January 3, 2011 by Rohan Kini
2010 was an awesome year for bicycling in India.
Bicycling till 2009 was heady mostly cause of its novelty. Newspaper articles and cycling events are no longer giggly and exciting. The rides are longer and exude a matureness that speaks of sustenance.
Bangalore, considered the bicycling capital of India, has been at the forefront spearheading a ton of riding, racing and cyclotourism.
Randonneuring being the latest addiction.
There has also been growth on all fronts – businesses dealing with all aspects of bicycling have experienced growth, communities are bustling with activity, riding has moved to the next level and racing has a firm foothold.
While we don’t have critical mass for a bicycling Utopia yet, its heartening to know that we are definitely getting there.
2008/2009 saw the introduction of good bicycles and the re-introduction of something simple but awesome.
2010 saw a lot of riding and the launch of cyclotourism.
2011 is going to be the year of racing. And we expect it to spin the cycling industry to giddying heights.
To give you an idea of the racing that we had in 2010 (not in any specific order)
- Bangalore Bicycle Championships
- Pune Bicycle Championships
- Hyberabad Cycling championships
- MTB Himachal
- Pune Mumbai Race
- Ultra BCB
- Common Wealth Games
- Chandigarh Cyclothon
- Tour De Delhi
- Pune Baramati Race
- Bangalore Duathon
- Times Green Championship Race
- BSA Hercules Duathlon 2010
- Chennai Cyclothon
- Enduro 3
(and more that we have missed out on)
There has been a healthy rise in the number of groups working hand-in-hand with the government with the hope of better amenities and infrastructure for bicyclists. The good news is that local governing bodies are always receptive to making their localities bicycle friendly. As a biker, all you need to do is reach out and ensure that you will pitch in.
Pune, Chandigarh, Delhi and Bangalore are the places to watch out for.
Dahon and Gary Fisher were the only notable brands to enter the already crowded market (thank goodness).
Last year has also seen a surge in folks getting onto hybrid bicycles. A good indication that a lot of urban bicycling is happening. One of the best ways to fix our congested metros.
While all the brands are busy selling and raking in the moolah, it would be fantastic if they could all help build and figure out the market. After sales is usually a nightmare and the availability of spares/accessories leave a lot to be desired.
A lackluster year in terms of how bike shops on average have progressed.
None have really taken the plunge in making a huge difference in how bicycling as a business is taken forward. None of the bikes stores that we know of are really working on helping change the perception and building the market. In terms of skills, tools and technicality most bikes stores are at status quo.
What can we do for 2011
A perception change in the mind of an Indian would be a big win for bicycling. Although bicycling is a lot more ‘accepted’ at the moment, it still requires a lot more visual ubiquity for a tipping point.
Getting a lot more cyclists on the road, enabling bikers to share their awesome experience, critical mass rides, bike commutes, corporate workshops, community building, newspaper writeup’s – all these will definitely contribute in getting us there.
What are we doing for 2011
Couple of broad themes that we would like to work on this year
- Commute to Work
- Community and biking culture
- Upgrade the bike store
- Get more Women cycling
Feel free to ping us if you think you would like to help us crack this.
Cyclotourism in India
A fantastic 2011 to all of you. Thank you for following and cheering us thru 2010.
~The BOTS team
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