Author Archives: sudip bhattacharya

very interesting design idea for bikers

often people are not too comfortable carrying helmet the around. here comes a solution for the same. found the design very insightful. hope someone picks it up and starts manufacturing the same for masses.

http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/11618/lock-on-by-hanjong-kim-hayan-choi-byunghoon-chung-duckhwan-kim.html

Song of Joy

Having spent most of my life in progressive cities or atleast cities which think they are progressive. These cities fight hard to break away from the old ways. whether it’s food or clothing or mode of transport. They believe in killing the old.

So home cooked food takes a backstage when kids want to go out and have food at MacDonald’s. The traditional Indian dresses have long been gone and replaced by Denims and Tees. Similarly bicycles are no more trendy, motorbikes and cars are the way of life.

Specially last 15-20 years have seen too drastic a change. We often refer it to as the Mobile Generation the “mobile” coming from the Mobile Phones. Alongwith these attitudes a lot gets lost without realisation everything happens bit by bit. A person realises only when one sits in the time machine and goes back a few decades.

Well everybody is not as lucky as me.

YES. Recently I did a bit of TIME TRAVEL.

It was not so high-tech as it sounds. Infact Time Travel can be done in a much more LowTech manner. Recently I chanced upon to visit a place called Shantiniketan (West Bengal, India). A small sweet town better known for it’s red soil and it’s gifts to Literature & Art. Leave the centre of the town and you are in a world which runs on bicycles. Yes Sir, the main mode of transport in this town is not cars, not scooters but bicycles. that does not mean the city is full of prehistoric creatures. In contrast average people of this small town will be probably more “literate” than in the big progressive towns.

“Literate” may not mean they have attended school, but surely have learnt much more from people around them and the basic aura of the city.

It’s strange in India to expect a Rickshaw Puller to quote poetry which most of us school goers may not have heard about. Well I guess I am not wandering to far from our core that is the Bicycle. Just think of a city where there are no cars, which means no Big Cars vs Small Cars which leads to less social inequality. A Postman or A College Professor or An Architect when all of them ride similiar black bicycles they all look to be of the same social strata and they blend much better into each others life. Which leads to better sharing of knowledge. Hence a more literate society if not more educated.

Not just that i realised the pace of a bicycle is more conducive for a creative soul. A person is more relaxed and free to think on a bicycle than a car. Probably that makes Shantiniketan one of the creative hubs of the country.

This little town seems to be India. India, the way it was till the 60’s or 70’s. The way it was supposed to be. People lending a helping hand to his fellow citizen. Not running away by showing off how fast he is.

Over here people are less scared of honks and speeding cars. Which means they love singing a song to their fellow bikers as they ride along the red soiled earth.When was the last time any of us did it?

A moment which may haunt me for times to come. Even though I back from my Time Travel he haunts me. A Rickshaw Puller who pulled our rickshaw all the way to a river bank and then he sang a song of joy. A song written on the same river bank a couple of decades back by a famous poet of those days. Time hadn’t stopped. But still people in Shantiniketan sing their own Song of Joy.

One day you may chance upon a city like this while doing some Time Travel till then Sing a Song of Joy to your fellow cyclist.

All these pictures are from Shantiniketan and nearby villages.

ride to work on a summer day

one question which had been asked to me often on my way to work.

how do you manage to pedal to work on a hot summer day?

the question has two parts to it
firstly. it’s so hot and sunny, don’t you feel sick while pedalling?
secondly. inbetween the lines it says don’t you stink after that?

well, most of it is manageable. it’s about how you plan your daily voyage.

while riding to work i wear one of the tshirts made with dryfit fabric by nike, other sports brands have there own version for the same adidas has climacool. these are perforated fabrics, which let air pass through them eventually acting like a desert cooler, where i think our own sweat acts like a coolant. where shorts or detachable cargoes, i even wear jeans. more importantly one should make sure that she/he carries along a change for the upper part of the body.

we generally find it hot even in the morning on a summer day as our car acts like a green house and traps inside all the heat, on top of that the wind screen will be blocking the wind (that’s it’s job so let it do it well). now when we ride our bike we can feel the breeze and the sun is not so high and hot in the morning either. wind will be passing through the pores of the fabric and keep our body cool. make sure you wear your sunglasses, they look good and act really good.

