I have cycled exhaustively (no pun intended) in my school and college days (a 60km ride was the high point ). I haven’t ridden a cycle for the past 10 years or so. One fine July morning, I thought I would have to reignite my childhood passion.
Now was the difficult part of selecting a bike suitable for commuting. I did a bit of homework. I visited a lot of showrooms (and a bicycle forum) and contemplated all permutations and combinations: aluminium alloy rims, alloy frames, 6-18-21 gears, front and back shock absorbers, Indian and imported bikes, phew. But due to budget constraints (duh!), I had zeroed-in on Hercules ACT 103. Yeah the frame is steel (though rims are alloy), and it only has 6 speed Shimano gears and front shocks. But it fitted in my budget. The frame also made it easy for my wife to use it.
Finally, I got my bike Hercules ACT 103 yesterday. Got a nice-sounding bell and wire lock along with it. I was so desperate to ride the bike that I thought of egging on the mechanic to complete the fine-tuning part quickly. But the bike being a geared one (it is a 6-speeder), I wanted it to be perfectly tuned; hence, I waited patiently.
When the mechanic asked me to test it, I gleefully accepted the offer and went for a spin. Boy, how did I like the experience? Was it happiness, ecstasy, or bliss? I re-lived my childhood memories. It was down memory lanes, streets, and alleys of my hometown. I came back after the “test ride” smiling from ear to ear, and my wife who was waiting at the bike station was even more happy seeing her husband smile like an 8-year old.
After taking delivery, we went to the nearby Vinayak temple for the customary pooja. Then I rode back home (just 3km). Though it was the first time I rode a geared bike, I hardly missed any gears.
About the bike:
Hercules ACT 103: 6 gears, front shocks, alloy rims, unisex frame (my wife will also be using it occasionally). It retails at Rs.5350 here at Chennai. Gears are butter smooth (touch wood).
Funny part of the story:
I had put on my helmet when we went to the bike station. While riding back home, I asked my wife to wear the helmet. She felt it too heavy and promptly plonked it back on my head. So, I had to ride the bike wearing a motorbike helmet. Should I tell you that everyone’s eyes were on me rather than on my bike.
OK… here is a view of my bike: