Most of you must be driving a car or bike to work or elsewhere and what do you do when a more powerful vehicle comes next to you ? If you are in a car and a truck comes next to you, you let the truck pass, swear at him and get on with the driving. If the truck or the bus gets really close to you, you try and squeeze into the shrinking space on your free side and first pray that the monster doesn’t nick your car and once the danger passes you swear a little more and move ahead. If at that moment, you find a cyclist in front of you, in his/her tiny space on your free side, following every traffic rule, what do you feel ? Don’t you feel like pushing this creature out of your way ? how dare he enjoy riding a bicycle while you sit in air-conditioned comfort :). How dare these people not harm the environment and burn fat while you happily let out noxious gases and harm the environment and burn fuel ?
Except in Holland, a cyclist is at the bottom of the traffic food chain, almost everywhere else. Sometimes a cyclist is just hurt and spends time recuperating, while some other times, they die. In India while a huge population uses the cycle as a means of transport, a cyclist is insignificant on the road. If the choice is between saving your big fat car from a bigger fatter monster truck or hitting a cyclist, some may feel a pinch of remorse but would hit the cyclist and some may slow down and stop letting the truck and the cyclist move ahead safely… There are good souls everywhere, even on the road, but really very few. I read the news that on the NH8 in Gurgaon, a young scooterist had been hit by a truck or car and several cars went over him without stopping. They slowed down to take pictures but no one stopped till an auto driver put his auto in a way that he cordoned off the area. This behaviour is not restricted to Gurgaon… It happens everywhere in this country. Sad but it just proves my point that the cyclist is at the bottom of the traffic food chain.
All is not gloom and doom though. A cyclist usually wakes up early in the morning so he can beat the traffic and complete his ride safely. Here are some pictures from our early morning rides that show a different city than the traffic infested, flood affected Chennai.
The picture above is daybreak on Jan 1, 2016.
Look at some vehicles that are already on the road at 5.30 am ! Another picture of daybreak on Jan 1,2016.
So, don’t worry about being at the end of the traffic food chain, there are many privileges that are yours ! You get to see sights that are missed when you zip past in a car and you meet some awesome people when you ride. So saddle up and hit the trails or roads that double up as trails :):).