To cycle is to get on the original body-powered machine for commutes, transport, fun, recreation, exercise or competition. Most cyclists don’t think so hard of the why of cycling, it is just what they do, like walking or breathing.
For a beginner though, it is great to understand why you are interested.
– Well yes, cycling reduces your chances of cancer and heart attacks.
– Nothing like the road beneath your feet, nature passing by and wind in your face.
– Try racing your bike down a hill.
– It’s the cheapest mode of transport and the friendliest to the Earth (well, besides walking).
– Tailor-made for that.
Need to bounce around violently on muddy, rocky, barely stable mountain trails?
– Sure! Suit yourself.
As you see, there aren’t too many people for whom cycles are NOT for. Yet, many don’t cycle. To understand this strange puzzle, we look back at a short history of bicycles.
History of Cycling: When cycles became widespread in Europe and North America, they were widely regarded as “freedom machines”, especially by feminists who realized the power of mobility given by these simple machines. Their popularity grew across the world as recreational and transport uses grew – events started to be organized – city races, cross country rides, mountain races.
In a famous case, six young Indian boys rode across the world for over four years. Yet, even as bicycles became mainstream, there were already threats looming to the sport. Vulnerability due to increasing car accidents and the creation of suburbs (longer commutes) meant that people shifted to motorized vehicles in greater numbers. In some places though, cyclists fought back – demanding space on roads, restrictions on motor vehicles and separate cycle paths – and won.
Benefits of Cycling: A cycle is basically a very simple machine, powered by you, that will take you from one place to another at a far greater speed than your own feet. Apart from the sheer pleasure of pedalling, there are several health and environmental benefits –
Lower cancer rates, better hearts and arteries, lower stress to name a few. In cities where air pollution is a problem (all Indian cities) and a world where the climate emergency looms large – cycling is also the glaringly obvious solution for transport, switching away from fossil fuel-powered options.
Types of Bicycles: If your sole motive for cycling is leisurely commutes in cities, a city bike is not a bad option. In some cities, the metro trains have started allowing you to carry your bicycle, so a folding bike is a great option there.
Accessories: The absolute essentials to begin your cycling journey are helmets, safety lights, and a water bottle holder. In polluted cities and during times of Covid, you would also need a good breathable N95 mask. Also recommended are neon tape, bright traffic vests – anything that makes you more visible will decrease your chances of being in an accident.
Another must-have that people don’t realize they can even get is insurance for their bicycle. Imagine not having to worry about theft or damage.
You can check out our cycle insurance policy coverage here.
Summarizing the long story short, if you are thinking about getting on those wheels you’re thinking too much. It’s only one life and you need to make the best out of it now.
It’s go time!