Avid cyclists Vishnu Lal R and Krishnamoorthy G V take the battle against the bulge to the streets with their YouTube channel
Staying rooted to one’s chair for long hours is perhaps an occupational hazard for many, especially in the corporate world. Taking the battle against the bulge to the streets are techies and avid cyclists Vishnu Lal R and Krishnamoorthy G V, who have hopped on the saddle with their YouTube channel and Facebook page Kcyclopedia – Kerala’s Cycling Encyclopedia with the message of “promoting an active lifestyle through cycling.”
From vlogs on cycle expeditions to tips and advices for beginners to quirky cycling anecdotes, Kcyclopedia aspires to be exactly what it calls itself: an encyclopedia of cycling. “Today, due to a sedentary lifestyle, many are in bad shape physically. Only a few are taking measures to control it,” says Vishnu, an employee of Envestnet at Technopark.
It all began from a conversation the two were having about “health concerns among the young” last October. “After eating to our heart’s content from a restaurant, we were watching football at a ground. But we felt a pang from the guilty pleasures we were indulging in despite a sedentary lifestyle. It was like an epiphany and we decided to change gears, motivated by fear and guilt,” says Vishnu. Running and hitting the gym did not really work out as they could not sustain the motivation. “For sports, you are dependent on others. Also, it was difficult to assemble a team of friends due to different work timings,” says Krishnamoorthy, a project manager with Palnar Transmedia.
Vishnu Lal R (front) and Krishnamoorthy G V
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But cycling proved different. Once they started enjoying its benefits, there was no turning back. “We realised it was exercise plus experience and that was an impetus for not giving up. With the energy required to run 10 km, I can perhaps cycle for 50 km with the bonus of seeing new places and meeting different people,” adds Vishnu. The duo started hitting the roads on their bikes in the mornings, while embarking on longer rides on weekends. “Kcyclopedia was then launched in April to share our cycling experiences with others,” says Krishnamoorthy.
Krishnamoorthy G V (left) and Vishnu Lal R at Beypore in Kozhikode during All Kerala Cycle Ride
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If the ‘how-to videos’ are chiefly for beginners, the ‘foodie cyclist’ series documents a biker’s culinary experiences within the city. To drive home the message of the importance staying active, Vishnu and Krishnamoorthy, in June, embarked on an All Kerala Cycle Ride, from Kumbala in Kasaragod to Manaveeyam Veedhi in the city, covering about 650 km in six days. “It was a journey of self-discovery. Moreover, the odyssey boosted our confidence and proved that it’s possible to travel such a distance on cycle,” says Krishnamoorthy. They have gone on one-off trips to Ponmudi, Sasthampara, Ponnumthuruthu and Munroe Island and so on so far, the latest being Sundarapandiapuram in Thenkasi, known for its picturesque sunflower fields. While Vishnu often uploads videos of solo bike trips, the two are sometimes joined by members of Trivandrum Bikers’ Club.
- Vishnu says it is important to pick the right cycle before hitting the road to avoid injuries. “Engineering of bikes has improved so much that it’s all physics now. The saddle height has to be proportionately adjusted to the rider’s height to lessen strain on the knees. It’s also why such cycles come with gears. We can customise the ride depending on our health, endurance and purpose,” he points out.
A fair amount of preparation goes into each trip. “On top of the list is helmet. We ensure that the cycles are in perfect running condition. We also carry chocolates and groundnut candies as energy-boosters and, of course, water, which is a cyclist’s fuel. An additional tyre tube and a mini-pump are also handy. The video titled ‘Cycling Tour Essentials’ gives an overview about all these. Then, if I’m travelling solo, I carry my camera tripod too,” explains Vishnu, who edits the videos himself. During the Ponmudi trip, undertaken on a folding cycle, Vishnu flagged off a ‘Dust it off campaign’ as a fervent appeal to those who have bought cycles but have junked them.
Vishnu Lal R and Krishnamoorthy G V talks about the benefits of cycling during their All Kerala Cycle Ride
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Vishnu says one advantage of being a cyclist is it improves one’s road sense. “When you are on a cycle, you tend to be more careful and alert. This effectively translates to the way you ride your motorbike as well.” With the unpredictable roads and chaotic traffic in the country, bicycling is no cinch. “(Laughs) You seldom get respected when you are on the road on a cycle. However, with cyclists constituting only a minuscule minority, I don’t think it’s fair to ask the government to provide you cycling lanes like in other countries. But I hope the state of affairs will change in due course,” he says.
What’s your ride
- Vishnu and Krishnamoorthy both ride a Giant Escape 3. “It was a mutual decision to pick a common model when we started cycling,” says Krishnamoorthy. Vishnu also has a Btwin Tilt 120 folding cycle.
Moving forward, the duo hopes to kick-start “a collective of cycling enthusiasts” within the techie community. “Many techies live within a 5-km radius of Technopark and so it’ll be great if we can make cycling a part of the daily commute. We have already held discussions with some companies about its feasibility,” says Krishnamoorthy.
A Manali-Leh trip on cycle is also in the pipeline. For now, the ‘cycle’ continues.
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