The day I decided to ride a bicycle after a long gap of almost seven years and for once the sky came shattering over me
I have a facebook friend, she lives in Goa. I don’t remember how and when did I got to know about her but one common chord of communication between me and her was the love for adventure. I would like to mention here that “love for adventure” is quite different from the “experience of adventure”. She loves to experience it and I love to love it, most of the times. Some of her experiences include her love for snakes, trekking and cycling on the mountains.
Recently, she posted a status on her facebook profile – “WORLD RECORD ACCOMPLISHED. Highest motorable road in the world – Khardungla (Ladakh) – reached on my bicycle. Congratulations to all the 85 girls.” For once, I could not believe my eyes, but yes that was true, photographs attached provided the correct evidence for the fact.
From then on, she became my inspiration, and I committed to myself once again that now I am going to explore new dimensions of adventure in my life. I have been a trekker for quite some time but now I wanted to try my hands on cycling.
The opportunity knocked at my door just a few days ago, on a Sunday, the 22nd January, 2012. A cycle trail was being organized in Delhi from Delhi University to Chankyapuri. I thought that probably this little act of cycling would work as an entrance test for me and so I should at least appear for it before sitting for other bigger tests.
At 8 o’clock on the Sunday morning, 15 people gathered at the Delhi University Metro Station from where cycles were borrowed at a minimal rent amount. We were also flooded with lots of juices, glucose biscuits and chocolates to keep us energetic enough. Although the route was explained in detail, still there were two cars moving along to guide us throughout.
Peddling from there, it was easy enough to ride past the university, from FMS to Hansraj College and further.The roads were not too crowded until we reached the Azad Market where the roads were just not visible.
It was a path full of shops and the roads were highly uneven and rugged terrain of no roads, and to add icing on the bitter cake, DTC buses kept daunting us from behind which was difficult to digest.
By now the bicycle had already started showing its true colors, it was riding smooth but the seat had started to become uncomfortable. As we reached the Jhandewalan flyover, the mission, for once seemed impossible.
Climbing on the flyover seemed to be an uphill ride for me. I had done that before, several times, only in my car . Today it was something else. Within a few seconds only, I had to walk on it along with my bike as I could not gather enough push to move it further. At that very moment, I understood the plight of cyclists in Delhi, how difficult it becomes to overcome the cruel traffic, to push your stamina as far as possible. Crossing the Gol Market to reach Birla Mandir and then further to Talkatora Stadium and Teen Murti, the roads totally supported our mission.
It was as smooth and plain as it could be, except for the bicycle seat which had become a constant pain in the butt now.No doubt, Central Delhi has its own charm. Big bungalows, lush green trees, empty roads, I felt like the owner of the road. Engrossed in the beauty of the nature and chill of the weather, riding as fast as possible, I lost my way. Yes, that happens too often on the Central Delhi roads. I just could not locate those cars with those guiding torches and I realized that I was 3 kms off track while being on that painful throne.
Soon I chalked out my way with the help of some policemen who were active for the security drill.As soon as I reached my destination, I saw my other team mates, ready to welcome me. And just when I got off that devil’s throne, “Oh darn!” expression was right there on my face. A quick snack of bananas and coffee played the trick, sitting on wooden chairs felt luxurious, also, at the same time, the smell of our own sweat also felt good.
Cycling is not easy especially when you decide to ride 30 kms on a ‘blue-moon’ day. One might look good in borrowed clothes but not everything that you borrow is good for you. And a borrowed cycle was definitely doing no good to me. Now was the time to deposit it back to where it belonged.
And so the ride started again. Right when we crossed the Parliament and then the President’s House, we all felt privileged that the roads were free of traffic due to the Republic Day preparations. The roads were smooth as silk and the feeling of adventure reaped its fruits at that very moment. The whole scenario would not have felt the same, had I been on a car. The chilly winds would not have touched my hair, the sweat on my body would not have been there to make me feel cold. It was completely my effort and there was no electrical motor pumping that required energy for me.
The essence of Delhi lies in its central roads, the way they make us move forward is an experience in itself, which becomes all the more beautiful when accompanied with Delhi Winters. Soon we were back to theOld Delhi Roads, near Filmistan, facing another reality of Delhi – bad roads with loads of traffic . The approaching of a bus or a speedy car was scaring. It felt like a few ants competing with elephants for reaching their destination on the same track. Once we reached the University area, it was like the same feeling that I often confront while trekking. I could see my camp at some distance but walking through that little distance took a lot of effort.
The mission was finally accomplished leaving the body in a lot of pain.
Later on, it made me think what did I gain out of it? Was it a sense of achievement or was it a sense of stupidity?
I realized that it is dangerous to fall out of routine as our body alarms us in ways more than one. More than the brain, other parts of our body get stressed up. The enthusiasm of mind and the energy of body must work in sync with each other. However, I would still like to congratulate myself for not giving up. Hats off to my facebook friend who manages to do it all, and also be an inspiration for others.
I think it was not a sense of stupidity but a sense of realization, of what can a constant effort do to us.