Couple of weeks back I was teaching my son cycling. He has been riding cycle with support wheels for many years now but wanted to move to the next level of driving without support wheels. So it all started on a lazy saturday afternoon and we chose one of the roads with little or no traffic at that time.
Teaching somebody to cycle is one of the best exercises, I tell you. You need to walk, run, sprint and due some weight training as well (holding on to the the cycle with a kid on it). After couple of rounds of cycling he was able to ride it without support but he still wanted me to run along with him. It doesn't end soon as he wanted to cycle indefinitely. As with any new thing we get, the initial curiousity of repeating it again and again made him ride for a good 30 minutes. At the end of it, he has learnt cycling and I also managed to burn a good amount of calories.
For the next 1 week, my thighs were tight and I had pain while walking. But the joy of seeing the kid cycling on his own makes you feel really happy. I keep thinking always how few people could live without knowing how to cycle. I know of few friends who never learnt cycling in their lives because their parents never wanted them to learn cycling or they were afraid themselves. I think these guys missed a lot in their life by not cycling. I always wanted him to learn cycling and I am happy and relieved that he has picked up really fast.
Turning little nostalgic, I dont exactly remember who taught me cycling but I very well remember the days of hiring cycles on rent. It used to cost 50 paise an hour and we used to get small cycles for boys. We used to hire these cycles in groups and go around the locality. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I remember going around the streets of Renganathapuram, Pathirakali Amman Koil street and CM Middle school road in Tuticorin.
Now I hardly get to see cycles being rented in Chennai. May be one or two here and there in the suburbs. I saw cycle hire shops still in operation when I went to Tuticorin the last time around in Oct'8. Myself and my friend Balaji, went and hired cycles and went around the town reminiscing about our college days when we used to go together for our tuitions.
I am a great fan of cycling particularly in towns like Tuticorin. The whole radius of the town itself is not more than 3-5 kms and cycling makes it convenient to move from place to place. I started going to school in cycle from my 9th standard (till then I enjoyed pick up and drop by my father in his Lambretta!!). I cycled to school, college, then to the Auditor's office for my Chartered Accountancy and even I finished my CA, I used cycle for commuting. I would ride the cycle really crazy fast when I have to come back home before the 9.00 PM deadline of my father. On an average I would have cycled not less than 15 kms a day for good 10-11 years till the time I left Tuticorin. Probably, that is showing now with my knees getting pain very often.
Even today I feel tempted to take my cycle out for a ride on the busy Chennai roads. Do you know, when my whole family shifted from Tuticorin to Madras a good 6-7 years back, I insisted on getting my cycle to Chennai. I still maintain my cycle which I used during my college days but I hardly use it. I have spent more money on maintaining it than the price I paid for buying it many years ago. I am going to take my cycle out today and go for a ride. I am sure I will enjoy it.