It’s been almost a month-full of commuting on bicycle to office and therefore I think I have gained eligibility to comment on the experience. Since the distance is considerable (~21 Kms one-way), and landscape rollercoaster-ish, an amateur cyclist like me has to limit the frequency to twice (or at most thrice) a week.
Nevertheless, the experience has been exhilarating! And over-time, like many cyclists would, I have got used-to the glances of sympathy, ridicule, amusement, encouragement, surprise, and most of all the look of a-question-coming-up, from people of various shapes, sizes and ages.
Pune, the place where I live, was known to be a cycle-friendly city. Was. Things are different now, with cyclists having to jostle their way just like everybody else. It’s a bit more challenging for cyclists given the fact that unless they’re the really loud kinds, it’s easy to ignore their presence, and forget their relevance.
Following is a crude list of my observations so far. Based on which Indian city you reside in, your mileage may vary.
- It’s not as scary as it might appear till you finally decide and hit the road!
- People are generally considerate, given that you’re disciplined. Owning a cycle does not mean you can flout the traffic rules.
- Be wary of taxis (yellow number plates in general), they’re the scariest lot with no regard for all other vehicles. Unfortunately, cycles form a part of all other.
- Kids will love you
- In general, expect to get a few ‘thumbs-ups’ per month (predominantly from Bullet-riders — not sure why)
- As mentioned before, be prepared to answer FAQs like: “how much is it (the bike) for”, “do you ride every day”, or for the price of a specific accessory like, “did you get the headlight along with the bike”, and suchlike
As for me, I feel more upbeat in spite of sweat and stress once I reach the office. I realized that even though I may be physically stressed, but I am more mentally active. The converse is true when I drive to work. Physical stress is much easier to deal with. And with the released endorphins, it peps you up!