Fancy cycle market booms as execs pedal to work

Kiruba Shankar, CEO of BusinessBlogging, prefers to ride a Hero road bike to go to his office. He also never misses his weekend leisure ride covering a 15 km stretch along the scenic East Cost Road. “Earlier, when my office was in Tidel Park, I used to cycle to work everyday from home which was 11 kms away.” People like Shankar are an emerging tribe of executives whoa re cycling to word and are into leisure or more strenuous mountain biking. “People cycling to work is a common abroad. It is a great mode of transport, not only for short distances, but good for health too”, says Girish Kapur, president, All India Cycle Manufacturers Association.  Manufacturers are betting big on the fancy bike sefment (bikes for kids, ladies, mountain) to spur sales.

As per industry estimates, the segment is growing at 20% annually compared to roadsters where the growth is almost stagnant. “White collared workers taking the cycle to work is picking up in the metros,: says GD Kapur, President, Marketing Hero Cycles. The shift to the cycle can be attributed to shock absorbers, multi-gear controls and front and rear suspension. All this has ensured that cycling is the in thing with youngsters. Also, many distributors and retailers are also stocking imported vehicles such as Binachi and Conmondale with price starting from Rs 15,000.

“IT professionals especially those living in Bangalore or Pune are early adopters and are cycling to work. The weather is also conducive in such locations,:” says D Raghuram, President TI cycles.

Amritanshu Prasad, a mathematician, cycles to his office in Taramani everyday froom home which is located about 3 km away. He says convenience and fitness prompted him to take to biking. “A small group of cycling enthusiasts is emerging in metros. . Moreover, cycling helps you stay fit, save money and help the environment.”

On their part, manufacturers like Tube Investments (TI) are wooing youngsters to adopt to bikes in a big way by holding ‘cycleathon’ and ‘bikeathon’. in Chennai, the company is promoting leisure biking along ECR by providing breakfast and ambulance facilities. “These rides are held every week and around 80 – 100  people participate in the rally. “People mostly come through online social networks”, says Raghuram. The company has also tied up with nearly 75 resorts across India where its bicycles are available on rent.

Similarly, Atlas cycles holds an annual  cycle rally in Delhi every winter. “People from all age groups particiapte in this rally. Moreover, children are also getting aware that cycling results in less pollution,” says Gautam Kapur, jint President, Atlast Cycles.

But if cycling were to really take off on Indian roads, governmental and other concerned agencies have to develop separate cycle paths  as done abroad. “Right now, it is extremely difficult for cyclists in metros because of non availability of cycle paths” says Kapur of All India Cycles Manufacturers Association. He adds such paths will help resolve traffic congestion in the city.

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