In pics: A bicycle that's lasted 70 years and four generations of a Kerala family

It was in 1950 that Marshal A Pereira got the SUN branded bicycle as a gift.
Shirly Paul
Shirly Paul
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Except for the headlights that once got stolen and the tyres that were replaced, the SUN bicycle remains the same, 70 years after it came to the family.

It was in 1950 that Marshal A Pereira got the bicycle as a gift from his Merchant Navy friend John. Marshal was then senior secretary at the Kannan Devan Hills Tea Company in Munnar. It was a prestigious gift, a SUN branded bicycle, made in the Carlton factory in England.

Like a family heirloom, the bicycle was handed down to three generations after Marshal Pereira. All three of his children – Alexander Shortpool, Shirly Paul and Cyril Pereira – used it. Their children used it after them. And now the fourth generation – Marshal's great grandchildren  – are using it.

John J Paul, who works with a software company in Thiruvananthapuram, posted a series of photos of his family’s tryst with the SUN on June 3, World Bicycle Day. John is the elder son of Shirly Paul, the second of Marshal’s children.

“My grandfather used that bicycle every evening to go to the Kannan Devan club and play tennis. His children – my uncles and mother – used it too. Later when my uncles went away for work, it remained in Munnar and they used it whenever they came to visit. My mother’s elder brother Alexander Shortpool went to Bengaluru. His son Anil Aldrin Alexander was a hockey player and the Indian team captain in 1999. My mother's other brother Cyril had moved to Mattupetty,” John says.

In 1981, the family moved to Thiruvananthapuram and the bicycle moved with them. Shirly’s kids George and John began using it, riding it to their school and college as they grew up. “Now, my brother’s children use it. It’s never given trouble all these decades, never got rusted. Only the lights got stolen long ago at the Kannan Devan club. And we have replaced the tyres a few times,” John adds.

Here are the photos that John posted:

Marshal Pereira in the 1950s with a child on the bicycle

Cyril (left) and John (right) on the bicycle

Fourth generation riders of the bicycle with the family

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