Randonneuring picks up pace in Hyderabad
Hyderabad: Randonneuring or long distance cycling where riders attempt courses of 200 km or more is catching up in Hyderabad. While the participation in the well-known endurance cycling event, when it was introduced in the city was a trickle, over the years with the development of a robust cycling ecosystem and awareness towards leading a healthy lifestyle, the numbers have started to rise.
Hyderabad Randonneurs that conducts long distance cycling events in the city is now organising a 200 kilometre ride on Saturday and more than 250 riders are part of it.
The rides, in bicycling parlance, are called Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs) or just brevets. "Anyone who finishes 200 km is a Randonneur. Those doing 200 BRMs, 300 BRMs, 400 BRMs and 600BRMs in a single season are called Super Randonneurs. Some even do 1,000 km and 1,200 km," says Ramineni Hemanth, member, Hyderabad Randonneurs.
Before the start of the event, riders are given all directions properly marked in a cue sheet while a few others also use smartphones. "Longer rides need preparation. One has to carry power banks to charge mobiles. Lights and reflecting vests are must for night riding. Many eat rice while on rides but some carry caffeinated energy bars, gels and some chikki too," he says.
A majority of the cyclists utilise road bikes to complete the course, as they are more efficient, have aerodynamic design and lighter in weight. Electric bikes are not allowed in long distance brevets. The riders also need to prepare to trouble shoot like fixing punctures or dealing with minor breakdowns of bikes during the course.
Riders need to be conscious and alert of the surroundings all the time. "During a 1,000 km brevet, a few people who were on motorbikes, pulled my hand. I would have fallen off my bike. Luckily, my co-riders were with me. It is advisable to ride as a group to avoid mugging or ever teasing," says Niharika, a senior rider among the cycling community in Hyderabad.