To say that I love bicycles is an understatement. I am passionate about it, I am obsessed with it. It has been my best companion for 8 years. More ever, it is healthy, environment friendly, inexpensive and low maintenance. By they way, I just bought a new Hercules AXN DX cycle from Bharat Cycle Centre, Puttur for Rs. 3275. I am very excited about it.
To talk a bit about my history with cycles,
My first cycle
During my 7th standard, I was pestering my dad to get me a new cycle. My dad relented and said he will buy me one if I score more than 90% in mid-term exam. I normally scored about 85%. For this exam I worked hard and managed to score 89.17%, still 5 marks short of landmark 90%. Anyway my dad considered it only as a motivation for me to do well in exams. And he didn’t deny me a cycle for not crossing the mark. So, I got my own cycle Hercules Town N Trek for Rs. 1500 from Imperial cycle centre, Puttur.
I used to roam around every nook and corner of Puttur with my neighbour friend Sadananda. Used to go to Swimming pool at Parpunja 8 kms away along Mysore Road, go to Balnad (our ancestral home) again a village 8 kms away. I went to Philomena high school and college using this cycle except during rainy season. It was great fun.
During my 3rd semester of Engineering, Avinash and I decided to go to an expensive gym for 3 months. Gym was about 2 kms far, Avinash had a bike and there was no problem. But 15-20 days later Avinash started showing his talent (that is laziness ;-)) and he stopped coming. I was determined, didn’t want to waste the gym fees and continuity. Avinash suggested me, “Look, our super senior Manjunath just completed his course and has thrown his cycle. So, why don’t you repair it and use it?” It was lying just outside my room at ground floor, I took it and the repair cost me 200/-.
I used it well for 3 years, went around beautiful University Campus, Kukkarahalli lake, Mysore city and everywhere. Since it was not the one I bought, I left it at the same place after I left the hostel.
I was on an onsite assignment at Japan for 5 months. My living apartment then was 6 kms from office. Monthly local train pass costs 5000 yens. I had to walk half a kilometre each from apartment to railway station and railway station to office. I didn’t like the routine. Also I wanted to cover as many places as possible over there. I didn’t waste any time and bought a new cycle for 15,000 yens, returned it to the same shop for 5,000 yens. Money was not a problem. People on overseas assignments are paid extremely well. It was that well paid period that changed me from being a thrifty spender to a spend thrift now!
I have been at Bangalore and Mumbai for long periods of time. But I didn't have cycle there as they were dusty and busy cities. It wouldn't be a pleasure there to go on a cycle at all.
I need to go to our office/retail outlet, shops for research, roam around for time pass, to ice-cream shop and so on. A cycle is very handy now again. It was easy to own a cycle during teenage and abroad. But now it isn’t easy considering the social stigma attached. If somebody goes by cycle it means he is not well to do. In our family, even my younger brother has his own car apart from my dad’s car. Society asks many questions, assume things their own way. I still bought one, because I thought, if somebody thinks negatively I should give a damn to him, for others who think positively there is no problem. My dad isn’t happy that I bought but I think he will get used to it over time.