When I bumped into Manish Mago, my neighbor and a cycle shop owner, to hire a bicycle for practice, he asked: “what about the cycling gear?”
Does not the gear come as part of the cycle? I innocently asked.
He laughed. He did not mean the cycle gears (He showed eight gears in one bicycle). He meant the helmet, knee or thigh pads, bottle holder, and body-hugging upper and lower garment while on long-distance cycling.
Everyone mistakes that I am going on a bicycle race. NO. Not at all.
Yes, I will be cycling 100 km daily from sunrise to sunset. Or Dawn to Dusk.
Not in one go.
My cycle trip is not an adventure journey.
For me, it is a mere mode of transport.
I will be halting at petrol pumps, highway dhabas frequented by long haul truck drivers, toll plazas, and factory gates on the route from Chennai to Hosur (yes, the Chennai-Bengaluru route — or the Golden Quadrilateral).
The purpose is to chat with long-haul truck drivers about road safety, hygiene/nutrition, and tech friendliness.
It is not the cycling hobbyist style of riding: from start to finish in the shortest possible time.
A big-shot road safety warrior asked: “Have you mapped your route?”
What is there to map? There is thewell-known highway. There are petrol pumps. Highway eateries. Factories. Toll plazas. Or truck laybys.
That’s enough for me to meet, greet and chat with the target group.
It is not a corporate boardroom presentation. I am not carrying a laptop to make a powerpoint demo. I will be in my casuals. My clientele has a peculiar distaste for technology, though they adore their “smartphones,” incidentally a mini-computer! Ironical, isn’t it?
Simple chat. One-on-one, sipping chai or munching some biscuits or local snacks. Maybe dip the edge of the crispy sada roast into the bowl of sambhar and a little coconut chutney. My maiden cycle trip is in Tamilnadu: Chennai to Hosur, 300km on the Golden Quadrilateral.
Back to the cycle gear.
Flipping through the latest New Yorker magazine, I noticed this image. Take a look.
I was speechless. Gifting your son/daughter a bicycle is the best way to go bankrupt.
My first bicycle purchase was in February 1977. I bought one at a cycle shop near Malleswaram 11th cross, Bangalore. Price: Rs.3,500. Again, I bought a cycle in Delhi around March 1992. Price: 4,500/- near Lajpat Nagar to ride from home to Barakhamba Road office (Mid-Day).
Today, Mago said he could offer a cycle ranging from Rs.40,000/-
“I can arrange a bank loan. Don’t worry!” he said, noticing my bewilderment.
By the way, I am eager to know how the cycle company stock prices are performing post-Covid!
And, how many parents have gone, hmm, bankrupt buying bicycles? Joking, of course.
Do you mean barbequed? asked a friend.