Recently on World Bicycle Day, I was going through social media posts of many friends – some posted their cycling photos, videos and few wrote about health benefits of cycling and that how its more prevalent in Netherlands and so on..... I was smiling, reflecting on my relationship with cycles.
I first started cycling on a cricket playground, near my house. Most of my friends already knew cycling by the time I decided to learn it. So while waiting for my batting turn, I would take up one of their cycles and try myself. Sometimes I used to call anyone to help me, but since focus on that ground was cricket, it took me much longer than usual to learn it.
One fine day , there was an inter-colony cricket tournament - my parents and most of the neighbours joined to encourage me and my friends. I was the opening batsman and after a decent score (score not important for the context), I returned back to pavilion. Then there was a drink break and everybody was distracted from the match, I decided to impress my parents, more as a surprise to them and boarded the cycle of my friend and started. Took a full round along the boundary line and as I was approaching closer to the place my parents were seated with my neighbours, I started to cycle faster. Lack of proper practice, new cycle and high speed - I fall flat in full public display. And when such thing happens, reflex action ensures you get up as fast to prove nothing has happened. Its only later, I realised the extent of damage.
As I got admission in college, my father gifted me a moped. So while most of my batch mates used to commute to college on a bicycle, I would drive past them on my moped and felt great. However, soon I realised that I am missing the actual fun. All those who used to cycle together to college were gelling well and a few like me were not considered part of their group. In first year of college I had a crush on a girl and she was also among those who used to cycle to college and I was not part of that group. So I requested my parents to get me a bicycle – my father in particular was amazed that despite having a moped, I was insisting for a bicycle. While we may not realize but parents understand everything. So instead of immediately buying me a bicycle, he promised to get me one next month and in the meantime arranged for me cycle of one of my neighbours who was out of town.
That day is still fresh in my memory as I joined the cycling group. Some of the moped/bike guys drove past us and I could understand how it feels. Shortly that girl’ group also joined us and I remember that she looked at me properly as a new person in the group. I was happy. Soon I started making my way between cycles to get closer to the lady and just when I was there, near her and about to strike a conversation, my cycle chain broke down. And I almost fall. Group (including her) started smiling and soon they were all gone. Obviously I dint know how to fix the chain and struggled for a long time. Next day onwards, I was back on my moped.
In this country, almost everyone rides bicycle - rich, poor, young, old. I also decided to buy one for myself, within first few months of moving in this country. Although my work place was quite far, my main aim for cycling was to exercise and health benefits associated with it. When you are getting old, health becomes primary concern. So I bought this bicycle and was thoroughly enjoying it. It was within a week of that, we were expecting guests at my place. All arrangements were done and suddenly my wife reminded that no soft drinks in the house. Now I had a purpose to ride on my bicycle again, not just exercise. So I went cycling to nearest supermarket, bought a big bottle of soft drink, put it in a plastic bag, hung it on the handle and started riding back to my house enjoying the view and nice weather. That plastic bag also seemed happy, jumping from one side to other. Suddenly the bottle in the bag came between rim of bicycle wheels and... and……..soon I found myself lying on the cycle track with cycle over me. Wheels were damaged and cycle needed decent repair, which I never did.
For many years then, I dint buy a cycle but as they say time is the biggest healer. So after around 4 years of previous incident, I bought a new bicycle, this time a much stronger and costlier one. Started enjoying it. Based on my previous leanings – wasn’t riding it fast, wasn’t hanging any bag on handle, taking good care of chain and so on. Taking all due precautions, this stint was going fine till that Friday evening when I went out cycling. I returned back and as I was parking it in the cycle stand, got a call from my colleague. We started talking on an important official matter and while on the phone came home. Next day morning, I woke up and decided to go cycling. As I reached cycle stand, my bicycle wasn’t there – I was running around there, desperately looking for my bicycle, but it wasn’t there. Seems while talking on phone, I forgot to lock it properly and yes there are cycle thieves in this country as well.
My jinxed relationship with cycle continues…..These days I am fascinated by this electric cycle (pictured below), will keep you updated.