Ritanjali Hastir, Freelance Writer, July, 2014, Shimla
In current times when human activities have restricted to machines alone, cycling is the new trend picking up in the City.
Someone rightly said, “When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others”.
Over the years, the road leading from Lakkar Bazaar to Sanjuali Chowk has been mostly used by people to pamper themselves with bicycle rides and with summer season on, this shady patch has become one of the favourite roads to cover a distance in a pleasurable way by the youngsters.
“Shimla due to its difficult geographical location has very limited places where one can ride bicycles. During my childhood days I use to see people riding bicycles but parents were not so much interested. So now that I am a gown up and whenever I get free time I come here to hire a bicycle and enjoy the ride”, shared Sumit Sharma, a local resident.
Whereas Amit Kumar says, “I hate to travel in local buses, so I use to prefer walking on foot to reach Sanjauli but then one day I tried the bicycle and realized it was much better than spending huge amounts on gym to stay fit”.
“I find bicycle rides fun as well as easy as the school bags are really heavy and it becomes difficult to walk. Sometime I and my friend hire a bicycle and enjoy our way back home. This helps in solving two purposes, that is – one we reach our destination and other we even exercise as due to study pressures we do not get much time to play”, shared Harshul Kumar, class ninth student.
On the other hand we have people like Vinod Chairasia, a shopkeeper who has been riding bicycle on the same road from past six to seven years. For him it is more way to stay fit than fun ride as he says, “The entire day I have to stand in my shop so to keep my blood circulation healthy I ride my bicycle even though there is a facility of taxi which can drop me on my door steps at both ends, still I prefer riding.”
To hire a bicycle one does not have to spend a huge amount as Raj Kumar informed, “We just charge 20 rupees from out customers. College students and school going kids form a major part of our customers. Approximate time that is expected to travel one side distance is about 30 minutes. There are approximately 50 bicycles available to lend for hire”.
Whether for fun or a need, bicycle ride is definitely becoming a latest trend as one can see many youngsters not only hiring bicycle but can often be seen riding their personal ones in various part of the city including the road from GPO to Grand Hotel. Considering the inflation in petrol prices, many youngsters feel that instead of buying bikes and cars, bicycles are a healthy environment friendly option.