Sainath Cycle Mart

by Ashish

In the ugly and overdeveloped vicinity that is Good Luck Chowk, there still is a little old world shop that resembles the dying, but defiant Puneri spirit. An eyesore to every greedy developer there is in Pune (and does Pune have any other kind of developer?), it is a little shop that looks exactly the same as it did nearly two decades ago, when I learnt to cycle for the first time.

Note to self: stop saying stuff like “two decades ago”. Doesn’t help matters, and aids in Reader Snigger Generation.

So. Sainath Cycle Mart is the name of the place, or some such combination of words. Sainath is in there for sure. Right next to Archies, this dingy little shops still has pale blue doors, old, dusty, sooty black walls and ancient cycle parts haning from the entrance by way of advertising. Three or four people still potter around in blue overalls, mending and repairing cycles, old and new.

I used to rent cycles from there, and then ride them all over town. Four bucks an hour, if I remember correctly. Old, black and huge, these cycles would be nothing more than a black frame, simple old fashioned handles and a ricketyseat. It didn’t have a single gear, let alone 18. No shiny reflectors at the back and no grips on the pedals. But get atop one, and ride with the breeze on your face. Down an empty Bhandarkar Road.

Gather speed, take your hands off the handles and go “Wheeeeeee!”


God bless good ol’ Sainath Cycle Mart.