People should get on to bicycles rather than buying cars
People should get onto cycles rather than buy more cars and clog our jammed roads,” advises Mathew Cherian, Manager of Titan’s International Supply Chain, who is a familiar figure on the old Airport Road in Bengaluru. “If Europe has done it for generations and even old people cycle there, why can’t we? If not for anything else, at least to keep healthy,” says the 43-year-old man who cycles from his house in Church Street to his office, which is nine km away, daily.
“In fact, the CEO of Tanishq CK Venkataraman has been cycling to work for the past 5 years, probably after seeing me,” says Mathew, who started cycling 15 years ago when people considered a cycle as the poor man’s mode of transport and looked down on cycling as infra dig.
Thankfully, now in Bangalore, with the educated masses realising the enormity of pollution due to the belching smoke from buses and auto rickshaws, a lot more people have taken to cycling, he feels.
Life is a cycle: For Mathew Cherian, the bicycle became an integral part of his life much before many others began to discover it in recent times
Mathew started on a Rs 3000 Hero Hawk, but now rides a Fire Fox, which costs Rs.20000. “I began to cycle just to keep fit and because I am a people person. Driving a car is monotonous, whereas if you cycle its interactive and you get to enjoy your city, and I enjoy incredible views which you don’t see in a car,” he reveals.
It’s not just cycling to work that he does, but all the chores of the day as well. “When I arrive in the office, yes I am sweaty especially in summer, but that is the only negative thing about it,” he says, adding, “In fact, when I go for my annual health check my results are of a man 15 years younger than me. Other colleagues much younger than me have so many health issues, so that is a positive thing that I feel others should emulate. I am also trim and fit with no pot belly unlike most other men of my age.”
Mathew has had strange problems with riding a cycle. “Security men in posh shopping arcades do not like me coming in and parking. I am almost always told to leave, or park on the road!” he says laughingly.
However now, riding his Fire Fox Target gives him an adrenaline rush. “People don’t bother you if you keep to the side of the road. In fact the police prefer cyclists as we hardly take any space on the road. I get people waving out to me and asking me questions when I stop at traffic junctions. You can see the envy in their eyes, they would love to cycle as well,” he says.
Mathew uses the car when they go out as family. His kids and family are quite down to earth with his cycling obsession. His wife Michelle is just concerned that he should be more careful on the road. Recently, Mathew was hit by a scooterist but escaped with minor injuries.
Mathew’s son Johaan who is all set to finish school has asked for a cycle rather than a motor bike and his ten-year-old daughter Nicole is very proud whenever he comes to Bishop Cottons Girls’ School on his bicycle to pick her up after class.