Two Wheeling

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When we arrived in Pune in late December from Delhi among the first things we noticed were women on two wheelers. In Delhi it was a rare sight to see a woman driving. But in Pune, the streets are full of women driving two wheelers, or sari clad women riding pillion.

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Of course there are also men—old men on older scooters and young men on newer bikes designed specifically for men inclined to experience and project their identities through bright-colored and shapely bikes.

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Once I owned a motorcycle. A Kawasaki 175. And riding it was supposed to be fun. I had school friends whose lives were organized around their dirt bikes. They spent a lot of time climbing and descending brush-covered hillsides in California. For a brief moment in my life I thought dirt biking might be for me.

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If we were residents of Pune we would probably end up with a two wheeler. We’d have bicycles for sure, to do most of the errands. But the roads are too treacherous for extended bike travel—even though the layout of the city is ideal for cycling.

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We’d probably have a compact car, too, though it would most likely be used for longer trips. Most cars are simply too big to navigate here and driving appears to be no fun anyway. Despite the fact that I live on a New England farm one of my ideals would be to live in the kind of place where we would no longer depend upon the automobile.

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