It's been an year of riding the Merida road bike. I'm starting to think that instead of just sticking to one bike, I'd have to ride other bikes occasionally to get to know them and feel the difference. My activity included daily commuting to work, random evening solo rides, and occasional weekend rides with TBA. I was doing all of this on the same bike, and crossed the 5000 km mark this month. My increasing interest in other bike types had been bugging me to buy another bike for commute. Of-course there were other things that led me to take this decision. Commuting on the road bike made me more aggressive and fast on the roads. The ever increasing traffic made it even worse, I was always on the lookout for that pothole which might pop out of nowhere, the autos which stop suddenly to the left, the bikes and cars that come in the wrong direction with high beams that blind you, the bikers who try to overtake you through the little space.
Just one look at Astr Sidewinder bike, and I was really impressed with the simple design. I've always wanted an alternate bike for commuting to office, instead of the Merida road bike. I did my first test ride of the bike at The Bike Affair Kondapur in the Fixie mode, and I loved the responsiveness of the bike. However I had decided against riding in the Fixie mode during office commute owing to my notoriously spiky speed graphs ;)
I got to choose between yellow, white and silver frames for my height, and I chose the white frame with blue rims. I really loved the look of the bike, the simple frame, no gears and the bull horn with the blue bar-tape (We have a choice of various types of handlebars) Riding a new bike, after having ridden the road-bike for the past year, was an entirely new experience. The frame was a little heavy, the handlebar was very light, the brake position was different, and there was no more gear shifting.
Commuting on this bike felt like meditation all the way. I didn't have to bother shifting gears to maintain the cadence (This was one of the causes for the spikes in speed graph), and most importantly I was enjoying the ride rather than rushing my way to the destination. I was skeptical about choosing the gear ratios while assembling the bike, but after talking to Gokul, I decided to go for the usual 42/18 keeping the uphills in mind.
Ever since I started riding the bike in free-wheel mode, a few things that I noticed during my commute was the consistent speed, less use of overall power (no more profuse sweating in the mornings ^^ ), improvement in the overall stability of the ride. The last addition was my music system (Bluetooth speaker fixed to the handlebar) to this bike. This time I chose some light music instead of the usual heavy metal (which almost turned my road bike into a mean-machine), and it's a perfect match.
I feel like this bike has given me so much insight into how we can enjoy commuting in the city. I also feel that this is the perfect bike that I've been looking for, to start off my video channel about commuting in the city. And the best part about this bike is the style, which is a result of some really good color combinations and the simple design. I find this riding experience to be soothing my mind. I love this bike !!
Edit: I've shifted to Fixie mode for about a week. Been commuting and also did a 100km long ride in that mode. After that long ride, when I got off the bike, the walking felt really weird. May be I was so much into the bike, that my legs forgot how to walk ;) During the long ride, I've met another rider, Lipi, with the SideWinder. It felt like I've met a fellow countryman in a distant country. She was riding really well, and she told me that she's enjoying the bike, but still have to get used to the Fixie mode. Now I'm completely riding the bike in this mode, and wish that I get rid of those brakes soon.
As sent by Uday Bhasker.