I came across a cycling club in Mumbai called as ‘Fast and Furious’. They are a happy bunch of road cyclists doing pretty well. They ride almost every day and post ride updates on social media. But I never thought of joining the club, why?

  1. I don’t ride everyday
  2. I ride slow

While I have high regards for their style of riding, but I am clear that I do not fit into their tribe and can’t catchup with the speeding champs. Therefore, it’s not a match made in heaven.

If I were to describe my style of cycling, it would be termed as ‘Slow and Curious’. Yes! I am exactly the opposite. The reason I ride slowly because I get that much time to think and observe. I notice my surroundings and that triggers multiple thoughts in my mind, which is good for me as a blogger.

While riding slowly, I feel safe on the roads. I feel that I can brake easily in the traffic and it allows me that much more control. Mumbai does not have dedicated cycling infrastructure and cyclists here don’t have the right of way. Hence, to my mind it is safer to cycle slowly and find your way out rather than rush and invite unnecessary risk.

I typically cycle for commute and leisure purposes during the day which involves engagement with traffic. Most of the times I try to take inside lanes to avoid high traffic but given the high numbers of cars in the city one is bound to bump into traffic.

Here is a poem I wrote on the the art of slow cycling.

Slow and Curious!
Slow I flow,
Pedal with a glow,
With each ride, mentally I grow,
Not too far,
Without a car,
Looking at the trees,
Listening to the birds,
Sensing the warmth and chill,
Admiring the people who walk,
Gaze at invisible cyclist’s who pedal hard,
I wonder, is cycling not smart?
Roads bumpy and with potholes,
Growing voices on climate goals,
I pedal, and pedal with a curious mind,
Can bicycles replace a car?
If my vision is clear,
That day will be near,
When parking lots will proliferate with bicycles,
And commuting will be redefined,
Roads will be designed,
Uncles and aunties will ride a bike,
Logistics will be done using trikes,
The streets will flourish with bikes,
No matter if all this happens,
I shall still ride slow and pedal with a glow.

Happy World Bicycle Day!

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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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