The cycle is the finest innovations of science, besides being a great mode of transport. Man has been riding it for long to run his life. It is a poor man's friend and 'guide'. It gives strength to workers who, like sparrows, leave their nests at daybreak, toil the whole day, and pedal back with a sense of achievement.
It is a companion of the labourers who sweat to build their nation bit by bit, brick by brick and wheel by wheel. The cycle has long acted as an adhesive and carrier of emotions.
The cycle-borne postman in khaki, who delivers messages of near and dear ones separated by the compulsions of life, is no less than an angel coming straight from heaven to deliver happy or sad news. The melodious Bollywood number 'Dakiya dak laiyan' (the postman brings letters), is a testimony to the fact that a cycle is an agent that helps cement human relations.
The cycle offers a pill or two on the philosophy of life. It teaches that mobility is life and stagnation is death. One should keep moving despite one's problems, the way the wheels of a cycle roll and wade through choppy waters. "Jeevan chalne ka naam, chalet raho subah-o-shaam", filmed on cine star Manoj Kumar, wherein he pedals in a loop for more than a week, teaches us that life is a struggle and those who face it head on finally win it. In another Bollywood flick, 'Jo Jita Wohi Sikandar', the cycle race featuring Aamir Khan underscores the fact that success comes through hard work and it always tastes sweet.
The cycle has always been a subject of forging romance between a hero and heroine. The innocuous hit of Sanjeev Kumar's cycle with the beautiful heroine of 'Pati, Patni Aur Who' sets the stage for romance and the drama that follows.
However, the cycle faces a big threat from racing vehicles and the establishment of the day. The ban on cycling in Kolkata from 174 thoroughfares in the city is an ugly testimonial to this fact. Of late, the cycle has lost sync with the fast-paced world. It is now considered a relic of the past. A symbol of a bygone era. A metaphor of regression. Swanky cars and bikes have badly hit the popularity of the cycle. But it has not completely lost its sheen. Still, a tribe of cycle lovers, though minuscule, prefer to pedal.
The cycle has revolutionised the lives of the weaker sex, as it has empowered them and added wings to their aspirations. Women feel liberated when they ride its cosy saddle. The praiseworthy Mai Bhago Scheme, started by the Punjab government under which cycles are given free of cost to girl students, has significantly pushed up the female literacy index. The cycle is thus a weapon of liberation for the fair sex from the stereotypes of the patriarchal society.
The cycle offers a slew of benefits. It tones up muscles. It benefits the environment and bolsters the economy as it helps cut fuel consumption. Long live the wheels!