Bicycle kick

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Four years ago, untrained endurance rides and an ill-fitting bike proved costly for Dr Krishnakumar C V. An associate professor with Thrissur Medical College and an orthopaedic surgeon, Krishnakumar had to have his both legs operated on because of severe damage to knee caps.

“My misadventure was undertaking a 400km brevet on a budget bike,” says Dr Krishnakumar. Before he had finished 375km the strain left the doctor in deep pain. “Both my knees were burning and I was not even able to walk. I had to do surgery on both the legs,” says Krishnakumar. The terrible experience made him explore the science of cycling and the risk posed by bad cleat alignments, improper saddle heights, and gear usage.

Krishnakumar feels that the lack of awareness about the kind of cycles one needs and bad experience from untrained use are reasons why many people who join the cycling bandwagon give it up.

“About 90% people who buy a cycle and start riding absolutely have no idea what they are doing. They don’t know there is a science behind it,” says Krishnakumar, who acts as a technical advisor to Crank, a niche bike store in Thrissur, which has now built a small community of cycling enthusiasts.

Krishnakumar also has a YouTube channel, which shows him narrating his daily ride from West Fort in Thrissur to the medical college, where he works, 13km away, on a camera-rigged bike, tricks, and hacks that range from riding in the hot sun to one-minute-tube change.

Krishnakumar believes in the philosophy of openness and sharing, giving back to the community and riding experts like Hari Pamboor and Lenin, who trained him to be a cyclist.

Many of these riders, despite being veterans in the sport, were not being able to balance their professions and hobbies. “They are all passionate riders but the more time they spend on their hobby, their earnings drop. As a doctor, I can delicately balance my career and passion but for them, the income would always be in the negative,” says Krishnakumar, who came up with the idea of Ride Experience for the benefit of noobs.

Anyone desirous of experimenting with cycling could book a slot with them. Hari, an endurance rider with years of experience behind him will take them along for a ride to scenic spots in the district.

“Mostly we ride up to Poomala, a scenic spot with a check dam some 16km away. It is a good climb and we offer them tips on which gear to use and when,” says Pamboor, an avid trekker and photographer. His tryst as a professional cyclist began the day after he bought a bike with gear, seven years ago, riding up to Khardung La pass in Leh, considered to be a biker’s paradise. Hari has done Himalayan cycling trips twice and is now dreaming of a world tour.

On October 2, Shyamkumar Jayakrishnan, a techie based in Kochi reached out to Dr Krishnakumar after watching his explainer videos in the Doc Rider channel.

“It has been almost 15 years since I rode a bike and he suggested that I take an Experience Ride. They were all seasoned riders and as a beginner, it was a great experience,” says Shyamkumar.

Krishnakumar feels the rides are many times better than lecturing someone for hours. “By the end of the ride, people get an idea of what cycling is. It also provides a steady income to those who are interested in teaching cycling aspirants,” says Krishnakumar. The social entrepreneurship model is also helping people make a career out of the knowledge they gain. Crank is training three people currently to be bike technicians. Two others who received training are on their way to set up their own shops, he said.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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