A video in WhatsApp today included a still of a boy monkey pedaling. I was transported instantly to my childhood years, to when I was about 10 years old.

My father wanted to buy me a bicycle, but as it was an expensive item, he wanted me to learn on a rented bike, and after I had done all the initial crashing and trashing, he meant to get me a new bike.

So we would walk from Osborne Layout where we lived in Bangalore, towards Lavanya Talkies, cross the road, and rent a cycle from Sivanchetty Garden. We would then put it in an auto rickshaw and take it all the way to the park or grounds or whatever it was near Bangalore East Station, opposite the police station. We did this a few times till my father managed to teach me to cycle. It would be at least a couple of years before he bought me my first bike. You can read about that here (Biking in Bangalore).

In the meantime I borrowed the bikes of ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ or annans and akkas, or any one at all after church or if they came to visit us. Oh dear, looking back, I wonder if I was a nuisance. I only rode around the block a couple of times. I mean, riding a bicycle is almost a human right, isn’t it?

The ladies’ bikes were ideal, but the men’s ones with the crossbar did not deter kids like me. We monkey pedaled. Do kids still do that? Many of the bikes today seem to have lower crossbars or slanting ones, and this may not allow for money pedaling.

Funny how a single photo can bring back so many memories. The Internet does not have many, but I found another monkey-pedaling photo. Cool!