Archive for May, 2012

Bicycle and Me

I grew up with bicycles in Sri Lanka. I had an Indian made Hero Bicycle. That was probably the cheapest make available in Sri Lanka at that time. It cost about one-third the price of the Japanese made Asia bicycle. My Hero was my personal vehicle until I moved to Kandy for my Engineering studies. Later on I moved to Reno as a graduate student. During this time I got a bicycle for free from one of my friends. I rode it for a few months, but somebody has stolen that bicycle from my apartment. Four years ago, I bought a Schwinn bicycle. I still use it for work commute or recreation ride.

The first bicycle to our home was an English-made Raleigh bicycle. My father bought this bicycle in the 1960s and rode it for a few years until he bought a car. I don’t remember him using his bicycle as the primary vehicle. By the time I grew up and started remember the events; he had a Hillman car and a Yamaha 125 Motor cycle. The Raleigh bicycle was passed on to my elder brother. He reconditioned the bicycle and used it as his primary transportation mode until he left home for his medical studies. I don’t remember what happened to this bicycle after he left home.

Then my parents bought a bicycle for me when I was about to start grade 6 at school. I got this bicycle as a present for passing the Hartley College entrance exam. Until that time I took bus to school and walked to my tuition classes and other needs. This bicycle does not have gear. That was same for most other bicycles in Sri Lanka at that time. My cousin had a 3 gear bicycle. That was the only bicycle that had gears as far as I remember.

A year after I got my bicycle, my parents bought a bicycle for my younger brother. It was a Japanese made Lumala bicycle. This was his primary vehicle until he moved to Colombo for his Engineering studies. I don’t know what happened to this bicycle after he left for Colombo.

The last time, I saw my bicycle, was when I visited to my home town in 2004. My uncle was using that bicycle. It was rusty but still served the purpose. I don’t know whether it is still in use or scrapped for metal.

May is the national bicycle month.

Bike-to-Work Week

It is that time of the year. Yes! May 14-18, 2012 is the bike-to-work week. Organizations in Carson City compete with each other on the number of trips, miles, and percent participation of their employees’ bicycle rides. NDOT was the winner for the last two years in trips and miles categories. I could not take part in this competition during the last three years as I lived about 43 miles from my NDOT office until end of May 2011. Bike to work was not an option at all. I am in this year. Now, I live only 2.5 miles from my office.

I have an interesting memory to share with you all. I bought a bicycle in March 2008 and started riding it along Pyramid Highway. I wanted to re-build my bicycling skills so that I can ride my bicycle to work during the bike-to-work week. It looks silly, but it is not. My, then, workplace was 13 miles away. You guess!!! I have to ride 26 miles a day. Also Reno-Sparks is not a flat terrain area. I have to climb up and go down on the slopes.

It was the bike to work week of 2008 and I started riding the bicycle to work. I wore my regular work attire. I had a side picket on my pants and I kept my keys there. I think, on the last day, while riding the bicycle, I lost my keys. After I came home only I realized it. I was so tired and not in a mood to go and search. I had a house key hidden outside in the backyard. I was able to get into the house. But I could not find the spare key of my vehicle. On the next day, I was supposed to go to Dr Fernandez and Queency acca’s house for dinner. I called them and let them know my plight. They graciously offered their car temporarily until I find the spare key of my car.

On the next day I got a call from Washoe County Library. They said that my keys are with them. I didn’t take much time to figure it out. I was a member of the library and I had the library tag with my keys. Some good Samaritans found the keys on the roadside. They noticed the library tag and handed the keys over to the library. They library folks scanned the tag found my phone number. This is one of the instances I feel lucky in my life. I went to the library, got the keys, and then returned Dr. Fernandez’s car. I continued bicycling to work 2-3 times a week until the end of the summer.

Check these pictures out. Portland people also celebrate the bike to work week in an interesting way. You won’t be bored. I guarantee it.