Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cycle Diaries

Usual day, usual routine, usual food, usual dialogues to mom, usual paper reading, usual mannerisms.... unusual thoughts!!!

The sun has risen, but shrouded by the meandering clouds..perfect day for doing an unusual thing to happen...few things came to my mind..why not walk? why not cycle? cycle!!! reminds me of the days i used to 'not use' cycle having a wildcat kept at my home...of the day when i slammed to a waste bin devoid of breaks, of the day we celebrated cycling with 500 odd participants in the Reinventing Cochin Cycle Rally.... this was enough to spur me to take an unusual route !!

I didnt have second thoughts to ask my neighbour to lend me their cycle!! for i dont know anyone who rode cycle in this motor cycle days!! BSA SLR was ready to take me..i chose to ride to my office located 10 km from my house which had the National Highway (NH 47) converging at the busiest junction of my state (vytilla, Kerala). This thought was enough for a person to retract from the endeavour. Inspite of father's 'its high traffic and dangerous' talk, I had made up my mind to take the unusual route!!

The Journey

Without much fuss i pedalled my way through the route, which I and many others usually sped in motorcyles and cars. My first uphill task was to cover the first stretch consisting of small hill and a potholed road. I had to meander the curves and junction points without losing 'my mind and balance'. I looked for companions, only to find one student of the adjacent school (Vennala High School) staring with his geared cycle... i am facing competition!! i swiftly overtook him, only to find that he took another route!! Missing a chance to satisfy my ego of touching the finishing line first, I continued my journey...

By that time I had overtaken a 'Driving School' learner, learning the basics of controlling a machine!! Pondered over a moment as to the time and money spend in learning an art operated by a motor!! Recalling P.T Usha, our Payolli Express, who had opined that motorsports in no sports, when compared to the physical limits experienced when she missed the bronze and the glory!! Aint I smarter than the Driving School? aint the inventor smarter than the invented!!

I threaded a different route to meet a BMW (KL-7 AL 5555) who jealously pushed me to the sidelines... i wanted to take revenge!! so did I.... the humps, the narrow road and the busy junction conspired to help me to win the Cycle vs the Car unofficial race... enough reasons to smile and push me to complete the latter stretch, which had hundreds of such competitors.

Reaching the National Highway touted to be the lifeline our the country (as aptly put my dearest Vajpayee that Highways resembled the lines of his palms), I took the service road. The heat was on and I had a discomfort feeling setting in. The newly introduced JnNURM buses looked at me with sympathy!! Didnt they know that cycle is much cheaper, more friendly and better saver compared to their high investment vehicle..

Interestingly I was taking a route which had the Maruti Suzuki,Hyundai, to the Prosche and the Jaguars!! I encountered a board displayed before the latest Maruti Suzuki Swift Diesel calling for 'Switch to Maruthi, save on fuel' ..what a dichotomy for a cyclist? The issues at Maruti's plant at Gurgaon have been making daily headlines...lost in the midst would be the number of people (above 15 years olds) who had bought cycles in the last 5 years!! Will I hit the headlines for venturing to ride a cycle amidst a sea of cars, at a time when growth of the economy is depended on the automobile population, when driving schools and showrooms have thrived!!

I wondered whether man is a better form of ape or is it vice versa, when I rested in front of the Porsche !! My apprehensions were laid to rest when I saw a natural modified Hyundai vehicle.. prayers for the souls who drove it... lot of time to think while riding a cycle!!! I advice not to think too much while riding a car, or else you stand a chance of following the souls who had driven the car...

I was relieved to see an cyclist carrying eggs, opting to take the hatchery safe in his 'life' cycle. I had to help him out in the railway gate which was shut for repairs. I was encountering another human intervention which had changes lives..the chuk chuk express...

I was feeling the heat.. , but the enjoyment of riding a cycle has relived me of the pain. I reached my destination and opened by smart phone to assess the speed and time of my cycle travel. It showed that I reached in 29.52 minutes stopping for 2.31 minutes moving at an average of 18 mph touching 20 mph!! Not bad for an amateur biker!!! I replenished my soul with water and living to tell the tale of cycling in a motor world!!

Few things I learned :

1) Take enough water, or you will feel melted in the heat
2) Try not to overtake, maintain the royalty and chime on the shroudness of others
3) Start early morning before the sun sets in and return before the sun sets!!
4) Cycling helps to improve fitness, stay healthy and understand human emotions (when you are dead tired with a punctured tyre on a highway with no shops)
5) Have short breaks while pedalling, make sure your ego does not overcome you..or else you break your back

Waiting to repeat the exercise!!!

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