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Cycle repairmen lose balance in motorised city

Gone are the days when the city’s primary mode of personal transport was the bicycle — Photo: R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

In a motorised city dominated by high-end two-wheelers and four-wheelers, the bicycle has been squeezed to the road margins.

Similarly, the profession of the cycle repairman, who balances heavy labour with skills, looks to be on its last legs.

Before motorbikes became affordable, the city’s primary mode of personal transport was the bicycle and this also meant several thriving cycle-repair and rental shops. Mohammed Ghouse, who runs a roadside cycle-repair bunk shop in Kallukkuttai, Perungudi, earns between Rs. 200 and Rs. 300, on an average, every day.

Ghouse started working at the shop at the age of 15, and set up the present bunk shop 10 years ago. He rues that his daily returns are not worth it of late, because of dwindling cycle population.

He doubles up as an electrician and plumber to enhance his earnings.

An exception

While most of his ilk struggle to make ends meet, one cycle repairman, A. Madhivannan, stands out as a success.

A school dropout from Salem, Madhivannan joined a cycle repair shop in Chintadripet a few years ago, and today, manages the shop and takes prides in his work.

Pointing out the heavy physical work involved in cycle repair, he is confident the profession that saw leaner days a few years ago will bounce back with more people opting for cycles in the future.

He says that even today, a person running a cycle-repair shop can earn nearly Rs. 500 per day.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 9:07:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-columns/cycle-repairmen-lose-balance-in-motorised-city/article6354387.ece

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