Monday, 10 November 2014

Spindles in India

Most things in India can be repaired cost effectively. The streets of Poona are lined with traders who will fix a shoe, a ceiling fan, food processor, motor scooter or bicycle. Walking home from lunch one day I happened upon Spindles and Sprockets in a parallel universe. They seemed content with their small roadside
workshop, which like ours, specialised in minor repairs like punctures and dodgy brakes.
Despite the massive growth in car ownership, the disappearance of bullock and cart, the highest number of scooters and motorcycles in any Indian city and a vast number of three-wheeled ‘tuk-tuk’ rickshaws – some people do still cycle in Poona. Cycling is the practical transport for the poorest.
It’s not uncommon to see a bicycle laden with so much cargo that the person peddling cannot be seen from behind. Most of the bicycles in India are the heavy single speed Hero or Hurcules complete with mattress saddle and rod brakes.
There are now importers of Far Eastern brands such as Giant setting up showroom type shops as the interest in ‘sports’ cycling increases. Many people recognise that 21st century bikes could offer part of a much-needed solution to the problems of congestion and air pollution. 
Most young motorcyclists wear a mask over their nose and mouth when crossing the busy parts of town.  In the near future expect to see India’s trend-setting, hipster middle classes on lightweight bikes with slim tyres and many gears; even perhaps in Lycra!

Spindles in India 'Spindia'

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