Renting a bicycle because unable to own a bicycle


Bicycle was the common and very popular means of transport in India during 1960s and before. See the pictures above as bicycle is being used for different purposes.

It was late 1961 when me and my friends joined their first job with ONGC in DehraDun. We were all fresh graduates from the university, having no money with us. Parents were already burdened by paying the cost of education in the university.
Not all the towns have a suitable public transport system to take individuals from point to point. DehraDun was one of the town with a poor public transport system, hence there was no option except to arrange some kind of your own means of commuting to the office. Bicycle was the only affordable and cheapest and most commonly means of commuting. Owning bicycle was also difficult to buy a it with an initial cost of Rs.120/- out of the salary of Rs.325/- after meeting the expenses for accommodation , water and electricity and other living expenses. The bank or the employer will not provide the loan to buy our means of transport like now ilavle to buy a car.,

Most of my colleagues rented the bicycles for commuting to office. I was living in Karanpur very near to the crossing of Survey of India, East Canal Road, Karanpur Road and Raipur Road; Survey of India crossing (सर्वे ऑफ़ इंडिया चौराहा ) was, perhaps still is a prime location. There, Hans Raj a Bicycle shop for selling old and new bicycles, giving bicycles on rent, repairing the bicycles ( most common repair was the repair of punctures ; and the broken chain ); most of us were the customer of Hans Raj. Once, some one asked that why should pay Rs.12/- per month the rent of the bicycle- total cost of the new bicycle paid  by way of rent in ten months. yes, very true but who had the total amount of Rs.120/- to be paid all at a time; Even the interest rate in the market or with Hans Raj for borrowing Rs.120/- was Rs. 12/- per month.; it was a difficult situation for the beginners at that time, not believable now when every body is having a decent car.

I had my own bicycle which was shared among three of us, myself and two of my younger brothers. Bicycle was used extensively not only for commuting the office by me but my brothers for several other purposes. I used the bicycle up to 1970 when I got my first Lambretta Scooter with the loan from ONGC and on priority basis from Government quota as the scooter was not freely available in the market. Even with booking with Government quota, it tookme  more than a year to get it. It was a luxury.

There are so many people who do not have minimum and initial investment resources / seeding money to start even a very small business of their own. Only the rich with resources take advantage of their helplessness  and become richer. Rickshaw pullers pay heavy rent to hire a rickshaw for their daily earning ;  they almost pay the cost of the rickshaw for hiring it just within a year.


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