Sunday, July 3, 2016


This is a post about my biking experience. I mostly bike alone (at least for now) on trails and bike friendly roads. I will update this post whenever I have anything new to share instead of creating a new post.

3 July 2016
I recently bought a bike (Swinn Volare 1200) and was very excited about all the possibilities and adventures that are now possible. So I decided to take the bike (and myself) through the paces today. There is a trail (Paint Branch Trail) which passes right behind my office and has always seemed very attractive.I decided to bike this trail today. It was a very pleasant weather today with complete cloud cover but very little chance of rain. It was pretty cool and not humid. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for biking. I started from home at around 10 a.m. and reached the lake at around 10:20. I did a loop around the lake and then started on the trail. I completed the trail and returned on the same trail and went to the office. I covered a total of about 10 miles in 1 hour.

Lake Artemesia

The bike held up pretty well and I was happy with my performance too. I think this was a very good start for a beginner and I hope this good start bodes well for a lot of biking over the next few years.

10 July 2016
I did another 10 mile ride this Sunday and discovered a hidden gem in College Park. The 10 mile ride was mostly on the Northeast Branch Trail of the Anacostia River Trail system. It is a nicely maintained trail but crosses a few roads with traffic along the way. A small inconvenience was that the a major portion of the trail isn't surrounded by trees. So it gets a bit hot biking in the sun. Apart from that, the trail is mostly quite with few joggers and bikers. I have now come to realise that 10 miles is a bit short for me. I will do 15 miles next week.

Also, I decided to try out the Shortcake Bakery in Hyattsville. I had a pineapple and coconut pie, a blueberry scone, and a pineapple cake. All three were amazing.

I should have discovered this place a lot earlier. They have found a new regular customer in me.

17 July 2016
Had an amazing ride today. I did the whole Northwest Branch Trail along with the Northeast Branch Trail for a total length of over 16 miles. It took me about 90 minutes to do this. But I was extremely tired after the ride and realised that I need to get fitter. The trail itself is quite beautiful. It crosses into Montgomery County from PG County. There were some walkers and joggers along the whole trail. It was a good experience and I hope to continue having a lot more of such experiences.

6 August 2016
Tried mountain biking for the first time and I loved it. Just watching mountain biking videos on youtube, I would have never realised that it could be this taxing on the body. A group of 6 people from the university went to a nearby beginners' trail (Rosaryville State Park). We just did the easier outer loop which is about 9 miles of mountain biking. We took several breaks on the way and completed the loop in about 2.5 hours. But all of us were completely out of gas at the end. None of us had the energy to even think about We ate some food and came back.

It was a very good  experience and I will definitely go mountain biking again.

21 August 2016
29 miles. 2 hours 40 minutes (SLOW!). I did the full round trip of the nearby Sligo Creek trail and other parts of the Anacostia trail system (mainly parts of the Nothwest Branch, Northeast Branch and the Paint Branch trails). The trail was fairly well maintained except a few spots where there was maintenance work being done and I had to get down and walk the bike. Also, the signage is very sparse and it is easy to move away from the trail on some forks and intersections with the road. But overall the experience was very good. The weather was awesome. But I am a little bit disappointed with the time it took me to do the trip. I was extremely tired around the 20 mile mark and it became quite difficult to carry on. So yes, I have a to improve a lot.

13 November 2016
I did about 14 miles today on the nearby trail system. Though I did that in about 1 hour. I am quite satisfied with the progress though I don't think I am going to get too much better than this.

August 2017
I sold my trusty Schwinn and bought a new bike. A Giant Contend SL 2 Disc.

Learning a new art

I have been teaching myself how to play the violin on and off for about 7 months now. One thing I learned from this is that it is very difficult to commit to learning something by yourself. There is always something or the other that feels more important than the thing you are trying to learn. This is particularly true if the skill that you are trying to learn doesn't directly relate to your area of study/work.

But, when I do practice, it is extremely satisfying and it makes me happy. Until now I had never understood why would people devote their whole lives towards playing an instrument. But, now I realise that this satisfaction and happiness is what drives people to commit their whole lives towards an art. The sense of achievement when I overcome a particularly difficult exercise or a part of a music piece is extraordinary. I feel the same sense of achievement when I try to learn a new language or when I answer a quiz question that stumped everyone in the room. I think that these moment of happiness and satisfaction are worth the effort it takes to make any kind of progress while learning anything new.