Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sharing the road - with elephants

I've been away these past couple weeks, around bikes of a whole different breed. They were not sleek, no highly crafted Titanium or extruded carbon fibre, light weight gears and derailleurs nope, shifting was all in your legs, and as for brakes, those were straight out of the pre-war Tour... pre-WW ONE! The best part was they were every where, for every body, for every job. Working bikes. Bikes with the mythic names like Hero and Hercules. But all were beautiful inventions just the same.

Two places on earth symbolize the great dream of the "peoples machine" envisioned by early inventors like Lallement and Michaux brothers, and assumed reality in a "safety bike" that has not changed dramatically in over a century - China and India - I just spent three weeks in the bike crowded streets and country roads of the latter, in and around Kolkata and Guwahati.

Cycling in eastern India is frightening, death-defying, insane, and pedaled through a tunnel of honking horns. In India the bike lane IS the lane, and shared by all. And the word "all" has no equal in the US, quite frankly, no where else on earth for that matter. Nothing moves fast, but forever is in motion. It's a peloton of pedicabs, people and everything else with and without wheels. Every pedal stroke is deliberate and focused, negotiating your way past bovine speed bumps, couch hauling trikes and elephants!

More on my Indian bike adventures as I catch up - and get in a few recovery rides here in Oregon.

No comments:

Post a Comment