(Bi)cycle is a great utility for human beings. I have never lived without a bicycle (and what is more can not think of my future without it).
I had a plastic cycle in my childhood, a simple small size Atlas cycle and a stylish BSA SLR Street Cat in my adolescence and the model I own now in adulthood is the most popular model in India (the cycle on the right in the photo).
Cycle is a wonderful thing. One can kill many birds with this one stone – health, exercise, obesity, fun, travel, conservation, sustainable development, savings and whatnot! The cycle is a great leveller; anyone can own one – rich or poor! It has low/no maintenance costs and can ride almost any terrain. Above all, it requires no licence!
In developing countries like India, resourceful people (including some of my friends) still consider cycle as necessary/ideal only for the kids or the poor people. They consciously avoid buying/using a cycle and are fixated on buying a bike/car without giving this vehicle any consideration or thought. Many young people (including those in my campus) believe that riding a cycle will jeopardise your chances of getting a girlfriend!
It is about time that transport policies of governments of developing countries promoted cycle as an aid to sustainable development. I rarely venture out of my serene campus on my cycle which is because I will risk my life competing with automobiles on the road given the absence of cycle lanes.
I recommend the film Wall-E to all those who still do not realize what may happen to planet earth if we do not stop polluting it.
When I have money I will buy/collect models of cycles from all over the world. I will also want my woman/wife to love and drive a cycle (though my parents and siblings are not very enthusiastic about it).
Some years ago, I had written a small poem on the cycle; I could not find it in my archives. I can recall only two lines:
atop the cycle you will feel
like wings attached to your heel!
Edit 31 January 2009: My friend Zia suggested me to listen to this wonderful audio from the BBC (the Bicycle Diaries) which explores the impact of bicycles on people’s lives and newspaper deliverers in New Delhi: