KOCHI: Cycles always project the charm of the yesteryears. They generate nostalgia in everyone’s mind. Bicycles then were designed to serve the basic needs of transportation. They had just the rudimentary fittings and there was nothing jazzy or trendy about them. The only add-ons were the colourful embellishments.
Now, fast forward to the present. These humble mode of transport has undergone drastic change. This is the era of trendy, hi-tech bikes.
Kochi, which is famous for embracing new trends whole-heartedly, has taken to the latest cycle fad like fish to water.
The city has shown a paradigm shift from buses and cabs to cycle as the most preferred means of transport. More and more people are opting for cycle as the preferred means of transportation rather than bus or cabs.
The evidence that cycles are becoming a craze is very much evident from the various types being stocked by the dealers in the city.
They include road cycles, mountain cycles, hybrid cycles, racing cycle and so on. The list is endless.
Cycling not only is good for health but also environment friendly. Just like many developed countries, it good develop the habit to cycle to the school or office. Health conscious Kochiites are the main force behind the cycle boom.
“Mostly people prefer cycles for exercise purposes. Techies are very keen about cycles. Most of our customers are children and adults between the age of 25 to 40. They usually stick to the price range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 33,000. But there are some who like to purchase cycles just to make a fashion statement. Price doesn’t matter to them, they just want to be noticed,” said Mohammed Ali Jowher, sales manager of Decathlon, Kalamassery.
Cijo,a businessman opined that cycling has been good for his health. His cholesterol level is normal now. Ajeesh Paul, an interior designer said,”My doctor prescribed cycling to beat my obesity. Cycling is a daily routine for me. I cycle daily for one hour. Now I am feeling much better and improved.”
Techno park and Info Park provide cycles to employees to travel inside the campus and also conducts cycle rallies.
“Cycle is an eco friendly mode of transport. Cycling is a good exercise. It is also a style statement for me. I also prefer cycles for long journeys. It is a different experience,” said Pranav, a student.
There are also cycle clubs in the city. These clubs prompt people to view cycle in a different light. The ready availability of the foreign brands too has played favourably for this poor man’s vehicle.
“I am amazed at the trend in Kochi. I never imagined a city like this will accept cycles. Other parts of Kerala still reject cycles as an old fashion,” Mohammed Ali a native of Kozhikode said.
There are youngsters who go on long cycling expeditions to places like Munnar. Still there are people who are reluctant to ride cycles.
“I am embarrassed to ride cycles. People stare as if bicyclers are buck naked. Some who consider cycling as strange,” Sreya, a college student. Some think riding cycles in the busy roads of Kochi is not safe. But others consider cycle to be safe compared to other two wheelers.
Just like adult cycles, the demand for kid’s cycles are also increasing. Special pink cycles and small yet manly cycles attract girls and boys. The arrival of leading sports stores like ‘Decathlon’ and ‘Cosmos’, have increased the choice. Apart from the normal Hero and Hercules cycles, there are a lot of new brands like ‘Firefox’, ‘Sprint’, ‘Btwin’, ‘Giant’, ‘Starkkon’ and different types of bicycles in different sizes to choose from. “Sales have gone up in the recent years. Most of our customers choose ‘Firefox’ bikes as they are comparatively cheap. They start from Rs 8,000 and go up to Rs 33,000. They also purchase various other accessories like helmet, locks,gloves, mud-guards and seat pillars,” said Arjun M, assistant salesman at Cosmos.
Also the trend for cycle race is increasing among the youngsters. Many new models of race cycles are now available in the market.