Friday, July 25, 2008

Back to bicycles

Bike rentals, a fashion in Paris. His suggestion is to try out in Bangalore what is fashionable in Paris. It is easy to imagine the benefits if more people take to bikes instead of automated transport - exercise, cheaper transport, easing traffic congestion, saving fuel and above all, reduction of pollution. I hope that the business community and the citizens would give this a serious thought.

Once upon a time Bangalore was a town of bicycles. With the increase in the number of cars and buses and the eagerness of people to reduce transit time, the humble pedal vehicles were pushed to the background. But now we have come a full circle and often the bicycles can get you to your destination faster than an automobile.

Bicycle rentals were quite common in Bangalore fifty years or so back. In the early 1950s we had one next to St. Joseph’s College Hostel. An Anglo-Indian couple owned it. I forget their name now. The bikes were available any time on nominal rent. It was a great facility for the hostel boys because very few of them owned vehicles.

During a class on the importance of punctuation, the English professor at St. Joseph’s asked us a question. The owner of a bicycle rental had a new name board made for his shop. It included the caption ’Bicycles for gentlemen and ladies for hire’.

The painter put a comma at the wrong place on the board and that changed the entire meaning. I am sure that you can guess after which word the comma was inserted.

That was a lesson well learned.

Coming back to bicycles, I remember that in Kerala too, bike rentals were quite common in villages and small towns. At least in our area this service is making a comeback. Why wait for a bus or auto rickshaw? Take a two-wheeler and pedal away.


Also see: Bangalore memories

Cross posted from

Song of the waves - Parayil A. Tharakan Blog

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