carry a small towel even a 6″x6″ will do, it can be easily tucked inside the laptop bag (as in my case). now this little towel does the wonder.

once in office rush to the loo > carry you spare t-shirt or shirt > take off the sweaty one > wet the towel > dab your torso with the wet towel > leaves you fresh and odour free > spray some deo if you have or just let it be > don’t forget to wear the fresh clothes > make sure you wash the towel once again and may pack it inside a plastic bag.

try it out, it’s really easy to ride to work without feeling guilty about making life miserable for people who sit next to you.

who is the cyclist

if cycling was a religion. who would have been the “cyclists“.

what would have been his beliefs?

will he be black, brown or white. or will this religion be more universal like the New Religions which are beyond colour and boundaries?

what will be the diet for the cyclists? will he be a meat eater or a vegan?

will he be wearing saffron or purple or yellow (like armstrong)?

beyond all these superficial attributes it’s important for us to peep into the heart of this guy. what’s inside him. how he feels for his fellow cyclists. not just his fellow beings but how does he react towards the people of other religions like “the Driver” or “the motorbiker”. is the cyclists as aggressive as the others or he believes to be more friendlier and peace loving.

isn’t that how a New Religion should be. friendlier not only to fellow beings but to nature and the little rabbit crossing the street. being friendly is not a sign of being submissive or weak. it takes courage to follow the path of peace and be kind to the hostile world.

in the beginning all religions are opposed and the whole world conspires against it. so what is different in case of “The Cyclist“.

what’s more important is to see the change he brings to world over the longer run of time. what’s more important is to see how he touches one life. it’s important to see the joy on the face of a 2 year old kid when he does his first cycle ride sitting on his fathers bike.

that is “the cyclist“. that is thy religion.

thats a bike

joy of riding

a colleague of mine had been planning to buy a bike for a while. yesterday we all got together to do some shopping for him. we ended up picking a Firefox Cyclone. got it back to office and next couple of hours there was no work everybody took their turns to ride it in and around the office. i was a bit scared when they rode it inside the building on the 3rd floor next to the bosses big glass cabin, one slip would have made the glass shattering to bits.

over all it was a great feeling to see the joy on this guys face. the way he was planning to ride it to work everyday did remind me of the day six years back i started cycling to work.

i realised no words can explain the Joy of Riding the bike only way to know it is by riding one. best of luck to my pal for long rides ahead. surely it will bring him some happiness.

A ZEN PROVERB

A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!? The teacher praised the first student. “You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!” The teacher commended the second student, “Your eyes are open, and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher gave his praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student replied, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings.? The teacher was pleased and said to the fourth student, ?You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.” The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, “I am your student.”

a good read on bike sharing

http://shareable.net/blog/bikesharing-for-amateurs

poor little bicycle lane

For those who have ever been to New Delhi surely know about the BRT Corridor which holds the cities one and only Bicycle Lane. Yesterday, I had an eventful day riding in the Biking Lane along with Motorbikes who shamelessly and fearlessly ride in bicycle lane. I tried talking to them and stopping them but zero results. I tried talking to the cops they threatened me in return and asked me to produce documents stating right of bicycles on the bicycle lane. How dumb is that? They were ignorant of all the road signs for the same. If cops don’t respect how do we expect the public to respect the same?

please shed some light

in india we often see bikers in two broad categories.
1. the bikers who earns his living out of the bike or she/he is dependent upon the bike to go for work.
2. the guy who uses bike for his recreation. seldom does she/he go to work on a bike, for commuting in the day to day life

the issue here is that the guy from Category 1 suffers from a social stigma. he is never appreciated for being a biker. whereas the Category 2 guy is always like a hero, though he may be carrying his bike half the time in his SUV, still he is known as an eco-friendly creature. Category 1 guy never gets a pat on his back for doing some good to the world, people just look down upon him, hence he wants to move out his dependency on the bike at the earliest.

by any chance is this a common phenomenon in other parts of the globe or is it India specific? Please let me know your point of view. and any solution is also invited.