Abhishek Tarfe, founded VeloCrushIndia in 2012 with the sole intention of promoting the bicycle. VeloCrush aspires to promote cycling not only as a mode of friendly transport but also as sport. Abhishek is a self confessed cycle addict and believes that cycling is the answer to life the universe and everything. He works as a research analyst at Agilisys and is also a freelance writer, but his full time job happens to be cycling! This is an excerpt from the informal chit chat we had over the phone with Abhishek where he speaks about how he keeps the velo’s wheel rolling!
How did it all begin ?
Life has its own ways of teaching you lessons. The world seemed perfect, until I popped an year in senior college. Sitting under a Tapri as I sobered my sorrow on the pleasure of smoking a cigarette, I wondered how I used to be a champion in school and now a classic loser. Little did I know destiny would lead me to cycling and make me brag about its beauty on my website. That’s when I had a Eureka Moment- Cycling. Next morning when I got back from a ride, I felt completely refreshed and I promised to do it again until I fell prey to the humble bicycle. I soon started cycling to college and started bragging about how awesome I am when it comes to the velo. And that’s when a friend suggested me. Why don’t you start a blog if you love cycling so much? I loved the idea but my grammar and vocabulary sucked to the core. After a few months of research, thinking and analyzing I created Velocrush India and set the wheels rolling.
How is cycling different from other sports? If I want to pursue a sport, for the sake of it, how would you sell cycling to me?
Tell me how do you play football or cricket? Cycling is unique in its own way it cannot be played and you can carry it wherever you like. The stronger you are the further you go. A dear friend told me once- cycling is something so real, you don’t need to sell it. If you know the beauty of the humble bicycle she’s already sold.
What problems do you usually face when you use your bike on city streets?
I own a Scott speedster 20 and I can’t afford to be careless with her. The infrastructure being weak doesn’t support cycling, the potholes the traffic are the biggest culprits. The car drivers drive like in GTA vice city. So even if I leave for a ride at 10 in the night there’s still traffic. If I leave in the morning the cars start clogging the road sooner than expected. If you want to have a good ride, you need to ride atleast 40 kms north just to get outside the city, and breathe.
Your cycling wish list?
I want to meet Sir Chris Hoy in person
Ride on a velodrome (I think there’s one in Pune)
Learn the physics and A to Z of bicycle frames and components
Make a community around Velo Crush India
Own a house with four walls and bicycles everywhere
This list will never end…
How do you usually feel when people ask you if you have a bike and the answer is not Pulsar/Karizma?
My dad gifted me a motorbike when I was in junior college. And now I simply can’t derive pleasure out of it. That feeling of being helpless stuck in traffic when I know I’d be breaking signal, popping footpaths and mocking the drivers! When I’m asked that question, I tell people about both my women (that’s how I call my velos’!) starting with the Scott and they are flattered – the end.
Tell us more about your fitness regime.
I try keeping it simple as much as I can. I cycle and workout alternate days and on a weekend a long ride. I keep a tab on my eating habits and most of the times it’s a fail.All am trying to say is I’m just like you with a dash of being different and I fight and struggle to stay focused. And it’s completely okay to be off track at times, but don’t give up.
What is the craziest thing you have done with your bike?
Have you ever tried peeing on a bicycle while riding? I did!
How do the girls find the men on cycles? Any personal experience?
I’m still trying to figure that out. Women do find a cyclist cute/hot in those tights with proper gear. It’s quite a flattering sight as cyclists in India are not something you expect to see every minute. I’m not quite sure if all women think the same. It also doesn’t mean they will like all cyclists in lycra. As for my experience, a year back I was climbing my all-time favorite- The Walkeshwar. I still do! Its beauty under the moonlight is so mesmerizing and is a perfect end to a strenuous ride. To the left, you have the scenic Arabian Sea with the queens necklace lit up. The waves keep crashing on the shore and the small fishing boats dangling on a string trying to stay alive. This one day I rode up without knowing that these two girls in their SUV were following me all the way up. I could tell you from the way they checked me out, their smiles and those stares was such a motivation. I can picture the scenario as I say this!
Tell us in a sentence, ‘why cycle’?
It’s a ticket to happiness and living a healthy lifestyle.
What are some of the cycling tips/tricks that you know and we don’t?
To my observation, cyclists in India go hard. Specially, the newbies. They go hard on higher ratios damaging their joints which can be harmful in the long run. They need to adapt to the technique called ‘cadence’. You can save energy, not get fatigued out and attain higher speed at lower ratios.
What would be your favourite sports movies?
Rocky – Die hard Sylvester Stallone fan
Never Back Down- too motivating
Goal- this movie just tells me to go on and fight because no one’s doing it for you.
Do you listen to music when you’re riding ? If yes, what is your favourite adrenaline pumping soundtrack?
I’m a sucker when it comes to music. I can’t think of riding without the rush that good music can give you. My playlist is usually a mix up of electronic dance music, trance, punk rock, alternative rock etc. I love The Script, Sum41,Yellowcard, My Chemical Romance and The Fall Out Boy.
(To know more about Abhishek and VeloCrush, www.velocrushindia.com)