Let’s talk about the mindset of a city cyclist. It is complex, but it springs from the simplicity of a machine called the ‘city bike’, bicycles used in cities as a means of transport or recreation.
Roshan Aibara* is a 28 year old UX (user interface) designer living in Bengaluru. Roshan is a true blue cyclist who cycles in the city, outside the city, and all places in-between and beyond. The reasons are both spiritual and utilitarian.
The spiritual part deals with what a cyclist experiences and it is best told in their own words. Listen to Roshan’s answer, which is in the form of a string of statements, rambling but clear, disjointed but whole. He says, “Biking makes me feel free. I like the feel of air brushing on my face. I feel in control of everything around me and yet, I am in harmony with the rest of the world. I can sense the highs and lows of the earth. It brings me closer to nature. I feel fearless when I am left alone with my bike. I am satisfied merely by knowing that I can do things my way.”
Now the more earthly stuff. The cycle is “the biggest boon to urban life”, in Roshan’s own words. It is true of all cities that he has lived in— Ranchi, Mumbai, San Francisco, Paris, and namma Bengaluru. Cycling in each of the cities has further deepened his marvel for the cycle, a miraculous panacea for all urban ills, thinks Roshan.
The biggest of all is that the city cycle is unbeatable as a means to beat the city traffic, be it Bengaluru or Beijing or Bangkok, whose roads look like a long parking lot. You can escape getting sandwiched between two cars for the precious part of a day. You can save time, extend your life, and give more hugs to your family! Cycling in the city helps you earn the biggest perishable resource in the world: time.
Roshan said that cycling in the city helps him “shrink the tire and fatten the wallet”. He is referring to two things: a) the health benefit of burning calories and its effect on preserving a lean midriff, and b) the money he saves on petrol and the upkeep of the car or any other vehicle. When combined, these two advantages have the miraculous effect of strengthening two of the most important assets in life: health and wealth.
The cyclist is the master of the city’s web of internal roads, the crosses and the streets, the avenues and the enclaves. In many ways, the veteran cyclist can beat the GPS with his knowledge of numerous alternate routes to a destination. He knows the nooks and corners of the city and the character of every locality. He has discovered parts of the city unknown to many others.
So, that’s the mind of a cyclist— defined by an innate sense of balance, engineered to seek efficiency, and driven by purpose. Just like the Mach City!
*Name changed upon request to protect identity