Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Office commute – 5 days, 5 ways

How many times have we felt, “damn, the traffic is so slow, I could easily be faster on foot”, but never dared to try. On one such Friday evening when it took me 1:45mins to cover the 26k home, I decided to try all modes of options to commute to work – Car, Bullet, Bus, Cycle and Run.

Although, I had the phone lines open for 165774hours for the entire country to vote in their favorites, all of 41people voted (blame the economy, H1N1 or both). And like any reality show, the results are being announced after a choti si break.

Summary of the results:
• The least one-way time to commute was recorded while I rode the cycle; 54mins for 26km
• The least average time (both ways) was recorded by the bullet - 61.5mins, the cycle was a close second at 62.5mins
• The time taken by the next three modes were Car (1:12hrs), Bus (assisted: 1:45hrs) and run (2:35hrs)

Terminologies used:
• Work-ability: The ability to work after one commutes to office. Yes, some morons like me work after getting to office.
• Health Equity: Health = health, Equity is used to use up the residual remnants from my Fin MBA
• Relaxation Index: The measure of relaxation during the commute

• Although, I tried to keep the start the commute at the same time each day, there were deviations. Even a 10-15min change can cause quite a difference in results in peak hour traffic. This variable could have been controlled further
• Same as above for the time to leave office too
• There was a significant loss of speed in transmission because of slipping clutch plates in the bullet. But then, we are not getting into muscle fatigue during the cycling phase either
• The experiment is not sensitized to the day of week as well. I also have only the luxury of sample size = 1. With multiple data points, with different modes being taken on different days, one could also account for the Monday morning, Friday evening traffic variations
• All parameters where I have arrived at objective results (viz., cost, time, carbon footprint) have been converted to a 5-point scale for measurement. All parameters where results are subjective (viz., work-ability, safety, health equity, relaxation index) have also been subject to my subjectivity
• The ‘Overall ratings’ is arrived at using weighted-average. The weights are provided by me (Health equity 25%, Work-ability 20%, Cost & Safety 15%, Time & relaxation 10%, Carbon footprint 5%). Of course, this could vary from person to person and the ‘Overall ratings’ are quite sensitive to the weights considered
• We are comparing superman legs with them machines

13th to 17th July 2009

Route taken: Boopsandra>Hebbal>Windsor Manor>Chalukya circle>Cubbon Park>Richmond circle>Divyasree Chambers>Hosur Road>Forum Mall>Krishna Cafe>Wipro Park K2>Agara jn>Iblur Jn>Wipro Corporate Office
Total Distance: 26km
Make: Superman
Start time: 6:00AM onward, 6:40PM return
Total time taken: 2:32hrs onward, 2:39hrs return
Cost to commute: Nil

Notes: I wear high viz clothing, cap & reflective wristbands for safety. I run on the right side of the road (opp. to the direction of traffic). At the earliest opportunity, I jump onto the footpaths. Despite utmost care, I nearly zonked out when I rammed against a signpost (twice) & also got shown the finger by one impatient jackass on the ring road. I use my car (parked conveniently in the basement car park at work) as a makeshift cupboard for my change of clothes and laptop & shower and change at work.

Make: Giant OCR Road bike
Start time: 7:30AM onward, 6:50PM return
Total time taken: 54mins onward, 71mins return
Cost to commute: Nil
Notes: I wear high viz clothing, helmet & gloves for safety. I alight from the bike if I need to take footpaths, maintain high alert if I need to jump signals and do not listen to music or answer the mobile while on the bike. The morning ride is a very pleasant experience indeed. The car, shower & change get me work ready in about 45mins or so.

Make: Hyundai Elantra
Start time: 7:45AM onward, 7:20PM return
Total time taken: 64mins onward, 1:20hrs return
Cost to commute: Approx. Rs. 110
Make: BMTC Ring road bus
Start time: 8:30AM onward, 7:00PM return
Total time taken: 1:45hrs onward, 1:40hrs return
Cost to commute: Day pass Rs. 30
Notes: Last mile connectivity issues at both ends; had to hitch a lift from work to the ring road. A lot to be desired on the frequency and timelines of the Volvo buses. Heavily crowded bus on the return.

