In this vast maze of roads and highways, heavy and light vehicles, motorists, honking-traffic- bribe- signals, is there space for cycling?
Well, there’s plenty! Way beyond the capacity of other motorists trying to make their way through the passage.
Cycle is the only instrument that allows you to get down, move along as conveniently as if you just took a small walk. So while others are peeping ahead at the length of the traffic, you escalate. This feature wouldn’t be convenient with other vehicles, let alone a biker, who looks so disheartened while trudging along with his bike as though air has left not only his bike tyre but also his soul.
Unfortunately, this flexibility of what cycling gives you often also comes with its disadvantages. The lack of speed of cyclists(as compared to other vehicles), ignorance about basic things like keeping to one side of the road. However, even if a cyclist is abiding by all the rules, he is usually treated worse than a passerby. It is as though a cyclist was an invisible transition between pedestrian and other vehicles.
There are countries and in fact cities in India, that have a separate dedicated lane for cyclists. It is a pity then that in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai there are hardly any such facilities for cyclists. Here, roads are dug up double the speed of that being cemented again, plagued by potholes, one does not even have proper footpaths, forget about having a lane for cyclists.
Unfortunately, life in the city is too busy to look into matters like these; people are too busy, they have to go work. Have you seen how crowded trains are in the morning, or while coming back? Who would pay attention to a cyclist? Damn him!
Whereas some people do worship this mechanism of driving themselves to work, meeting someone, going to a joint to grab a bite, so on, or just simply cycling. (the day’s good)
They claim, cycling to work makes them reach faster than the usual traffic, they save enough energy on fuel and money on buying expensive vehicles, they pollute the environment less, and the fact that working hours may not give them time for physical fitness, cycling to work and back home might come off as handy.
Also, when people see you with a helmet on while cycling, a respect comes with the vehicle, you can see people salute you or have respect in their eyes, when your eyes meet theirs as you pass by them. Sometimes they’re just in awe, wishing they were cycling too.
People are picking up I guess with the ‘sight of eyes’ if not really with the word of mouth. There are lady cyclists too in the city, plenty of them, yet another reason to feel more empowered.
People use bikes, cars, to buy something in the vicinity instead of walking or simply cycling. If you have a class close by and don’t intend to walk, why not invest in a cycle when the daily rickshaw fair costs you as much as investing in a new cycle. I, on the other hand while going to the gym don’t do cardio but cycle before going, it’s almost the same, saving 300 bucks a month, if not more.
To have your own force to transport yourself with those legs is to me an expression of freedom.It may never match with the pace of other motorists, but who really cares?
Cycling is for the pleasure of it, to witness your surrounding with more detail, see things moving, passers by moving in a pattern, you float amidst all, to where ever you are headed to or even if you have no clue of what road it is, that’s how you keep it raw and adventurous!
Keep Pedaling, Keep Living
-Ali Nawaz Thaver