On Cycling-8

Konsultramesh
3 min readJan 27, 2023

Manish Mago, my neighbor and malik of Anurag Cycle in Greater Noida is indebted to the poor power scenario around 2010. “That was the time, around one in the early morning, ceiling fans and air conditioners would conk out,” he says.

What has power failure got to do with his passion for cycling? “With no air, how can you sleep in scorching summer heat? Can you? I can’t. So, I would step out, pedal my cycle till sunrise, covering over 100km,” elaborates he.

If the mandarins in Lucknow efficiently managed Uttar Pradesh, the cycling fraternity would have lost Mago, the ultra cycler.

He reels out several lakhs of kilometers he had ridden a non-motorized bicycle across India since 2010. I stopped jotting down those numbers. He loves solitude: solo rides. However, he is not averse to group cycling. In fact, he promotes and participates in many such cycle clubs, rubbing shoulders with young, middle and oldies.

“Cycling. for me, is meditation,” he says, peering through his flattened bottom and oval-shaped spectacles held together with a metallic frame.

“When I cycle alone, I am in a zone. I think a lot. No wife in the vicinity. No children around to pester. Not even my staff at the business disturbed me. It’s me … hmm, me-time. Just my cycle and I” elaborates the chole-bature-loving Punjabi businessman.

Can’t he enjoy his “my time” contemplation if he were to ride a motorcycle or car? “What are you talking about? The car means speed. So also a motorcycle. You’re focused on reaching your destination as early as possible.” Not drinking the beauty of nature in small doses. Sky as the ceiling and tarmac at his foot, perched on a cycle: touching Earth and at the same time, in communion with Nature.

I am reminded of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I wonder why. Is the cycle the common link between Mago and Pirsig? No idea. Let me leave it at that.

Mago took up cycling on the advice of his mother’s physician. “When I visited him for my mother’s treatment, he said, ‘Mago, kya haal bana rakha hai?’ style warning. I was 110kg. I began running but abandoned it when I got a knee cramp. So I took to cycling,” adds he, as I sip the machine-made Nescafe he offered, sitting across his L-shaped work table. A lady is on the speaker keeping him company, and on my request, he silences her. Not 100%. Still, she is audible, but I can’t make out the words. That’s fine.

He bowls me with another googly. He pedals to clock 400 calories and compensates quickly with another 400 calories edible item. “Not for me, this fitness and healthy food fixation. Look at me. I had no blood pressure. No diabetes. I am hale and hearty.” That’s the lean Mago at his Anurag Cycle shop near Ek Murti Chowk. This declaration warrants a close look at him. Yes, he is ek dum fit. Not fragile. Pedal well. Eat well. Wow!

He points out that people would spend a lakh of rupees buying an iPhone. Or go to a 5-star deluxe for dinner and splurge 10,000 rupees, but when it comes to a bicycle, their budget will not budge beyond 5,000 rupees. Kanjoos!

I recollect my interaction with the cycle boutique at the Hiranandani Meadows, Thane, Mumbai, a fortnight ago. (https://konsultramesh.medium.com/on-cycling-3-a17df7da8ff3). I was more generous with 15,000 rupees budget! Still, the shop owner suspected my social status!

Asked about the profile of Indian bikers, Mago says that the MNC and corporate types opened up the bike culture and pushed its status by several notches. “Mostly 40 plus love cycling,” adds he.

The cycle is a leveler. Once you are a part of a cycling gang, your corporate position matters very little. Until I met Mago, I used to believe that only death and tax were the levelers. Now, cycling is added to that august list. Mago has opened my eyes to the new trinity! Thanks, Mago!

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Konsultramesh

An avid watcher & practitioner in the world of communication