I was mounted on the cycle and was being pushed by my siblings and soon it gathered speed and despite efforts to slow down it did not help and the cycle crashed into the hedge, throwing me off with a few cuts and bruises on the elbow and knee. The memory is still vivid despite many decades that have elapsed since. It was my first effort to ride a bike and I am certain anyone who has learnt to ride a bike has gone through a similar experience. I was not deterred and was determined to enjoy the pleasures of biking for many years to come. The life tends to get adventurous when one is astride on a cycle. The sheer joy of the wind that blows in the face while whizzing along and maneuvering through the busy roads is unparalleled.
I remember that there was a public library about two kilometers from the place where I stayed. One day, with my brothers one perched on the front handlebar and other on the rear carrier I was merrily cycling along, till I heard a huge crashing sound and for a moment everything around me blacked out. Next I could hear the shrieks of my brothers. As I got up and tried to assess the damage my heart sank. The bicycle lay in a mangled heap in three pieces and it was impossible to believe that I was riding this till a moment ago! We carried the heap of wreckage to a mechanic, as fortunately all of us had received only minor cuts and abrasions. The mechanic assessed the damage and agreed to repair it.
The traffic on the roads was not very heavy and chaotic as it is now, but the number of adventures I had on road far out -number ones on my scooter and car in the years that followed. I could never claim any fame like the fallen hero Louis Armstrong who won the Tour de France seven times till he was stripped of the title for doping scandal. How I wish that we in India, who cry hoarse for pollution problems and traffic congestion, seldom pay any attention to building cycle tracks in cities like Delhi and Mumbai and other metros to encourage cycling. Not only is it healthy, but extremely eco- friendly.
We have one of the most beautiful scenic spots starting from snow clad Himalayas in the north to Kanyakumari in the south with a terrain unmatched, but have never explored the potential of cycling and encouraged it as a sport. It is a pity that even small nations like Vietnam have a cycle track from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh along the NH1 covering a distance of 496 kilometers as one traverses along the lovely coastline of South China Sea.
Be that as it may, I have once again got addicted to cycling as the life goes in a full circle starting from being pushed in a stroller as a baby to a tricycle in growing years and graduating to a bicycle. It is easy to relate to the icon Amitabh Bachchan who decides to explore Kolkata in the sunset years in the award winning movie, “Piku”. Even the doctors recommend cycling as the best exercise for the keeping fit and toning the aching joints. Though discouraged from time to time, my love for cycling has only got stronger.
PS- Images kind courtesy Google