A Chennai Bicycle Ride

Coming from America, I initially resisted riding a two wheeler in traffic crazy Chennai. Buta Chennai bicycle ride, Dr. Christopher Taylor Barry, #drbarryindia, Hercules bicycle, Anna Nagar, Chennai politeness after 7 months in India (and some practice in Jaipur for a while), I screwed up the courage to buy a “Hercules” (made in Chennai) street bicycle to ride from my flat in West Mambalam to work in Anna Nagar. It’s a great ride, particularly when the traffic isn’t so bad, taking 20 minutes under ideal circumstances (about 7 kilometers).

From Brindavan Street in West Mambalam, I head east into T Nagar and take Usman Road north. There is a flyover at Kodumbakkam High Road. I fear the flyovers. Too many stories of people flying off the flyovers for one reason or another. Not good. Interestingly, I have no problems with the underpasses.a Chennai bicycle ride, Dr. Christopher Taylor Barry, #drbarryindia, Hercules bicycle, Anna Nagar, Chennai politeness Maybe the thought of getting squished against a wall is more palatable than flying off a flyover.

So, for now, I’m going under the flyover. Sometimes crossing the street takes some time. Occasionally, and somewhat surprisingly, a driver will slow down to let me cross. So nice.

Then up to Loyola College hugging her around Mahalingam to Tank Bund to Nelson Manickam Road. Ampa Skywalk Mall leads to Anna Arch Road, the gateway to Annaa Chennai bicycle ride, Dr. Christopher Taylor Barry, #drbarryindia, Hercules bicycle, Anna Nagar, Chennai politeness Nagar. This is the most “exciting” part of the ride because it involves getting on a major thoroughfare (Poonamalle High Road or Route 114) for a brief period and merging into Anna Arch.

I’m already learning some tricks to stay safe on a bicycle in Chennai traffic, like “skipping” (one foot skipping on the ground, the other foot pedaling), ringing my bell and always being careful of the person in front of me (you never know when they will randomly stop). My worst fear is getting sideswiped on the right from behind. The two wheelers and autos can be soooo intimate and the buses can be intimidating and annoying.

It helps that, in the city, no one is ever going so fast as to make cycling prohibitively dangerous. Maybe a few broken bones here and there, but—oddly—I don’t fear for my life (most of the time…I have to be always careful…cycling in Chennai really makes you feel alive). And since I’m in India, if I die I die, it’s fate isn’t it?

Once in Anna Nagar, it’s nice to enjoy this upscale neighborhood. Kilpauk is close by and worth a visit.

There is an interesting politeness and humanity in the chaos of Chennai traffic. I haven’t a Chennai bicycle ride, Dr. Christopher Taylor Barry, #drbarryindia, Hercules bicycle, Anna Nagar, Chennai politenessseen any “real” road rage here, despite being in situations that if happened in the US I’d be fearing for my personal safety. There are unwritten rules of courtesy even though few follow all the traffic rules. Everyone is trying to get somewhere and that is respected by all. And the roads of Chennai carry on with their crazy politeness.

 

About Chris Barry

I am a transplant surgeon, researcher, entrepreneur, and champion of organ donation awareness. I am particularly interested in liver cancer genomics, fatty liver disease, and saving lives through transplant and organ donation awareness.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply