There are people who use cycles and there are cyclists. If you’re a salt of the earth type with 200 coconuts in the frame pushing some British era remanufactured relic around, I have no quarrel with you. You’re keeping it real. Go in peace. Watch out for potholes.
If you’re a deluded city dweller (specifically this city, might be applicable to other cities, who knows?) with a fancy cycle that costs more than two TVS50 XL’s and petrol to run them for a year, here are some observations for you.
This is not the First World. The First World as defined by rules. Which has good roads on which cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as their internal combustion counterparts. This is the Third World and we probably just about squeak into that category.
So if you have a piece of equipment designed for aforementioned urban environments or rugged First World terrain (the rugged terrain we have is strewn with plastic bags and crappers) and you’re trying to ‘do your bit for the environment’ or ‘get some fitness going’ by cycling around a ridiculous Indian city or the other, be advised you are doing neither.
Those stupid helmets aren’t going to be much help when you get sideswiped by one of the following:
- An Autorickshaw . The Lord knows these guys don’t give a shit about other vehicles much less a techie festooned with blinking lights and reflective fabrics.
- A bus. You are merely another smear on their front grille along with miscellaneous pedestrian smears, paan spit, and or other bodily fluids resulting from being in the same pincode as followers of the national pastime, wanking.
- An Indicab. This is probably the worst automotive product known to man, driven recklessly and annoyingly by ruffians who are in the waiting line to become rapists. Of call center employees but that’s another story.
- A motorcycle or scooter of some denomination. Viewed from the air, their behavior on the streets is as unpredictable as a colony of ants. When you’re in a tangle in some ditch with some guy’s fairing aerodynamically sticking out of your noggin, don’t be expecting any ambulances to make their way through the traffic jams real soon to save your lycra-clad ass.
Here’s some more food for thought before the fitness angle argument. There you are, huffing and puffing despite Shimano’s best efforts, inhaling more than the average pedestrian schlepping along. You think that’s air you’re breathing? Good luck with the emphysema.
One last thing. Cycling shorts on grown men are a gay conspiracy. You are warned. Put your junk away.
First published in KIRIK 02, March 2010