Sunday, February 25, 2018
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There was a time when we saw nothing but cycles, cycles all the way whenever a school gave up or after office time. Cars were rare, bikes too were seen once in a while and scooters had not yet emerged. Cycles of different varieties were seen on the roads. Those from the affluent families would have a carrier, a stand, a dynamo-operated light, a basket and so on.

Cycling was supposed to be the most respectable form of conveyance. There were lady cycles too which did not have the rod linking the handle with the seat. The parking of cycles posed no problems. There was no pollution either; and no wastage of energy if one had to stop at a crossing.
That was the time when Nehru had exclaimed, ‘We have entered the cycle age’. Today we can say that we have forgotten the cycles altogether. It may, however, be noted that cycles provide good exercise and keep one trim too. The movement of legs is an exercise that one doesn’t get these days.
There was a suggestion in some quarters that in view of the increase in petroleum prices as well as pollution, why shouldn’t people also use cycles not as a total substitute for two wheelers or four wheelers but as an occasional means of transport? That will keep one physically fit and also save petrol apart from reducing pollution and congestion on roadsides.
To begin with, can’t the school children be induced to ride cycles? If the schools pass some resolution to this effect and make cycle mandatory, the boys may start using it. Let them allot, say 10 marks per month to those boys who come riding on cycles. After all many boys are underage and are yet seen riding scooters or even driving cars.
One excuse that nay be given is that distances have increased. So what? If Lal Bahadur Shastri could daily swim across the Ganga in Varanasi, can’t budding children ride cycles? All that they would require is to start a bit earlier to be on time.

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