23 August 2010

Bicycle, Bhuj

A typical Indian pushbike. I actually rode one of these (and survived) at Bharatpur. This was parked in an alley in Bhuj, north-western Gujarat.

[3 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 32 mm, ISO 400, 1/25 at f8]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Zhoen said...

Doesn't look too much different from my bike as a kid, except my tires were wider, and I'd painted it purple.

pohanginapete said...

I'm surprised you survived to adulthood, Zhoen.

Paul said...

A bicycle, even more than the quintessential ‘freedom machine,’ i.e., the Harley Davidson motorcycle, sometimes can evoke an even greater spirit of freedom. No one knows this better than a lot of young boys, and perhaps girls as well, (although I don’t have any experience knowing how young girls think about their two-wheelers). With my grand two-wheeler I could go almost anywhere; in fact I did once -- when at age ten I ‘drove’ my home-made bike with a back-peddle rear brake that never worked, almost seventy miles in a single day to my grandparent‘s farm.

And even though that was such a long time ago, sometimes I still day-dream of owning the perfect two-wheeler, which would be able to convey me, not just seventy miles to a relative’s farm, but rather across the globe. Just two tires (solid filled, probably made of Kevlar) with massive spokes, a triple thick chain that would never break, over-built brakes, just the most basic three gears and ratios, a comfortable seat, and some storage racks. Or perhaps it would be just an ordinary, somewhat rusted bike pieced together like the very first one I owned (having brakes that work this time!), endowed with just as much ‘spirit of freedom.’

There really are some things in life that money just can’t buy -- if not a “typical Indian pushbike...in an alley in Bhuj, north-western Gujarat,” then at least the dreams of where one just like it can take you.

Interesting photo.

pohanginapete said...

Paul, thanks for those thoughts. In India I met several people who'd been travelling by bike for long periods, including a Scottish couple who'd cycled from the UK through places like Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. When I met them they'd been travelling for a couple of years; they're still going now, three years later, in SE Asia. I felt torn between envy for their freedom and relief I wasn't burdened with a bike. I suspect looking after the bike eventually becomes second nature and the freedom it confers takes over. But how might it ever be possible to return and stay in one place after time like that?