A man and his bicycle: Riding since 1973
The German Physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
For Sheik Abdool Ramzan, a former Tractor Operator at Enmore Sugar Estate, a Rudge bicycle he bought in July 1973 has been keeping him moving, playing a significant role in his daily life.
On February 14, 1972, at the age of 16, Ramzan became employed at the Guyana Sugar Corporation, a job he held until retirement in 2016.
Throughout those 44 years of unbroken service to the sugar industry, the bicycle was a constant companion, taking him to and from work, day and night and in sun and rain, dust and mud.
“It never let me down one day. This is what used to carry me to work every day, and now that I’m a pensioner I’m still using it to move around. I now take my grandson to and from school, so I can say that I get the full worth out of it,” Ramzan told News Room.
Ramzan, a father of two, bought the bicycle for 16 Guyana dollars, and with meticulous care and attention, it is in immaculate condition to this day.
“Most of the parts on today are the original parts that the bicycle was bought with. I had to do some changes with things like the cable, hub and balls retainer by using substitutes, but the bicycle still riding like new to this day- no noise, no trouble with it,” Ramzan explained.
Apart from journeying to work and running errands in the community of Enmore, Ramzan said decades ago, when there were not so many vehicles on the roadways, he would ride to Georgetown to secure parts at Crescent Cycle Store.
On occasions, in the company of friends, “we would ride as far as the ‘black water trench’ in Cane Grove just for fun.”
“In those days to have a bicycle was a big thing, so we as friends used to always try our best to have our bicycle in good condition. Nowadays you don’t much bicycles like these, but I can tell you these types are very strong than those coming now,” Ramzan said.
The proud bicycle owner said on many occasions he was approached by persons who offered to buy his prized possession, and every time his answer had been a resounding ‘no.’
“I would never sell it because this bicycle is part of me. It’s a very faithful bicycle. It took me to work every day and helped me to provide for my family, so I won’t give up for anything. No amount of money would make me give it up,” he related.
World Bicycle Day
The United Nations has designated June 3, 2018, as the inaugural World Bicycle Day.
Why celebrate the bicycle?
- The bicycle is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation
- The bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, healthcare and sport
- The synergy between the bicycle and the user fosters creativity and social engagement and gives the user an immediate awareness of the local environment
- The bicycle is a symbol of sustainable transportation and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.
World Bicycle Day:
- Encourages Member States to devote particular attention to the bicycle in cross-cutting development strategies and to include the bicycle in international, regional, national and subnational development policies and programmes;
- Encourages Member States to improve road safety and integrate it into sustainable mobility and transport infrastructure planning and design, in particular through policies and measures to actively protect and promote pedestrian safety and cycling mobility, with a view to broader health outcomes, particularly the prevention of injuries and non-communicable diseases;
- Encourages stakeholders to emphasise and advance the use of the bicycle as a means of fostering sustainable development, strengthening education, including physical education, for children and young people, promoting health, preventing disease, promoting tolerance, mutual understanding and respect and facilitating social inclusion and a culture of peace;
- Encourages Member States to adopt best practices and means to promote the bicycle among all members of society, and in this regard welcomes initiatives to organise bicycle rides at the national and local levels as a means of strengthening physical and mental health and well-being and developing a culture of cycling in society.