Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cycling in Bangalore

There is something beautiful surrounding all the smog and pollution that Indian vehicles make. Most often they are packed to the brim with people or goods while emitting a thick disgusting black exhaust. When I left the airport it seemed as if my cab driver had absolutely no regard for neighboring vehicles and was haphazardly tooting his horn to some disjointed tune in his head, but I soon realized that there is a lot of order in what could be regarded as chaos.

The other evening, a coworker and myself went for a walk where I got a feel for the traffic and pedestrian patterns. I only learned one thing: speed bumps are the only obstacles that remotely resemble traffic signals. Vehicles will be going at a good clip and very abruptly slow down to traverse the speed bump. These speed bumps aren’t the type you can fly over by any means. There are no lanes to guide mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, taxis, flat bed trucks, buses, rickshaws, pedestrians, feral animals, cows and scooters. There are no traffic lights to navigate the intersections of roads; it is every man for them self.

When I first got on the road I felt as though I was in the final level of Frogger’s evil bastard brother that is far too difficult for anyone to ever beat. Soon, however, I started to get into a rhythm. I was flowing with the traffic. I found out that the excessive beeping is very useful to know where the cars are. After a few km on the road, the erratic driving became what can loosely be described as graceful. The intersections are really interesting. I think that the only analogy I can draw to these intersections was when I worked a checkpoint for the Toys for Tots race on the weekend before Christmas in front of the FAO Schwartz and Apple Store near Central Park. They are just jam packed with a bunch of indecisive people looking around.

I am slowly inching my way closer and closer to the main city. The area that I am staying in is touted as the Silicon Valley of India. Needless to say when you call Dell to get your computer fixed you are calling a few km from my hotel. It is difficult to navigate the streets here because there are no real road signs except for some sparse highway numbers, so in order to get around you need to find landmarks. But when you are new to an area, mostly everything looks the same.

That is all for now. Once I get more comfortable with riding I will post pictures/video. I feel really uncomfortable taking pictures at the moment because I stick out like a sore thumb.


I am riding my Surly with rear brakes because I didn't have time to find a way to have the BMW forks accommodate a front brake. Tom lent me a set of bullhorns which are worth more than their weight in gold because it is really hilly out here.

No comments: