Getty Images

Cycling & the cycle of life

In the 70’s, a 1 hour rental ride on a very old bicycle (the iconic black standard bicycles) costed 50 paise. The price subsequently went up to 75 paise & to Re. 1 for an hour of rental. Last year, I was checking the bills of my sons’s resident school. In a term I received a bill for Rs. 925 as cycle rental expenses. So from the 70’s to the 2017, a simple inflation rate would show a rise of 40% (assuming 30 days of cycle use in 1 term. But I should also give it to the quality of the cycle then & now & the place then & now. I had the Municipality School ground in my neighbourhood where as my son had a full campus of his school to himself where he could ride around safe & enjoyably.

As for his cycle back home when he comes for his term vacation costed us Rs. 8000/-. Hence the time to breakeven this cost in the current context will be just under a year. So the economics of it adds up & remains beneficial on the face of it, so if I don’t ask the intellectuals or the revered economists of this world, I am quite happy with the simple math in my mind & continue with life as it may be. About, Cycling someone carried a view of being an impediment to economic growth & he has given some logic for the same. If we go by that particular logic, China should have gone bust long time ago given that China’s cycle population is the largest in the world.

My lessons on cycling have been enough to carry a life time. Off late, or let us say in contemporary times, people have discovered many passions in life, Cycling is one of them. The cycle I bought for my son helped me remember my childhood & how we (as in my friends) used to negotiate a weekend of cycle rentals in return for completing Homework in good time.

I feel, Cycle riding is the best way to measure up many things in life. On a plain land you can ride endlessly without any strain but there are no such plain landscapes. There are always uphill stretches & if there is an uphill road it also has to plateau at a certain point & a natural slope ensues. The point being that only when you cycle or if you walk or run, can you notice small & big peaks & slopes on the road. There is also a sense of gratification for yourself on the amount of effort one needs to put in, to climb the peak & how beautiful the ride becomes when you get on the slope after a steep climb. An economic upswing can take time to build but when it hits the slope mostly it is a free fall just like you leave the handle bars on the bike & the bike continues to run in 1 direction without any guidance at an even higher pace. However you need a better control downstream otherwise one could fall flat. In a cycle ride you enjoy free ride on the slope but in an economic downturn the ride is painful.

On the free fall you can press the breaks but eventually it has to bottom out but if you take the free slide & keep peddling you will bottom out quickly & will also be able to climb the next peak faster, so the question really is if we should hasten the fall or pace it like the slog over in Cricket? I will leave that to the economists to advise but I know somethings are not in our control & somethings are better off, let to natural progression but there is always a middle ground which is what cycling downstream teaches us. Call it the ‘Cycling Free Ride’ effect.