Do Cyclists Deserve Some Respect?
This question arose in my mind after two months of cycling around the city of Chandigarh. A newspaper ad of the new Ford Endeavour claimed that other vehicles will make way for it even in rush hour traffic because of its majestic presence. It seems this vehicle spells such awe on others and puts the rider in a commanding position in the road. I don't want to speculate on the authenticity of this extraordinary claim. But if any cycle manufacturer can dare to make a claim half audacious as that, I will buy that cycle without second thoughts.
A guy who rides big lorries deserves maximum respect in the road. No sensible person will challenge to block his way (unless he is attempting to end his life). Neither the people who ride cars seem to have any worry as they zip ahead in full speed at ease. Even the people who commute by motor cycles look comfortable. Some of them perform such acrobatics that even an expert circus artist will be put to shame. They seem to have the unduly knack of jumping lights, swerving and overtaking vehicles on the roads, and perform so many other tricks that will make a toothless baby to flash a smile. Especially if the motorist is a young chap driven by a penchant for speed, he imagines himself to be the only one on the road even in maddening traffic.
Unfortunately, it's the cyclist who recieves scant respect in the roads. Only strongwilled people can ride a cycle. If I put it more straight, cycling is for men not for the boys! Every time when a cyclist comes across a round- about he goes only by blind faith hoping that he will not be a victim on that day to the law of probability. If the Christian life demands faith, I must confess so does cycling!
If you are wondering why I am sounding so pessimistic about cycling, it is because of the many harrowing experiences I have encountered. Let me recount to you the latest one. A couple of days before as I was riding on the main road, a car zipped by my side. I felt a cold sensation on my skin, inspite of the scorching sun! As i looked at myself in horror, I saw freshly laid scented cow dung all over me. My hands, my t-shirt, and pants were sprayed with the auspicious portion of India's holiest animal. I stopped my cycle on the middle of the road to wipe myself clean. Some of the roadside children found it to be very amusing, and kept staring at me.
This is just a sample of the enormous traumatic challenges that every cyclist in our country undergoes. This write up intends to create compassion in your heart the next time you see a cyclist on road. Do cyclist's deserve some respect? It is up to you to answer.