Cycling has been a hobby since my first time on the bike. I would spend hours riding around my society building and only stop to eat or out of sheer exhaustion. However, as I grew up, priorities changed. Studies increased and fun reduced, cycling eventually came to be the least of my concerns.
Life has now got me back to this childhood hobby. After getting back on the bike, I have realized that it indeed is the best medicine for you.
Typically, I prefer to ride solo, allows me time to ponder over the many thoughts crossing my mind and enjoy the view that Mumbai has to offer. As I happen to live in the centre of the concrete jungle, I have plenty of destinations to ride to. I can pedal to the North and hit the long never-ending boulevards, or ride to the south and explore the interiors of town. I can also ride west and explore the beauty of Manori, Gorai or Mud island or else, I can just ride east and hit the flat out Eastern express highway that would lead me to Thane City.
While I’m busy pedalling on these terrains, there is one thought that always crosses my mind. What impression do others have of a cyclist? Albeit, I don’t have the power to read people’s minds, but below is my attempt to decode their thoughts
Society ka Watchman:
The first person that any cyclist comes across is the watchman of the society. Most of the times, a cyclist starts the day early. During this time, the guard is in his Stage four of sleep, most probably dreaming about his shift ending soon. It is then, that he’s suddenly awoken from a deep slumber by a man wearing weird tight shorts bulging around the groin & shining neon reflectors. The look on his face is that of confusion, probably amused to find the young ‘Seth’ straddled atop a cycle, instead of sticking to the comforts of a car.
The Cab, Trucks and the BEST Drivers:
I am not sure what wrong did we (as cyclist) do to these guys but for them a cyclist on the road is definitely a menace. They always see cyclists as someone who is terribly slow on the road and blocks their passage irrespective of the width of the road. Due to the inconvenience caused, they want to teach every cyclist a lesson and hence try to brush past us at a hair-width distance. While doing so, they also make sure to honk from a distance, announcing their arrival to lesser mortals like us.
The Autowallahs and the Motor cyclists:
In my experience, the autowallahs & the motor cyclists appear to be the most indifferent of the lot. However, the mere sight of a cyclist on the road usually leaves them with a distinct sense of superiority. A cyclist to them resembles a younger cousin, a kid who struggles to beat them at speed even on a vacant street. But let’s not forget, that they are also the most supportive ones when it comes to providing directions to a lost cyclist.
Aunties in the cars:
The gaze of aunties travelling in a car is usually the most piercing and scrutinising. It often has an element of disbelief and embarrassment as if the “Chokaro” is too inappropriately dressed for a public place. In addition, cycling to them seems to be a sheer waste of one’s time and energy. However, in this moment of shock they don’t forget to not-so-subtly highlight the weird “Chokaro” to their kids and other family members in the car.
The Kids on the road:
The last but the most interesting category is the kids. And among them you’ll come across the following three types:
i) The ones who think of a cyclist on his fancy cycle as a super hero and are completely awestruck whenever they spot one.
ii) The ones who try to outsmart and tease a cyclist by performing stunts, like a wheelie, etc.
iii) The ones who think of a cyclist as a competitor and want to beat him by out-running him either on foot or on their cycles.
While these kids are common around the city, there are also those who wish to ride their bike or just own a cycle like the one they just saw.
Cycling for others may have a different meaning, but for me, it is a medium to clear my head. Going for rides is a perfect way of spending some quality time amidst the busy and fast paced life we live. It gives me the opportunity to disconnect from the world and connect with my inner self. In the process, it also contributes to my health.
Keep pedalling hard and ride safe!
In case you have a personal opinion that you would like to share, do comment below and let us know!