that hard-work (cycling, I guess!).

And one more thing, back from today’s session, whenever I see a bicycle rider on the road, I see the rider from a different perspective. I can’t tell what, but it’s not what used to be before this morning. Possibly another proof that nothing is as easy as it looks in the first place. :P

Thanks again to everyone at today’s session and the whole BDCyclists team. I can’t wait to join you and hit the road together!

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39 thoughts on “Starting to Get Out with BDCyclists

  1. I’m no teaching expert, but here’s what I’d recommend:
    Your saddle looks low down, but I’d like it to be lower, essentially it needs to be so that you can easily put both feet on the floor at the same time.
    Take the pedals off both sides.
    Learn to ride by scooting along (no pedals, also known as hobby horsing), this gives you balance, steering and stopping skills – you have to walk before you run!
    Next (once you can fly along and navigate obstacles with easy and can comfortably stop using the brakes) you add pedals and learn the push off technique, that is one foot on the floor pushes at the same time the other foot pushes down on the pedal thus launching you forwards, the tricky bit is putting the floor foot onto the pedal that is now moving/rotating to the top. This will take practice, but since you have learned the balance part first it won’t be as difficult. Also a slight downward slope can help you go to start with.
    Once you can do all this, then you just pedal as you see others do.
    Raise the saddle to a comfortable height once confident.
    If your thighs hurt then this is because your saddle is too low, if you wobble from side to side when cycling then your saddle is probably too high.
    Have fun!

    • Well, for me, the height of the saddle felt okay. But I’m no expert in this field and I don’t know what’s fit and what’s not. I wasn’t readily allowed to push the pedal, actually. They made me scooting or hobby horsing at first and then allowed me to pedal.

      Push off technique feels pretty straight forward, but I still find it hard to keep my balance on the bike. I’ll have to work on that more. Sadly I don’t have a cycle to practice every day. :(

      And thank you for all the tips! I appreciate it very much! :)

      • No probs.
        Balance takes a bit of getting used to and those darn pedals can really hurt if you mess up or slip, so best take them off whilst you’re getting used to balance.
        I once tried to teach someone how to ride without them getting used to balancing, it took a long time and they didn’t get balance right for a long time.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this as it reminds me of me when I learnt to ride a bike.

    I was 13 and both of my friends wanted to teach me. They spent a few hours pushing me along and letting go. Towards the end of the 2nd hour i knew how to ride. It was an amazing feeling and I couldnt believe I was actually riding a bike!! :)

    Good for you for taking the initiative and joining the group. They look like they will be very supportive of you. Hope you have fun riding around.

    One bit of advice…as a new rider you should get a helmet and always be safe.

    • This makes me sad, though, that I haven’t learned cycling yet and I’m over 13. :( But I would’t go out cycling all by myself. So I don’t regret. I’m learning cycling as soon as I found the right group for me. :)

      They are very helpful, supportive, and top of all, friendly. They did advise us to get helmet for our safety. I think, however, that I’ll get one as soon as I hit the road.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  4. That was great to have in our group and we really encourage people to have a cycle and lets starts another life! It’s fun, It’s green, it’s save, it’s safe and it’s a cycle :)

    Btw the grouo founded by a few cycle enthusiast and mainly Mozammel Haque and it’s an everyone’s (cycling lover) group.

    And Thanks a lot for such nice article and hope other newbies/learners will get some courage and inspiration from you. Kudos!

  5. It’s kind of interesting… here everybody learns to ride a bike at age 5/6, but in BD it’s not like that. After my bhabis moved here my brothers taught them how to do it, and they were in their 20′s! At first I found stuff like that hilarious, and honestly any Swede would, but eventually I understood that it all depends on the circumstances in the environment you live. Good luck with the bike and the group :)!

    • True. I actually started regretting for not learning cycle in advance (even though there was literally no way I could). However, moments later I realized that it would be of no use even if I learned cycling because I would not have gone out with my bike that much. Luckily I found the group and it all started making sense. :D

      Thanks for wishing. :)

  6. See… everyhing gets done in its own time… sometimes we can scream blue in the face and what we want doesnt happen.. then suddenly its there in front of you and amazingly its so easy.. like it was just meant to be…

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    • Well, I’m always a little confused if I can actually call them friends because most of the time the person I meet are older than me. I’d probably say that I made acquaintances who might eventually turn out to be friends. :)

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  9. Ooh I love riding with bike….I already learned it in the kindergarten, hehee. It’s such a great feeling when you’re riding with a bike and a nice breeze of air blows on your face… a really great way to spend your time outdoors. I’m so sad I don’t have bicycle here in Bangladesh!

  10. Yeah.. :) I think in future I will get one, when we will move to more quiet area cause where we are living right now its a crazy place, haha. Although I could always go to ride with bike in the mornings or late evenings. Here comes little problem. I am not allowed to go outside alone cause i am a foreigner so its not safe. I have very protective husband, lol.

    • You’re calling ‘crazy’ the place you live in? What should I call Dhaka then? :-o

      I’m not going to use cycle as my regular mean of transportation, actually. It’s for weekend and vacations.

      But you’re right. You’re a foreigner so it’s not safe to roam around without anyone along — not necessarily husband. ;)

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  12. I remember learning how to bike; both good and some painful memories (i.e. injuries).

    @timscyclingblog – I started out well, but because my pedals had grip studs in them, every time I’d take my floor foot off I’d hit the pedal wrong and get scraped. Not to mention the many time I’ve tipped over to one side and my ankle/foot gets between the ground and the pedal. Ouch!.

    Sajib, I know what you mean, man. I was planning on getting a motorbike a few months ago, but got shot down by ‘concerned’ family friends. In any case, as valid as their points are about safety, at what cost should we give up the joy of moving about freely on wheels? I ask myself that question more often these days, and realise it’s a head game people pay with themselves.

    Given the traffic state of Dhaka, even walking isn’t that safe as people hink it ought to be…

    Lastly- I’m planning on getting a bike beginning next year. Thanks for this post; wouldn’t have discovered BDcyclists if not for you. Two thumbs up! :D

    • Thanks bro! I’ll get a cycle at any cost. And I agree with you. Even walking in the street isn’t safe if you talk about traffic and reckless driving in Dhaka. Plus I go to college everyday by bus which is also a risky way of traveling. In every sense, cycling is the safest way after walking on foot.

      Hope you’ll get a cycle soon and join us. :)

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