Make: Royal Enfield Bullet
Start time: 8:45AM onward, 7:00PM return
Total time taken: 59mins onward, 1:04hrs return
Cost to commute: Approx. Rs. 75
Notes: Due to clutch pads smoothening out, the power was not transmitting from the primary drive. Therefore, even at high revs, the speed remained low. Also, I left a little later than usual to work on the bullet adding to the total time taken.

• Saturday was spent in roughening the clutch plates
• More importantly, after another week of trying to keep with this schedule, I gave up mostly because the running was difficult to sustain
• I now run partly (12km) and cycle partly (13km) to work, parking the cycle at Madhu’s (my sis) place overnight and picking it up the next morning. I find this a perfect mix of commute, training, cross training & work-ability
• Thanks for participating in the survey, most of you got it right. Since this survey did not involve sending an SMS, you saved Rs.6!! Cheers!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bangalore Bicycling Championship 2 –Race to Nandi

…and within a few hours of landing in Bangalore, I was busy spreading word about the new Giant in town, when I was casually drawn into RSVPing an ‘yes’ to the second leg of the Bangalore Bicycling Championship (BBCh).
And that is how, one day before I was to be engaged to Shreya,
“Main Uske Upar Tha,
Woh Mere Neeche Thi,
Haathon Mein Haath The,
Pairon Mein Pair the,
Please bura maniye,
woh sirf meri cycle thi
Wah wah!! And Wah wah!!
The plan was also to pass on my Firefox Roadpro to Bharath (who was recently won the duathlon & has a PB of 18:33mins for a 5k) & Samim picked me from Hebbal at 6AM.

The race was to start from the Coffee Day near Jakkur at 7am and I had never ridden with BBC before. Although I knew there were 60 registrations, it was another thing to actually see them on the service lane opp. to Coffee Day. Everyone was kicked about the event – there were last minute topping up of air, bikes being fitted together, pleasantries being exchanged, photos being taken and some even doing initial warm up laps. While all this was happening, instructions were given over a loudspeaker as we all piled up at the start line.

We started at 7am, I had no drafting or pacelining whatsoever, simply wanted to try the climb on my new baby and ride back home. There were race marshals (members volunteer to be out of the race to help organize the chaos) at the highway turn off point (17km) and at the base of Nandi hills (31km). I did fairly well on the flat stretches. I averaged 33kmph before the turn-off and 25kmph after the turn-off to the base.

But it’s really the climbs that separate the wheat from the sheaf. While I struggled after about 5k into the climb taking nearly 43mins to ride up, Dipanker who came in first, climbed in 25.5mins!! Nevertheless, it was the maximum I have been on saddle on the Nandi climb and I have happy to have had minimal running/walking stretches.

I averaged 23kmph over the entire distance. I came in 18th out of 70 finishers, with 3 bikers passing me in the last bend. With 11 points from this, I have made a grand entry into the points table of the Bangalore Bicycling Championships.

After relaxing for awhile, we rode down to the Idly point for some breakfast. Sudhir, Murthy and other cronies decided to pace line on the way back. It was soon apparent that drafting behind another takes a lot more than just knowing what needs to be done. It works well for bikes/bikers of similar capabilities. While the rest of the gang broke off at Coffee Day, Sudhir and I continued all the way back home.

Mahesh did a wonderful job (and a brave one, esp while perched on the jeep with his SLR) with the lens and gave us all those wonderful pics. I have splashed them all over this blog/facebook/orkut. More pics from this shutterbug at http://www.flickr.com/photos/purpwaltz/sets/72157620529487549/

Despite my “Haathon Mein Haath, Pairon Mein Pair” incident, the engagement went on peacefully and I am now engaged! Pics you can see at http://www.flickr.com/photos/manojbhat/sets/72157621333296046/

Stats, route elevation courtesy BBC members, Photos courtesy Mahesh.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The American Independence Outsourced Run

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
And thus on the 5th day of July I jumped on my cycle to place claim to my ‘certain unalienable right’ to attend the Uncle Singh’s Not American Independence run in Bangalore’s countryside. Well, since the 4th July run was outsourced to Bangalore, someone had to goof up on delivery and it was one day late!
I have hared runs in the past in this territory and knew the approach from Devanahalli. But I dug the map out and figured that there was a much shorter way via Bagalur and decided to try it on my new set of wheels.

