Trust me it does…riding a bicycle sucks.
It takes ages to go somewhere. Most of the time you are sweaty and smelling like a pig. Moreover it's human powered...so you don't have a choice.. you have to pedal and you always get headwinds. There are no bicycle lanes (except a few cities in the world). You are not respected by either a motor vehicle or a pedestrian. You are nuisance for them….gosh!!
If these reasons are not challenging enough…then read on. If not, then you are, well, may be the holiday package guy who loves to reach his destination in an aircraft and enjoy a chauffeur-driven car for sightseeing.
Here are few reasons, why you should leave your cycle in the garage to rust!!
Too much of freedom
Which route should I take --- the off road or the normal motorized one? Should I stay back or keep going? Ahh this is such a nice spot for a camp tonight. I don’t feel like riding today. Let's just chill here or let's set a personal day record --- this kind of freedom is such a terrible feeling. If you don’t like this…stay away from that bike.
It's tooooo slow
You just cannot rush from one spot to another. Instead, you have to endure the pain of watching all the amazing landscapes which you could so simple avoid by a taking a nap in the car or just taking a flight.
Its so damn tiring! Aaaaaaaaa
There is always a headwind and those inclines…uff hills after hills. It is tough to be in shape to tame those hills. Those hills will make you wonder…why why?? It could be so much simpler to just fall asleep in a bus or a train. On a cycle, your brain goes numb and you just can think…your problems disappear…issues with girlfriend, wife, job, boss, politics…who cares…not at least you head…no more stress!! Yes, after a full day ride, you feel so free from stress and you still have energy and sometime more to go on the next day again. Too tiring definitely.
No tourist spots on the way
While on your bicycle, the distances between services and cities is hours and sometimes days apart. This means you may not find any decent restaurant, hotels and you may have to sleep with friendly strangers. You will have to always put up with people whom you have never met before and who promise to always remember you and keep in contact with. So much adventure for what? Meeting real people and eating authentic local food and to know about their life and culture.
Sometime you just don’t want to move any further and set up a tent in middle of nowhere with no lights and no sound. For company is only the Milky Way which you can never see in you polluted city. Now isn’t this really what travelling is all about?
Such good health
A few days back, I met a 94-year-old Bengali gentleman who used to be a cycle tourist and rode 7,500 miles across India in 1939 at a time when the bikes used to be made of iron and literally no roads. If I wasn’t told, I would have easily passed him for a 60-year-old person. He lives alone in a two-storeyed house, does all the household chores himself and was speaking fluently --- telling me thrilling encounters of his riding days.
Riding a bike makes you kick the butt; push the booze and love life! But isn’t the true enjoyment of life in smoke, hallucinating, hangover and choking your heart… it's so much painful to live longer with a strong beating heart and legs of steel. At an age when people sit around the park talking politics and discussing how soon the world will see the doomsday…cyclist in their 70-80s are roaming the world, scaling every hill, capturing every landscape…
But why take the trouble… everything has its own time… isn’t it??
You cycle and play as a child --- then study --- take up a job--- wife --- have children --- then retire and wait for God to meet you … ohh I missed those family holidays to nearby seaside and hill stations … Yes.. it's very important to have those family holidays… but what about taking out those few hours for yourself ….for your well-being and your good health... stuff which you wanted to do… but can't because today you are too occupied and stuck midst office, home and family… if you cannot stay fit and hearty …how will you take care of your family then? I m sure we do not want to become sick and dependent and a burden … there is no thrill in that!
Personally, cycling has brought discipline in my life… Days when I cannot workout are bad days…the days when I hit the saddle, I feel I am the KING OF THE ROAD!
(Pictures by Manish Lakhani. He is an explorer, adventurer and a travel photographer. He is an avid cyclist and has completed an incredible solo trip of 14,000km in India covering almost all states in 5 ½ months in 2013. Ladakh is his winter home. For more such mesmerizing pictures visit http://withmanish.com)