-An interview with Sachin Chandravarkar
Q: When did you get into cycling?
A: I first bought a cycle 6 years back. I took a friend’s well-meaning advise to first buy a cheap cycle and then, if I enjoy it, upgrade. I bought a 4K cycle and it was NOT fun! I didn’t cycle for 4.5 years when one day. One day, I rented a really nice cycle from ProCycle ( a bike store in Bangalore) and I really enjoyed cycling. That motivated me to get my cycle repaired. I took the cycle to BumsOnTheSaddle (a Bike store in Bangalore) for servicing to give cycling another go. There, convinced that the cost of servicing was too high, and having test-ridden some amazing cycles, I finally decided to invest in a good cycle. I bought home a shiny Bergamont Helix 4.3. That is my bike today and it has been an amazing journey.
Q: Why did you get into cycling?
A: I had a recurrent shoulder dislocation – that pretty much excludes gymming and most high-impact activities. So, for fitness, I decided to explore cycling.
Q: Did cycling help you achieve your fitness goals?
A: It did and how! I lost about 10 kgs in the first 6 months. Of course, that weight-loss motivated me and I started logging my food and watching my calories. I started using a food journal app (called myfitnesspal) and eventually, resorted to making my own food to calculate and control my caloric intake! Using that, I further lost 6 kgs in 50 days.
Q: You continued cycling after having met your fitness goal. Why?
A: My reason for cycling changed! For me, cycling has become meditative – it gives me time to be alone with my thoughts. I spend a lot of my cycling time thinking about various stuff – it is my “own” time. Cycling has become more addictive now and is, a constant reminder of my own growing fitness.
Q: How do you approach fitness in general? Do you work on goals, or do you “feel” yourself getting fitter?
A: I strictly believe “You can manage it only if you can measure it”. Yes, I do feel myself getting fit, but to truly know, you need to measure it. To me, fitness to a large extent also means fitness of my heart. That is the first muscle that is formed and the first one to give away eventually. So, I do measure my heart-rate through a Garmin HR monitor. Every individual has a maximum heart rate that is a function of a few things including your age. To me, heart rate is an indication of how much effort does the heart have to put in for you to do the indication. During my early days, I would reach my max Heart-rate quite early in the ride, which would imply I wasn’t that fit. For me, my max HR is above 180, and over 180 I know I am putting stress on my heart. Fitness is a function of 2 things – How long does it take for my heart to reach an HR of 180 and how fast does my heart recuperate from there. These days, I can see it recuperates faster and it takes longer to reach max HR – so I know I am getting fitter. Of course, for weight-loss, I prefer being in the Fat-burn zone. Usually, if I push myself one day (by letting the HR reach the upper levels), I take it easy the next day. I like riding with the HR at 60-70% of the max rate for long distances.
Q: So, what accompanies you while cycling? What gear do you carry on you?
A: I have Cleated shoes from Specialized. The SPD Pedals are for MTB cleats – so that enables me to walk off the bike, unlike Road-bike cleats. I use a Garmin Watch ( a forerunner 110), which accompanies by Garmin HR belt. I prefer logging my rides on my Garmin because it lasts longer and is more accurate than my phone. I carry my IPod (with a one-sided headset). On my IPod I load music at 88 beats per minute so my cadence matches that! I have a Decathlon 3L hydration backpack, which I used for my Brevet. I wear my Bike Shorts and Jersey. For longer rides, I carry a top-tube pouch which houses my Phone and Energy bars, a Saddle Bad with spare tubes, tools, puncture kit and pump. I carry a bottle for water and I wear cycling sun-glasses with prescription lenses (an SG-800 optic from Decathlon). I also have lighs from PlanetBike (both back lights and front lights, dependent on AAA batteries) and I carry spoke lights. For my short morning rides, I carry a side-pouch for keys + bottle for water.
Q: What apps do you use?
A: Since most cyclists are on Strava, I am on Strava. However, my primary recording means is my Garmin Watch, which logs my rides to Garmin Connect (which records it online). I use an app called “SyncMyTracks” to sync my rides between Garmin Connect and Strava and Endomondo. My HR data comes to Garmin as well.
Q: What are your favorite routs?
A: For short morning rides, I like this route – http://www.strava.com/routes/1397950 . It is a nice circular route within Bangalore. For longer rides, I like this route –http://www.strava.com/routes/3141850 .