Cycling is fun. Cycling is easy. And I say that in spite of the fact that when I got onto a bike for the first time after about 10 years, I couldn’t get to 1 meter! And they say it’s something you never forget once you learn! It used to be a sport I knew nothing about till 6 months ago. Suddenly today it’s the only language I speak, apart from athletics that is. So, truth be told, its pretty amazing to be writing about something you knew nothing of till recently.
While interning at an event management company that conducts cycling events in the country, I was pretty amazed to see the kind of passion that people had for cycling. I was also a little disappointed at how very neglected the sport is in our country. I mean the passion is there, the talent is there, the interest is there, so really what is stopping us? Many people still look at cycling as downmarket and cheap. Something only meant for the “lower classes” to indulge in. For the crème de la crème of our society, nothing short of a BMW works (have they tried the BMX, maybe? It’s really not that bad!). But all this talk is nothing short of absolute nonsense. Wait till you actually delve into reality and you’ll know what is good and what is not.
We try to ape the west in practically everything that we do. Be it the way they dress, talk, walk, live, earn, spend, eat, cook or whatever. But do we know that Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is the most cycling friendly city in the world? That people prefer going places on their cycles instead of their big cars. Or that even the mayor of London and for that matter our movie stars whom we have idolized since childhood get out on their bikes and ride from place to place! Maybe hard to believe, but its true! In the west, it’s not about the number of cars you own, or the Mercedes or the Audi or the Ferrari. It’s about which cycle you own, if at all such a perception amongst them exists.
Cut to India. Here all we think about is our image on the streets. What people would think or not think of us if we did or did not do a particular thing. And act or behave in a particular manner. We live our lives on the basis of how we expect others expect us to. This whole expectation fracas then forces us to do things we don’t really like or enjoy. And that is taking a positive look at the situation, however ironical that may sound. I would think it stops us from doing the things we actually enjoy. And what could be worse than that?
So here’s some food for thought. Most of us have grown up with a cycle, fortunately or unfortunately. At that time, we adored our cycle, would fight at home to take it for just one ride, we would look for every opportunity to show it off to our friends. So today, when we’re all grown up and reasonably well known in society, why the change in attitude towards the once most revered possession in your growing up years? The more research I carry out on cycling the more intrigued I get from the initiatives taken by countries abroad to develop cycling, as a means for a better lifestyle, as a sport and as a fun activity. High time India took a cue, isn’t it?
Here’s a fun way to make cycling look even cooler: Tie it in with running!
(Written by Zeba Changi)