Big surge in demand forbicycles in Bengaluru
Cycle repair shops also see rise in customers.
The humble cycle has become increasingly popular among people who are hesitant to travel in public transport. Not only are retailers reporting a surge in bicycle sales, but repair shops are also seeing an increasing number of people bringing in their old two-wheelers for an overhaul.
According to retailers, there has been a steady rise in bicycle sales in the city from May this year. Krishnasamy Devraj, director, Cycle World, which has 17 showrooms across the city, said that there was at least a 20-25% rise in sales in almost all the showrooms. “Compared to June 2019, we had a 300% increase in sales this June. As of now, the demand is outstripping supply. It will continue to be high for at least another six months. Adult and premier bicycles are seeing a huge demand and there are more takers for electric bikes too. Many are using these two-wheelers to commute to work,” he said.
As a result of the demand, the supply has also been hit. Roshan Kini, founder of Bums on the Saddle, reported a dip in supply of components as well. On the trend of people turning to cycles, he said, “This is happening across the world and the trend will definitely continue. I have been promoting cycling for 14 years now, and have never seen such demand and response,” he said.
Mr. Kini also said that people have started cycling for fun as well as for fitness. “I think there has been a shift in the mindset of people after the pandemic. People are more focussed on health and fitness,” he added. Initiatives by the authorities here in setting up cycle lanes have also given a boost to this trend.
Repair shops busy
It’s not just the well-heeled who have turned to cycles. Many cycle repair shops that The Hindu spoke to said their “days are packed” as people from all walks of life are coming to them. Venkatesh. K.B., who owns a bike repair shop in K. R Puram, said that there has been a surge in demand for spare parts and cycle pumps, apart from repair requests. “I have been in the business for over three decades and I have never seen such enthusiasm for cycles,” he said.
And while buses and metro trains are not running at peak capacity, the same cannot be said for rental bike companies. Amit Gupta, CEO, Yulu, said that the average distance and time travelled on their two-wheelers has increased. “Soon after lockdown restrictions were eased, we deployed over 70% of our electric vehicles on the road, the response was good,” he said, adding that people have started using Yulu even for grocery shopping.
There has been a steady increase in enquiries about bicycle tours and rallies in the city. Bengaluru’s Bicycle Mayor Sathya Shankaran said that cycling clubs in the city are flooded with such enquiries.“Many apartment complexes are now starting their own bicycling groups,” he said.