Every one who has ever ridden a bicycle has enjoyed an exhilarating feeling of liberation while riding. The physical sensation of gliding with the wind in your face. That automatic activity of pedaling when you have to be awake but not think too much. Unsure of the destination, if you see something that catches your eye to the left, you just veer off there.This is the kind of cycling some of us enjoy the most, just rolling and feeling complete freedom.
(Image from Corbis)
On May 1st, a new dimension got added to my cycling experience.
Over 100 cyclists from all across Bombay assembled at Lucky’s in Bandra at 6am for the Maharashtra Day Cycle ride to NCPA, the southernmost point of Bombay. Sudarshan Beri, a passionate cyclist himself who had orchestrated and spearheaded the event gave away bags with the basic essentials that may be useful on the ride As the ride started, the pro cyclists (who have clocked several kilometers across states and countries!) almost naturally took to guiding the rookies who were going to explore the length of their city on the bike for the first time. No cycle was trying to sprint ahead and disrupt the flow. Even though there were very few motorised vehicles at that hour, they did try to intervene. However, the dedicated ‘protector cyclists’ were literally guarding the rest of the flock. Some of them were complete strangers to each other (me included) but that day during the ride it was one big fellowship. You could be a little careless, as someone else would be watching for you. A joyous feeling of togetherness, belonging set in.
We paused at Haji Ali and then rode across a wide open Peddar road with crisp air blowing in the face. We realised we had reached the other end of the city. That day, It wasn’t really about the number of kilometers cycled.
Along Marine Drive was probably the best part of the ride, gazing at the skyline of the Maximum city at dawn. It looked like the peaceful face of a hyperactive child who is soon going to wake up and take on the world. And as the journey’s end was in sight, we saw the celebration of having conquered the city on two wheels had begun.
We relished a well-deserved breakfast at my college-time favourite, Mocha near Churchgate station. While reminiscing the beautiful morning, I told myself may be this is the reason I love Bombay: it gives me freedom, at the same time makes me feel like I belong.
After seven crazy years in the city, today I believe is where I belong.