Thos was a guest post I did for my friend. I had reserved copyrights :)
Just as the past few days, I got up very early in the morning. I would have to finish my struggles with the bicycle before anyone woke up. The neighbors would be laughing behind the doors on seeing a 15 year old boy struggling with his bicycle, and that too without any success for the last 2 weeks. Equally painful was the sight of young kids cycling away with haughty, sneering smile on their face. But that day as I lifted my feet off the ground, the cycle didn’t fall off. As I pedaled away, my joy knew no bounds. This was one of the happiest days of my life.
Even after a decade my chest swells with pride on the first bicycle ride. I was a total flop in outdoor games. I didn’t have athleticism anywhere close in the genes. So I had to contend with batting very last in the line-up and field at no man’s land. So a cycle was a big relief. Here I was getting a chance to prove myself without begging anyone for chances.
A few of my classmates too had cycles of their own. We used to exchange notes on the best bicycle in town, accessories and cycle workshops. I got up early morning and cycled through the by-lanes of the city. I had another passion of cycling steep uphills. That’s the time we learnt the angle of inclination in Physics classes. I wanted to try out tilting cycle to the maximum in steep downhill curves. The aim was to use minimum of the road and maximum of the angle. I was successfully negotiating these curves when one day I lost it completely. I was thrown off the road and was nearly run over by a car. The remenant of a bruise still remains as a faded memory.
The cycle repairman was an important figure in our lives. Bicycle is a very delicate creature. Every once in a while a wheel gets punctured, the screw loosen up, chains gets rusted or brakes act funny. He was a slim old man clad in a black dhothi- an authoritative figure who doled out free advice on intelligent riding. The fees were nominal, but the queue of cycles was long.
Years rolled by. The cycle was discarded as it could no longer stand ageing. I whipped up heavy revolt at home for a motorcycle without any success. The cycle and everything associated with it were forgotten. Later it was donated to a poor lady who lived nearby. I didn’t bother.
I finished my college when my younger brother entered one. He got himself a cycle. I was touching one after a long time. The need for some physical exercise prompted me to take up cycling again. The times had changed and it transformed the people too. The kids no longer cycled. They got themselves a motor cycle or even a motor car. The police rarely bothered and there are plenty of under aged drivers around.
I needed the repairman again. Since it was no longer a lucrative job, many had pulled down the shutters for good. I went in search for mine and found it closed. My heart sank but some passerby assured me that he will be back from a pilgrimage. He had withered considerable with age. The movements became very pronounced and difficult.
I doubt if this old trade will last for long. The only visitors are the newspaper boys and milkmen who owns the old fashioned hero cycles. And in the day he calls it a day, I may have to bury my memories forever!
But hey, encourage your kids to take up cycling. Let’s try not to extinguish a healthy habit, an old tradition and a clean (green) machine. And guys I heard it’s awesome for your reproductive organ. So…let’s make this world a bit healthy and a bit sexy.