Pedaling back to the ‘golden past’: High fares encourage bicycle comeback
By Daud Khattak
PESHAWAR: The fourth time increase in fuel prices in a short span of less than two months and subsequent increase in fares have forced many to use bicycles – the outmoded but cost-free means of transportation.
The high demand for this human-powered vehicle is obvious from the fact that its prices have registered an average increase of Rs 700 over the past one week.
The reason is the rising demand, said Mohammad Amin, a resident of Dir Colony. Running a tailor shop in Saddar Bazaar, Amin said: “I had to pay one-side fare of Rs 6 to reach my shop. However, when the transporters increased the fare to Rs 9, I decided to purchase a bicycle.”
Talking to Daily Times at the Cantonment Board’s second-hand cycle stand, Amin said he purchased a China-made bike for Rs 2,800. Just a week back, the same bicycle was available for Rs 2,200, he added.
New bicycles are selling at Karkhano Market and Khyber Bazaar, while Sunday and Friday fairs are also held at Qayyum Stadium, Bacha Khan Chowk and Bara, which are frequented by people from different areas.
Fidaus, a Charsadda resident, pedaled all the way to the Sunday Bazaar at Bacha Khan Chowk to save money. “I’m here to purchase a new bicycle because I can’t afford to pay Rs 9 per fare for one side,” he said.
He said it took him two hours to reach Peshawar from Charsadda. “I have saved Rs 80 which would have gone down the drain if I had traveled by public transport,” said a jubilant Firdaus.
The 19th century invention is considered the most efficient self-powered means of transportation in villages. According to international survey reports, around one billion people across the globe are using bicycles.
First introduced in Mannheim, Germany, in 1817 and then in Paris in 1818, bicycles are also used for sport purposes, adult fitness and courier service. According to a research, a man can ride a bicycle at the speed of 20 kilometers per hour by using as much energy as he requires to walk.
Sanobar, a cycle mechanic, said that a few days ago he had decided to wind up his business because the number of bicycle users had shrunk. “However, I changed my mind due to an increase in the number of visitors.
Sanobar said he charged Rs 10 for a puncture besides selling tyres and tubes to earn two-time meal for his family.
Interestingly, people are reverting to the old means in this modern era since the coming into power of the incumbent government.
Earlier, lanterns and candles were seen selling like hot cakes followed by hand-fans due to the electricity power load shedding.