The roads are laid recently and there is very little traffic to worry about. So, if you want to do a 70k loop from Hebbal, you should try this. Head North from Hebbal towards BIAL. Take the right at Bagalur cross > Bagalur > You will hit a T-junction, take the road that goes towards Gummanahalli (2km) & Yediuru (5km) (not towards Kannur) and then take a left on the Hospet-Devanahalli road to Singanahalli. From here Devanahalli is about 10k.
The run site was near Singanahalli.

Reproducing the run report by Vikram (Illiterate) Ram for two reasons – one, such well written hash trash, two – me lazy.
...but we all, like, got these really cool t-shirts with this kinda neat pattern thing (ugh; can't believe I just said that; score).
Anyway, the Scribe is back from holiday but was distracted from the setting and specialities of this Run, first by a certain charming lady who is back from her holiday (with tigers), and then a certain other charming lady who fretted over what to pack (or not) for her impending travels, with FRB-spouse, to the Leh Marathon.
Still, it was observed that a record turn out – some 60 Hashers large and twee – made it to a trail muddled by many checks, checkbacks, falsies and fishhooks which kept the pack together across several acres of farmland and those ubiquitous eucalyptii. There was a vodka/melon stop.
Followed by Part 2 of what was, in fact, An Astonishingly Long Run...at the end of which, and courtesy a miscalculation of rations, many people perished of starvation.
Circle charges:
  • Hares Pervert Producer, Crushed Nuts and Crude Sick for what they accomplished by way of terrain and chalk.
  • The United Colours of Horrors, comprising of Idiot, Meghana, Eric, Simran, Rohan, Yohann, Siraj, Chilly Filly and Pygmy.
  • Queenfisher for voicing concern that she hadn't been iced in ages. As that situation was remedied, Raw Sex held forth on the 9th August Run and the dinner-do after, the Pondicherry relay run, and the so-on and so-forth. What Queenfisher did not melt down was given over to
  • Virgins on Ice For The very First Time: Satish, Fareed, Nikhil, John, Roopa, Durgaprasad, Lekha and Amit. Welcome!!!
  • Crude Slick was re-assigned to ice for introducing a self-confessed “marathon runner”. Disgraceful!
  • Idiot, Karin and Krish, and some others whose names elude us, were honoured for being Born in the USA...or something of the sort.
  • Mama Mia, Kumkum and Idiot were feted for the dubious distinction of being Three Generations of Hashers In The Same Family. Say...has anyone noticed just how much beer Idiot gets to guzzle?
  • Phatphatiya (me, me!!) and Lekha were congratulated for getting Engaged (not to one another)
  • Pervert Producer was acknowledged for Sponsoring Those Super Cool T-Shirts.

GM and RA led the hymn. Just as we thought thought it was over, Perv Prod set off a surprise display of fireworks. Must have been all that sulphur: the skies opened and everyone drove home in a massive downpour.

I did manage to hitch a ride back in the beer van and escaped almost all of the massive downpour. On On…

Run No. 878

Run No. 878 starting from Obelix’s home in South Shields was like a tour around the suburban Cleadon. The trail took us to the Cleadon Mill – ruins of a haunted (?) windmill from the 1800s. And when we were tired looking for the flour in knee high grass, we were shepherded down the hill and back up again near the water tower. It was quite a bright sunny evening and the group was split with a few of us FRBs breaking away in front. But soon speedbump and I were lost and got back on trail after a few anxious minutes.
With all the historical sections done with, in the beginning, we jumped at the chance to short-cut when lubricunt offered the shorter route back to the circle.
Back at the circle, we were treated to some mushrooms and bell peppers BBQs. And while we were soaking in the amber liquid and barbeques, we were treated to some spectacle in the Obelix’s backyard – a near complete rainbow.
More pictures and colors at: http://picasaweb.google.co.in/manoj.bhat/ObelixNHHH

Ps: It happened on Jul 17th, which means I am in namma Bengaluru. So you can pick up the phone and call ;)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Totempole NH3 Run

A day after the Blaydon race, was another treat – a fantastic run no. 877 with the NH3. It started from the Totem Pole’s backyard, into many hills in and around the Hetton park area.
Faceplant, speedbump and I managed to get to a few FRB checks. Back at the circle in Totem pole’s house, I was charged for sitting at the FRB checks which earned me my visiting hash name, Disposed Phatphatia.
The wheat beer, Schneider Weisse and lemon pickles brought back memories of home.The photos here: http://picasaweb.google.co.in/manoj.bhat/NHHHAtTotemPoles