Bangalore! My first love. I had returned to my home town after 3 months. The fact that I'd be living in my happening city had filled me with excitement. Three months away from Bangalore was a big deal. Something that helped me discover my passion was born while I was away. Cycle day was the talk of the town.
Very inquisitive about the event,I reached the venue about one and a half hours early.My friends cursed me for having disturbed their weekend morning laziness. Fresh air, enormous energy, friends, runners, cyclists, kids and above all, nature, for me, it was a perfect start for the weekend. As the sun's rays made its way between the trees, the crowd increased and we were first in line for the cycle rentals. Getting back on the saddle and pedalling after quite some time, felt wonderful. For the first time I witnessed such huge gathering of cyclists and an attractive range of bicycles. The ones with extremely thin tyres caught my eyes and I would follow those bikes to get a closer look. However, I didn't dare to ask the owners for a ride.
The next month there was a change in the venue and it was just 2.5km from my place. So I decide to take my ladybird out after 4 years. Dad and me cleaned it, air check done. I took my 7th standard gift for a test ride and it was perfectly fine. This time the event had much more than cycling. I learned about the Vodafone Cycling marathon and happily registered for the 40km ride. A thought hit my mind. What if I can get one of those super-bikes to ride! A geared one. I started looking around the area for an approachable face and with much less effort I came across one such face. Had spotted this person at the previous cycle day too. He seemed very humble, enthusiastic and approachable. With no hesitation, I asked him if he knew of any bicycle rentals in Bangalore. Looked like I had approached the right man, Alan. A week later I was riding a geared cycle for the very first time in my life. It was a big deal! It was a Merida MTB. The joy that grew on me every time I pushed the pedals was endless. The ride felt so smooth like melting chocolate. Now this was going to be my weekend date. Looked classy, felt smooth, and there was a spark in my heart when i rode it. This probably was the first spark.
The cycling marathon was on Sunday and I had Saturday to explore the city with pedals and saddle. I rode the bike to every place I went, including shopping! Every minute spent with the bike mattered. I rode effortlessly, explored different gears. Alan had given me a complete know-how session before handing over his priced possession. He clearly explained how and when to shift the gears, what gear ratio to maintain, the whole mechanism of gears and most importantly how to lock the bike to a stationery pole/tree with the lock enclosing the two tyres and the frame along with the pole. He had patiently demonstrated to me all these things.Lessons that I can never forget. That weekend I had clocked around 80km. I was impressed with myself.
Time had come to depart with the bike on Monday morning. I felt the spark again. What if I had one such bike with me all the time. Next weekend I again borrowed a bike, this was a different one, single speed MyBike . The handles were customised and very unique. I thoroughly enjoyed riding it, so much that I cycled to a movie theatre too. My friends thought that I've lost my mind.
Meanwhile Alan had purchased a new bike. By now I had little knowledge about the terminologies used by cyclists. I had stopped referring to road bikes as thin tyre bikes and MTBs as fat tyre bikes. Alan had purchased a hybrid. He asked me if I'd like to take a ride. I started jumping with joy.It was about 9 30 pm. I slyly sneaked out of home. Alan had come with his friend Chris who owned a bike store.
Matte black finish! I fell for the sight of it. Not more than 500 meters did I ride, I knew which bike I had to buy. After a short loop I enquired with Chris about the cost of the bike. I felt a strong urge to own it. Once I learned the cost, I took a step back and told myself "Relax and take that expression off your face right now!". However, I felt very happy , I was all smiles from ear to ear. There is this part of me that comes alive during such peak experiences of joy and ignites the desire, so strong a desire that, though this part of me is alive for a few seconds, enormous is its impact. I wanted that bike. That spark in my heart was now set on fire. I was clueless about how I would get there, but I just knew that I would. Someday.