To most Chinese the cycle is what the car is to Americans. In China thick crowds of cycle-riders wade through the traffic tide like sardines in a shoal. Here, the two-and-three-bicycle family is the norm. The Chinese are proud of their bicycles. In Japan, train stations have extensive, sprawling cycle-parking facilities enabling local residents to bicycle down to the station and then commute by train to their work sites.
In Australia, bicycle is part of traffic planning and roads are designed with cyclists in mind. In fact, the lowly cycle is the leading means of personal transportation for the world’s bicycle ownership totals an upwards of 800 million which contrasts sharply with figures of a generation ago. The increase in the cycle population discounts the assumption that, with the unfolding of the age of affluence, automobiles would replace the bicycle. Besides, with the environmental movements gaining momentum the bicycle has surged in popularity. The two-wheeler is increasingly becoming a symbol of functionality and lifestyle in Germany. India exports 1.2 million bicycles out of the German requirement of 6 million annually.
There is no denying that the self-propelled vehicle is fun. It’s a sure way of reaching the destination in an age of frequent traffic jams and bandhs. Unfortunately, perceptions of false dignity seem to weigh with us more. The remedy probably lies in a concerted effort whereby the top brass should take to the bike as well as the boss and the celluloid star.