Are you thinking about beginning cycling after hearing about its numerous benefits? Here are some things that you might want to know from the expert himself. Ashly Alemao is one of the founders of The Faridabad Cycling Club and a veteran rider with 10+ years of experience in endurance cycling. In a conversation with SocialBoat, he talks about what it has taken to come this far. He offers valuable insights for cyclists in particular and fitness enthusiasts in general.
How The Journey Began
Ashly had always been active in fitness since his school days, winning sports championships, etc. He would even cycle to his school. But after that, while fitness remained a part of life, he had left touch with cycling. 10 years ago, one of his close friends, Lok Thapa, introduced Ashly to hard-core endurance cycling. Little did he know then that cycling would become the sensation of Ashly’s life and he would go on to impact many lives with it.
During those days, Ashly came across a French-associated cycling club, Audax Club Parisien (ACP) has agents in different counties to organize these cycling events called Randonneur. In India also, they organise these BRM events. A minimum of 200 km with them gets you a Randonneur tag for life.
“I did a 300 km with them 10 years ago and earned the tag. Since then I have been a regular participant.”
The Faridabad Cycling Club
Ashly, along with a couple of his other friends who are cycling enthusiasts, launched the Faridabad Cycling Club. They created Facebook and Instagram pages. Ashly introduced all those who had joined the club to randonneuring and endurance cycling and the club has grown widely since with some 2000 followers today. To join the club, all you have to do is find the signing up line on their Facebook page.
What does it take to maintain such a club?
The club consists of people from different walks of life and levels of experience. What unites them is their love and enthusiasm for cycling. The ones who are new to the club are given proper guidance by the experienced riders and are taken care of fully.
For smooth functioning, the head needs to be very active in responding to the concerns of members, organizing daily, weekly and monthly rides, and taking special care of the new riders.
“As a club, we also provide marshals, hydration, and support vehicles, we need to take care of that as well.”
The weekly rides organized by the club on the weekends are the most common. They clever a distance of at least 50 km. Some members of the club ride daily and they are accompanied by anyone who wishes to. Ashly also takes some of the riders to events and competitions organized on a larger scale.
Cycling And Its Changing Phases
Comparing the current situation of cycling in North India to the condition 10 years ago, Ashly says that people have become more aware of the benefits of cycling.
“Cycling, swimming, and running are three exercises that are complete. If you are doing either of them regularly, there is no need to do anything else. Of course, it is beneficial to complement it with other forms of exercise, but they are complete in themselves.”
This is why cycling has become more common than it was 10 years ago. During the pandemic especially, Ashly’s club received a lot of new members. With work being suspended and health being an important serious concern, cycling as an exercise really boomed then. So much so that almost all the cycles were sold out in most shops.
How cycling changed Ashly
“I am 44 but I feel like 25.”
Ashly credits his physical fitness to cycling. When he had started, he was struggling with bodyweight issues which were affecting his body negatively. Moreover, most of the common ailments are caused by obesity. Cycling helped Ashly in maintaining his fitness and 10 years later he feels much more energetic than when he started.
Tips for Cyclists
From his 10-year-experience of being a cyclist and running a cycling club, Ashly has some advice for all the cycling enthusiasts-
- To extract the maximum benefit from cycling, you must ensure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep.
“The biggest mistake people make is when they sacrifice their sleep for an early morning ride.”
- A cyclist needs to be physically fit and for that proper nutrition with all the important nutrients is essential. Ashly has been practicing a 14-hour-long intermittent fasting method, while he sleeps, and he can observe the benefits that such a practice is having on his body. Fruits such as bananas and dates, which have the right amount of salt content required by a cyclist, can be taken before the ride.
- Hydration and timely breaks are the most important for an endurance ride. A hydrated cyclist is way more likely to ride faster than someone whose body isn’t hydrated.
- During the scorching summers, it is important to wear proper light breathable clothing. Carry and apply enough sunscreen lotion or simply wear full sleeves, or both.
Ashly’s aim for the future is to grow the club far and wide and introduce more people to cycling and its benefits.
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