Let Cycling be the New Religion!

The bicycle is in vogue today and the cycling fever up and brimming. We see more bikes on our streets nowadays than ever before. They outnumber the motor vehicles, especially during the mornings and evenings, and one can even find the over-enthusiasts towards the post-dinner hours. The present scenario rewinds our lives to the pre-80’s era before the scooters, motorcycles and cars invaded the domestic travel market.

Noticeably, this bull run of the motored vehicles continued unabated till the first quarter of 2020; their numbers soaring with every passing year.  Even if one had to go to a gym, stadium or a nearby park, one favoured an automobile over walking or cycling. While the ultimate aim was exercise, one still preferred to start and end the routine cushioned in the comfort of a powered machine. Even during the day, one did the close-by errands on a Petro device over the age-old mechanical bike.

But of late, the passion for cycling has come up with a bang. For the first time in decades, people can be seen standing outside a cycle showroom awaiting their turn.  The demand-supply ratio is so lopsided that one has to hang on for 2-4 weeks for a particular make. Gone are the days of bargaining and discounts on bicycles; while other businesses may be down, the cycle vendors have a dream run. Admittedly, there are more cycles in need of repair and service than one ever knew, existed. It appears as if the world is revolving around a bike.

But then what catapulted this overnight switchover to the pedalling routine of yesteryears? A big reason was our desire for self-preservation. The fear of Coronavirus caught us in a big way. We needed to boost our immunities to fight the virus; hence this transformation.

However, of all the exercise forms, why did the Indian population take up bicycling over the good old walking, jogging, Yoga or some other sport? Maybe the human spirit was searching for a breather after a continuous period of confinement during the lockdown. It longed for an exercise in the open that could be pursued as a group activity while maintaining the social distancing. So, it gravitated to the spinning of the cycle tyres. And, if the pull continues, we might produce a cycling sensation and a medal in the sport in the coming times.

It reminds me of the good old days when we used to make several trips to our college in a day on a bicycle, without a shade of tiredness. In those times, cycles didn’t have any gears, shockers, the disc and the drum brakes or even the flashy colours and accessories of today. There was just the option of a few native brands and some sizes. Today, the features in a bicycle have made it comfortable and trendier than ever before. It’s time to revolutionise our infrastructure too and have more cycling tracks alongside our roads so that people could feel safe and motivated to pedal on the streets.

Still, the moot question is, why did it have to be a COVID-19 to sensitise us towards our well-being? Why did it need an invisible being other than God to awaken us towards our fitness demands? Why couldn’t the promise of good health alone stimulate us to take-up the healthy practices?

The reality of the present situation goes to prove that fear of morbidity and mortality is a far greater motivator than any other form of inspiration. While preserving our life through the pandemic is the end goal, apart from other precautions, it requires some form of daily exercise or movement to strengthen our bodies against the invader. And one such means towards that end is biking.

So, if we elected to pedal, it could save the environment, cut down our petrol bills, burn calories and keep us lean and fit.

Albert Einstein has so rightly said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

So, I heartily wish that this culture of cycling helps us tide over the Corona crisis and stay as a part of our lives thereafter. Let cycling be the new religion!

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