Touring with a bicycle comes with its own baggage. Quite literally. I have two pannier bags and a backpack strung up to the carrier at the rear of my bicycle. Collectively, with three liters of water and bagful of fruit, it would weigh around 25 kgs. My bicycle itself weighs around 18kgs and I weigh close to 54 kgs.
Adding all that up, we are a unit of 97 kgs.
The sight of the bicycle when fully loaded up is quite different from when it is not.
On first look, it almost seems impossible to an onlooker that a bicycle could support so much weight and bulge on the sides.
Often while bicycling through rural parts of Thailand, I would be greeted with curious stares from perplexed village folk. They would seem to be looking too closely at the bicycle as if trying to spot an engine or a motor that’s fuelling the loaded up beast of a bicycle I fondly call Mowgli.
When I would stop at a roadside shop to eat, they would look at my lean body frame and wonder how I am even biking this thing onward. I would be tendered sympathy and encouragement in equal measure by locals.
I wondered why it seemed so impossible to all the people I met with.
Then, I took a good look around to see all the other vehicles on the road.
Ah, they all had a big fuel tank!
My bicycle doesn’t !
And that’s where lay the difference.
I moved on to embrace the approaching breeze on the highway.
Curiously I asked my bicycle,
‘Mowgli, I just realized why people stare at us with such wonder !’
‘Really? What do you think the reason is?’
‘Because we don’t have a fuel tank !’
‘Ah, that’s not true’ dismissed Mowgli.
‘What do you mean?’
‘We definitely have a fuel tank!’
‘Really? Where is it?’
‘The fuel tank is right there inside you.
In you mind.
It has always been there.
And each new adventure, each new experience, fuels us up even more.
No wonder we don’t have to stop to refuel like other vehicles. In fact we have to keep riding to refuel!’
‘That’s wise of you my bicycle! But if there was always fuel in my mind, why did I not start a journey earlier?’
‘Oh ! Simple.
Because you did not have an ignition to kindle the fuel inside you.’
‘And what’s that ignition Mowgli?’
‘My humble self, your bicycle, isn’t it so?’
And I wondered,
Yes! This humble bicycle has ignited my fuel to head on a wonderful journey of deep discovery,
of worlds inside and outside.
Singing to the soothing breeze, our collective unit of fuel and ignition, with all our luggage and love,
Head on in search of newer lands
Of friends to be.