At the beginning of October I attended a Small Cell Forum conference hosted by Reliance Jio in Mumbai. As I was going to be there a few days and would be working in difference time zones throughout the day I did some research to see if it was possible to go out for a ride whilst I was there. Having previously taken my bike to India in Delhi earlier in the year I had an idea of what to expect from the traffic point of view but wanted to see if the area yielded any cycling routes.
One of the things I do when deciding whether or not to take my bike with me on a business trip especially if it is the first time I am traveling to a city or area is to have a look on the internet to see what sort of cycling community exists and what the area is like for riding in.
The first thing I do is enter a simple search into google.
Cycling in ……….. for example Mumbai.
To my surprise I found quite a cycling community in Mumbai which I didn’t expect. Midnight Cycle Tours, routes into the national parks and groups that would go out along the coastal roads early in the morning or late in the evening.
Invariably there will be a blog post or a cycling club that has a local website with their favorite routes or cycling shops in the area. Sometimes cycle shops or clubs will post details of their regular rides, this is especially true in cities where it may be more difficult to get out on the bike.
From this initial google search I can start to get an impression of what the area has to offer for cycling.
I will then turn to bikemap.net . A website full of user uploaded routes from all across the globe. I have yet to find a place I am visiting that doesn’t have at least one route loaded on that website.
I have also used the Strava Curated routes for some of the cities I have visited. This database is slowly growing and more cities and areas are being added which list top 10 routes in a given city.
One of the things I did in 2017 was join the Rapha Cycling Club as this is a global cycling community. A search of the club forums can normally yield a member or two in most places around the world and as the RCC network expands so do the shops and local chapters which helps in ride planning and routes.
These resources help me decide whether or not there are sufficient opportunities to create some routes that I can tackle in the timespan I will have in a given city or location. Normally this will be either early in the morning on a working day (especially when jet lag kicks in) or maybe at the weekend if I am staying for longer. I will then start plotting some routes on the route tool on Strava. This helps me gauge how successful the rides could be. If I can come up with two or three good options then normally I will take the bike with me.
For Mumbai for example, I managed to plan 5 possible routes. I did get to go out on the bike one day but my ride was cut short as my internet research was not thorough enough to note that the park I wanted to cycle into had a cash entry fee even for cyclists. The info on the website was out of date. Unfortunately my ATM card didn’t work so couldn’t get cash at the time and the opportunity was lost. Nevertheless I know for next time.