(H)our Cycle

Saturday mornings usually find little N sleeping late.  And little A catching up on her TV watching.  So N and I have taken to biking for an hour on saturday mornings, just the two of us.  Two spanking new bikes keep us motivated.  At least for now.  So.  Got ready bright and early, and went to find N.  Except he had started a mini-project while waiting for me to get ready.  He was only trying to adjust the seat and add a water bottle holder to one of the bikes.  But the instant gratification part of me had kicked in big.  I didn’t want to wait a second.  So, instead of sitting around nagging while watching him fix the bottle holder (which I did do for a couple of minutes), decided to swing solo around our cul de sac instead.  As I was circling away, my mind did too (flash black, like in the movies!).  Went back all the way to my single digit ages at Vedachala Gardens.  When I was first learning to ride a bike.

One summer, suddenly, bikes (or cycles, as we used to call them), were all the rage.  An “hour cycle” shop opened up near our street.  I was never sure if it was called “Hour Cycle” or “Our Cycle”.  At any rate, the shop did not have a name.  It was a rough-looking shanty, housing bicycles of different sizes with one thing in common – they all looked old, beat up, and more than casually rusted.  That didn’t deter us, though.  V, me, and a few of our friends would head out in the middle of the hot summer afternoons (after thulping thayir sadam and manga thokku provided by paati) to the Hour Cycle shop, praying that a cycle should be available in the size that we wanted.  The tiny cycles (of course, my size, back then) were in super high demand.  At 50 paise for half an hour, it didn’t seem cheap either.  Some days, V and I would only get one cycle between the two of us, and would have to grudgingly take turns.  While envying our friends who got to the shop early enough in the day to get their pick.  On other days we would hit the lottery.  Amma would give us two rupees each to rent cycles, and several cycles would be available when we made our hopeful appearance at the shop.  The next two hours would be pure bliss, and we would come back home hot, hungry, dirty, with (more often than not) scraped knees, and supremely happy. Occasionally, we got even luckier and got an extra buckaroo to extend the cycle rental by another hour.  V and I would just go totally delirious with happiness.  And this was how we learned to bike.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago – something about remembering what you really really wanted to do when you were 10 years old, and pursuing that.  Since there’s something deeply truthful about who you are from what you were interested in doing when you were little.  I reflected on this idea, and came up with writing in my diary as something I was really into when I was 10.  That and reading everything in print that crossed my path.  But I had forgotten the sheer bliss of my hour cycles, biking for hours with the wind in my hair, breeze on my face, and no cares in the world.  A little childhood Utopia.

N and I biked leisurely for seven miles this morning.  I am totally re-discovering my joy of biking, and loving it!  My rear-end (which is, at this point, used to sitting continuously at my desk for several hours a day) is loving it too! 🙂

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