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Guwahati Bytes: Cycles of Life

Guwahati Bytes: Cycles of Life

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 Oct 2019 10:52 AM GMT

Rituparna Goswami Pande

You know how it is with new toys....you want see it first thing in the morning, eat with it, sleep with it....be with it 24 × 7. I remember the day we welcomed my bro's brand newcycle....a Hero cycle to be precise....it was a scarlet sleek beauty, with black rubberhandles and the logo ‘Hero’ embossed in gold. Boy! Were we excited! It stayed with him inhis room while I occasionally checked in on it. It gleamed of a happy colour as it wouldbe washed and polished and kept spic and span....for the first few days of itsarrival....

Mine came a few years later. A lady's cycle as it was called....it was a grave shade of green....and a Hero again having a don't mess with me kind of feel... Its reception wasno different from its earlier counterpart. I would park it right next to my bed so that Iwould cycle to the breakfast table....if I could or would have been allowed to....It came after a lot of cajoling my parents from my part with me offering to help mom withthe shopping....

“I would be a great help to you Maa and quickly cycle over to get supplies from Baruah’s shop.... (a utility store at the corner in Latasil area),” I would insist. And as theysay, patience pays....mine paid too and it was in the form of a lanky bicycle that Bababrought for me....

As promised, I made a few trips to the store carrying stuff for Maa....but soon the excitement wore off and Mohan da....our man Friday resumed his shopping duties... However, I used to eagerly look forward to go cycling every morning with my cousin nextdoor who was back from boarding school and shared my passion for cycling. It was perhapsin the early nineties when traffic was next to nil in that morning hours and we would leisurely pleasurably ride our bicycles till Commerce College via the newly constructedChandmari flyover. That phase ended with my cousin joining medical school and going back to hostel.

While bro’s cycle wallowed in dilapidation....mine passed her last days parked in our garage with old bus tyres and dried paint canisters for company.....out of sight andgradually out of my mind. Later any cycling that we indulged in used to be on cousin Smith's (SmritishreeChakravarty's) stationary exercise bike that used to be the highpoint of her beautifully decorated room in their Rehabari home.

Old or young, boy or girl....every single member of our clan sat on it and pedalled to an imaginary location whenever they visited her place. It was positioned between her bookshelf and her little

wooden cupboard that had every imaginable sticker available adorning its doors....

Now I have an exercise bike (which is used for everything...but exercise) stationed in my terrace overlooking the Navagraha hills and Gandhi mandap.... sitting on which I oftenenjoy the light and sound show that unfolds in the skies with the accompanying rain. Anyexercise it gets is when I am perched on it to have a panoramic view of the hills aroundme. New wishes are germinating in my mind where I long to get hold of another one soon… And it’s when I see my son and niece with their cycles, those old memories rush pastme...rekindling memories of those childhood days.....nostalgia is such a beautiful journey. I wish I could recycle those happy days.

And now after moving to a new locality with a perfect track for cycling, one might think Imight take it up again but that’s just my imagination running rather cycling wild forsure as now biology is against me! Aches and pains are no pals for such an activity. So Iam just content with watching the bikers whizz past me from atop my balcony. Biking is in these days, with state-of-the-art bikes flooding the markets and also the attractivebiking gear are hard to ignore.

It won’t harm to look into the health benefits of regular cycling. You can say bye toinsomnia, as you sleep well, have better mental health, do your bit for the environment,look good, eat well and so on. And imagine the space you save as twenty bicycles can beparked in the same space as one car. And it takes only around five percent of thematerials and energy used to make a car to build a bike, and the best part is a bikeproduces zero pollution.

But are those reasons enough to urge you to take up cycling...? But then more and more

countries are pedalling to great heights, which is truly inspirational. Japan is paving the way in showing the word to take up the bike route. A nation of 127million people has 72 million bicycles with over 10 million new bicycles being sold everyyear. In a country where public transport is clean and efficient and where car ownershipcan be costly and inconvenient, the bicycle has risen to occupy a unique place in Japan'stransport ecosystem.

The bicycle is an essential form of everyday transport used by millions of people from all walks of life.

I was astounded to know that Beijing has nine million bikes and China is referred to asthe “Kingdom of Bicycles”. The Southeast city of Xiamen has gone even further with the construction of a 7.6-km elevated skyway for bikes – the world’s longest elevated cyclepath. As they say the best routes are the ones you haven’t ridden. So are you game?

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