Indian Cyclists Network

Last year, I cycled to a mall in the western suburbs ("name withheld on request"... ha ha!)... and the vigilant watchdog (read: security guy) would not let my cycle into the parking lot... and guess what? he wanted me to leave it locked on the busy road outside, and was not willing to take any responsibility for its safety... So I told him that I'd like to speak to his security chief on his walkie-talkie, but he said I'd have to go inside and talk to him... leaving my bike locked outside, of course... :-S

Now, I am, by nature, short-tempered... and, under normal circumstances, I would have lost it... big-time... But... mere jawaani ke dinon ki ek kahaavat hai, shaayad aapne sunaa hogaa: "Don't get mad, get even" :-)

So I made the security guy an "offer he could not refuse"... either you call your Security Chief now, or I'll call all my cycling friends here and we'll all stand with our bikes "outside", right in front of your "In" and "Out" gates... then try explaining to your security chief and the mall management how your arrogance and high-handedness has resulted in your customers being stranded either outside or confined inside... :-)

I pulled out my cellphone... and the security guy immediately got on the walkie with his chief... :-) unfortunately, the SC turned out to be another stone wall... so I asked for the Mall Manager, making the same "offer he could not refuse"...

The manager turned out to be a reasonable guy... and when I told him that they would need to change their parking rules, he told me there was no rule - written or unwritten - about cycles not being allowed to be parked in the mall's parking lot... I was allowed to pay and park in their two-wheeler parking area...
... and we all lived happily ever after! :-)

So nett-nett, it turns out the watchdog was just lying after all... Well, let "parking" dogs lie, I say...

Ride safe. Have fun. :-)

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Comment by Manoj Pawar on October 10, 2010 at 11:25am
This great anil. I have face same situation in In-orbit mall vashi. 1 security guard not allowing me to in but i saw that he is quit young and may be dont know about rule for it so descided to turn another security gurd who lokks quit mature and old surrounded by 4to 5 his coligue. When i approch to him I gave him a nice smile he just look at me with helmet gloves and i dont know what he was think he immidiately allow to go. Your posts is good lesson for us.
Comment by Pushpender Chaudhary on July 12, 2010 at 2:06pm
its a good discussion on biking & problem faced by biker.
Every problem has its solution.
Comment by Zealot@gear bike shop on July 12, 2010 at 9:05am
This also happened to me at famous studios, where i was not allowed in with the bike. when i made a noise the security head came out and asked to park the bike outside. i made a bigger noise :-) and today i am saluted and given priority parking. - Rahul
Comment by Zealot@gear bike shop on July 12, 2010 at 9:02am
hi anil
i too have faced the same issue, in office complexes - Kamala Mills For instance.
its good to know that you got parking. in my opinion the Mall Management is not the real problem. they are not even aware of the situation, having never imagined that a "shopper" would come on cycle. The watchman on the other hand is just trying to show hi hi-handedness, as he has the very little power anyways.
The Security officers [his superior] will try the same stunt.
we have to reach out the mall management, and let them know of the growing number of cyclists who will be visiting their premises, either to shop for sports gear or just for a coffee!
Comment by Shivanshu Baweja on July 12, 2010 at 12:36am
Hummm.... I agree with all of you but look for different prospective of society also. When wearing a Nike t-shirt, Puma shoes and having Trek cycle with you do really believe people look to you with disrespect.
I discussed matter with one of my good friend and we realized that cycling is not matter of honor or disrespect. It's matter of money, availability and ease. As a proof now a day’s people travel more in Metro Rail then their own car in Delhi.
We also discussed how we can make possible cycling in main stream. One of good idea is having a good rental model of cycle. Another idea is to force corporate to promote cycling for their employees. Another is Promotion of cycle tour among youth.
This weekend I will meet few professional cyclist and Govt officers from sports department and will discuss the matter. I will also try to talk with some mall managers too to promote cycling and provide special privileges for customers who cycles. Let see how people react for this ( Hope for the best .. Ready for worst….  )
I will be more than happy if I can do anything for making cycling popular. Trust me now time is changing.
Comment by Anil Uchil on July 11, 2010 at 9:58pm
Very insightful, Gaurav... I like the way you've gone into the psychology of the issue... and I would tend to agree with the rationale you've presented... except for one thing... :-)

Perhaps you are right, Gaurav... maybe it does remind the lower economic strata of their own sad plight... but even if that is so, or if it's just a case of reverse snobbery, what/who gives them the right to show disrespect... after all, a taxi driver cant be justified in spiting/disrespecting the owner of a Mercedes-Benz, simply cos he feels he is being mocked by the guy who's riding a "higher-class" vehicle, right? :-)

Well, either way, my way of looking at it is simply this: "look, dude, you may be security-guard/chai-wala or a scion in a swanky set of wheels... doesn't matter to me... but as a cyclist, I expect you to extend me the same basic respect/courtesy as everyone, regardless of how you percieve my bike... and if you don't, well then, heaven help you!" :-)

Simple funda hai... and it works for me... :-)

Ride safe. Have fun. :-)
Comment by vaishali gadgil on July 10, 2010 at 7:27am
You hit the nail on the spot, gaurav.
Comment by Gaurav Sharma on July 10, 2010 at 1:42am
Main reasons of cyclist not getting respect in India are socio-economic and cultural. Cycle in India is a symbol of 'poverty' and 'menial work' and 'hardship'. And our society, being inherently hierarchical respects only those who are 'up there' , those who can afford luxury and live comfortably. We respect 'babus' and those who have 'naukar chakar'. We respect managers not workers. For god sake, we even have a caste of hose who clean garbage or make shoes and they are at bottom of existential scale.

I have traveled extensively in Europe and in counties like Germany and Netherlands, cyclists are held in high esteem. On roads cyclists are given passage by cars and other vehicles. In most town of Germany, cyclists have a separate lane running parallel o main road. Cycling is a culture there. But then Europe is a very different place , even different than US. US is a 'very car' society. In India, where millions of people struggle to make both ends meet, where traveling on roads is an ordeal, who would care for someone riding a rather expensive cycle just for a hobby !

In fact my experience is that most "not economically well to do" people would show more disrespect to a cyclist because subconsciously they see a middle class guy on cycle as mocking their status in society. So a security guard in your building or shopping mall is not amused by you riding a cycle. It reminds him of his own misery.
Comment by Shivanshu Baweja on July 7, 2010 at 6:09pm
hummm... i don't agree with this .... When you have some special sort of cycle then people know you are special guy .... they stop you ask about hobby .... you get smiles when passing on roads ... i am sure next time you will also get the same response ... i never went to mall kind of place on cycle ... now i will defiantly try it will share my experience ... :)
Comment by vaishali gadgil on July 7, 2010 at 1:58pm
Anil, good post. I agree with Divya, a cyclist does not get noticed and gets no respect. Ironically its a poor mans vehicle! our so called responsible citizens will not think twice to knock you off the road in their quest to overtake every moving thing on the roads. Honking is another irritating habit. I say these civic etiquettes have to be taught somewhere...or they should be made to cycle on the roads. Btw, these days i just smile back. Nothing seems to overshadow the sheer pleasure of being on two wheels and taking the wind in your face.
happy riding.

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