Remember those picnics from childhood? Â You know you are going someplace fun. You know it will be great. There will be food, laughter, friends.. all that is good in life. This morning felt like that for us.
False starts: Check! Like someone always delays the start of picnic because they have forgotten something at home and you have to double back… Riyaz and Faizan (that’s our teenager frequent customer who has a BMX bike, and who was coming with us to Cycle Day) forgot their helmets in the store. So we opened the store again, went back for helmets… and set off.
Papa promises food: Check! Pavan promised Riyaz chai if we got moving. So we got moving. 200 metres down, we stopped at Taj for chai. Taj Tea Stall, that is.
Then we finally set off, pointing towards places we know (Pepper Cafe. “Remember the crab soup we had that one time?” BMS School, “Riyaz! Our school” – Riyaz went to the same kindergarten that I had… only there’s a close to 20 year difference between the 2 occurrences, “Desmonds. Long time no Desmonds. We have to all come back here once”).
Lots of interesting incidents on the way: Check!Â For example, at Lavelle Road, we overtook a cute kid on a cycle- he must be about 10 years old – and he raced us all and overtook us. Pavan got competitive and…. er… nothing 😀 No seriously, we all hung back and appreciated the kid’s saddle height and form and praised his parents for good thinking. Here’s the guy –
We got to Jayanagar and started missing Nikhil very keenly. We were depending on Pavan for directions and while the man looked very confident, we kept wondering. Directions, isnâ€™t his strong suite. In fact, his keen sense of direction is more like Lord Rataxes â€“
But we don’t cast aspersions on the direction sense of our fearless leader. He led us true. And we were at Cycle Day before you could say Bob Crankerson.
At Cycle Day, we surveyed everything in under 10 seconds and took off to take care of first things first: breakfast!! We saw the largest contingent at Cycle Day today â€“ Team Nandan.
Fun at the event: Check! Back in the middle of things, we got announced to go up on stage. Pavan took centre stage to talk about Buying a Bike 101 for the second time around at Cycle Day.
He spoke about the 3 kinds of bikes and asking the question â€œwhat do I want the bike forâ€ to be the guiding principle for the purchase. With Womenâ€™s Day around the corner, there was focus on women & cycling. He spoke about what are women specific bike buying tips. He handed the mic over to me to talk about safety. The essentials I spoke about were staying visible to traffic (lights, bright/ reflective clothing), keeping your cycle safe (cable lock and cycle locked to something), same rules apply as non-cycle commute: all rooted in common sense (ride in the day time/ ride with someone but donâ€™t make your safety their responsibility/ Â tell someone what route you are taking/ inform someone upon reaching destinationâ€¦)
Goosebump factor: check! Pavan was asked to introduce our old and much-admired friend, Mr. Janardhan.
Well into his 80s, this wonderfully energetic man rides everywhere (including to Srirangapatna to run KTM and cycle back after a day of rest).
Mr. Janardhan was very inspiring â€“ he spoke about being diagnosed with epilepsy and how he refused to take medicines and healed himself by sheer will and a lot of sweat. He spoke about his half and full marathon achievements and about the few thousand kms he has already doneâ€¦ and his audacious plan to cycle the distance between the earth and the moon. What was truly spine-tingling: â€œI have another 160,000 km to go. I am confident of finishing thatâ€. What. A. Man!!
Countless others enjoying themselves: check! There were kids playing some badminton-like thing. There were kids with hula hoops. And some people trying out a skateboard variant. And lots of kids who were picking it up quick!
There were many kids of all ages cycling about with the kind of mad abandon that transported me to my childhood.. that look on their faces, when they know with certainty that they can experience this heady freedom of “my own vehicle” while a parent or two were within hailing distance, just in case.
We saw a bunch of other interesting things. There was a kid with a chopper like cycle. Another with a high, penny farthing of sorts. Both were being given out to other kids to try.
There was a Dad with his 2 obviously thrilled and squealy girls riding pillion that my camera wasn’t quick enough to catch –
There were kids in racing gear and there was the installment from the last time… only, we figured it’s face. specially the hair, Â resembled Rishabh a bit. So, we’re calling it Rishabh, going forward. Affectionately, call it Bob.
We headed out… Riyaz and I suspect we came back via Mysore… with you-know-who being in charge of the route. As we were heading out of Jayanagar, Pavan made one of his famous stops… the story is charmingly illustrated in pictures here…
Having once again earned his name, Gopi, he set off as the leader of our little brigade… and soon enough, we were back at the store. And the rest of the day is business as usual.
The fun that was Cycle Day is etched in our minds as a memorable experience, once again!