Open Page

Bicycle boys

It was the late 1960s. I was in Class 8, and like all boys of my age, I just loved cycling, but never had a cycle. With the help of my friends, after initial struggles and falls, I learnt how to ride a bicycle. The main requirement was a still head and balance. The temptation to get a new bicycle of my own was huge, but as the eldest boy in the house, I knew it was a luxury, and priorities for elders were much bigger than a bicycle.

I politely and obediently asked my father to get one for me. Being a kind and affectionate father, he told me it would be a good gift that needed to be earned and motivated me to get the first rank in Class 9. I started my exam preparations for Class 9 much before I finished Class 8.

Being weak in maths, I took guidance and coaching from a senior boy. With all preparations, revisions and hard work, I finally stood first in Class IX.

More than the result, my focus was on the bicycle I would get.

I was in seventh heaven, when my father got me a new green Hercules bicycle, which he bought when returning from office. I was delighted, and asked him how did he know that I stood first in the class. He said he was not aware, but was very happy with my sincere hard work, focus and determination, and irrespective of the rank, he decided to get me one.

The new bicycle was my most-valued asset. The next day to school, I went happily riding my new bicycle.

I used to clean it daily, wipe the dust out meticulously and ensured that the new look was intact. I used to ask my mother if there was anything to fetch from market, and she used to be surprised at my frequent asking. As I was proud owner of a bicycle, it made things lot easier for me.

It was great fun riding and riding most part of the days specially during holidays and vacations. Its maintenance was almost negligible. Traffic on the roads was much less, with enough space for cyclists on the move. I never knew what fitness was at that point of time. It was just happy riding.

The initial days of cycling, the breath of fresh air, the paddling which helped the knees, legs and muscles grow strong has contributed immensely to good health and fitness, which helped me concentrate in studies.

Now as a senior citizen, I am sad that the humble bicycle is almost rare and few. What was a pleasure ride could almost be a painful ride now. Roads full of traffic all day and night, no space or concern for cycles, it is almost impossible to ride one now. The weak knees and the congestion on roads, I wonder where has the glorious days gone.

In the place of the humble bicycles, the markets today are flooded with fancy fast bicycles.

The contribution of the humble bicycle has been immense in my life. I even today recollect those good old glorious days.

balasubramaniampavani@gmail.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 5:33:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/bicycle-boys/article37137503.ece

Next Story