Why do I cycle?

First published in Times of India on October 29, 2010. Nice to be featured in the ‘Just4Her’ section of ‘What’s Hot’ ;-).

If you can afford to ride a motorcycle or a car, then why ride a cycle. Its a question that often gets thrown at me, though not always explicitly. More often than not, when I ride, locals mistake me to be a foreigner. Despite the colour of my skin, kids will shout out ‘angrez’ and adults will try to start a conversation in English.

But, of course, that is not the reason why I cycle. While doing wonders for my health, saving money and making a green statement are all worthy causes, they are not why I cycle. For me, each time I take a side lane and a detour from the serious journey of life, I find that my life is more embellished, more fulfilling.

As I get older I find that the pace of the cycle is just right. I think of myself as a traveller and not a tourist. For me it is not so important to get to the most photographed spot. I am quite comfortable not getting there ever, as long as I can keep travelling and seeing places, and meeting people along the way.

The other important thing for me is the ability to experience the world around me without the frame of the windscreen, which reminds me of the glass tube facing my couch at home. On my cycle I can’t only be panoramically immersed in the surroundings, I can also smell, feel and hear the world around me. Sometimes, and only sometimes, after a long day of cycling when you just about set up the tent, and it is too cold to cook, and too windy to do anything else, and all you can do is shrivel up in your sleeping bag, you ask yourself, as your loved ones often do, what the hell is wrong with me. But more often than not, the sun rises the next day and warms your bones. You decide on a late start and sit there in the warm sun with a hot cup of lemon tea, reviewing the sights and sounds of the day before, surveying the landscape as if there was no tomorrow. And realise that there is no other pleasure that can rival being out there in the wilderness all by yourself with your faithful cycle.

Some rides I recommend:

  • Manali to Leh:
    Cyclists around the world rate this as one of the toughest cycling trips
  • Nako to Manali:
    One of the most scenic cycling routes in the country. Runs through the high altitude desert of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh
  • Cycling across the Jalori pass (Aut to Luhri):
    Jalori is not among the highest passes in the region but it surely is the steepest. A real test of cycling prowess!
  • Dharamshala to Manali (via Sach pass):
    A spectacular journey through a road less travelled
Why i cycle Times of India Delhi

First published in Times of India, Delhi

You may also like

5 comments

  • upasana goel October 29, 2010   Reply →

    wonderful…all the best & kuddos to you.

  • Arun Verma October 29, 2010   Reply →

    Hi Ajay,

    Read it in the morning and said to myself. As usual, Ajay’s got all right and TOI’s got it all wrong. Nonetheless, you’re an inspiration! Thank you!

    Arun

  • Abhay Dayal October 30, 2010   Reply →

    Keep cycling…way to go man! All the best.

  • Gowri Mohanakrishnan October 31, 2010   Reply →

    I enjoyed this so much. It was like a breath of fresh air!

  • Vikash kumar August 5, 2016   Reply →

    lovely… .. ” in the wilderness all by yourself with your faithful cycle.”….. poetic..

    :)… feel the same whenever i cycle…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: