Indian Cyclists Network

National Cyclist Pankaj.Malresha and the promotion of cycling in India.

 

Had purchased my "Fomas Cycle" from Mr Pankaj.Malresha's shop in Dadar and since then have ocassionally picked up a conversation with this simple cycling athlete, one of India's best cyclists.Just today(Tuesday 21-2-2012) had visited his shop for renewal of my cycling tyre /tube and happened to discuss the sad plight of cyclists and cycling in Mumbai and India.Luckily,Pankaj is financially well  off and not dependent on professional cycling as a livlihood although he has spent his own finances and competed at his own expences in local cycle races in London and Thailand.If Pankaj.Malresha was in the U.S.A or Europe then he could definitely be a part of any professional cycling team.WHEN WILL PROFESSIONAL CYCLING MAKE AN ENTRY IN INDIA? Thanks to cyclist/entrepreneurs like Pankaj.Malresha and bloggers like me that now at least the well-off Mumbaikars are taking to "Hobby-Cycling" in the early mornings in a big way.Also, cycles worth thousands and even over a lakh are now being sold in cycle shops in Mumbai and India.Maybe in another decade there would be a Indian cycling team competing in either the "TOUR OF LANGKAWI" in Malaysia or better, "THE TOUR DE FRANCE" in Europe.Better still if cyclists from other country's converged on india to compete in India's own "TOUR OF  MAHARASHTRA" ? Wishing the younger generation of cyclists all the best in cycling as a hobby and sport.

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Comment by Rudolph.A.Furtado on April 21, 2012 at 5:20pm

Today,Saturday(21-4-2012) happened to go to Sayani road for getting my vintage  Marine engineering text book, "Reeds Engineering Knowledge" re-binded.This locality of Sayani Road was about  two decades ago a typical mill area with low income residents, the side footpaths filthy with human excreta.All that changed post "Mill Redevelopment " era and the same Sayani road boasts of plush multi-storey buildings arising out of the ruins of a once -upon- a -time  mill locality.Noticed a posh cycle shop and entered it to inquire about the cycles on display. Co-incidentally this shop belonged to Mr  Pankaj.Malresha, a branch of his original cycle-shop opposite Portuguese church in Dadar.On inquiry was surprised to note the costs of some cycles of the "FUJI BRAND" for whom Mr Pankaj.Malresha is the local dealer.Maximum costs of Fuji cycles ranged from Rs 98,000 to Rs 60,000 as costly as the premium motorcycles in the Indian market.My "Fomas Road King" which costed me Rs 5000 in 2010 seemed like the cheapest cycle and i was happy that cycling has caught up in a big way amongst wealthy health conscious Mumbaikars. A decade ago, purchasing a Rs 5000 cycle would be considered odd in Mumbai as cycling was strictly a poor man's mode of transport and never viewed as a health sport, unlike in most economically developed country's.For health maintenance and the "6 Pack physique", it was either jogging or visiting costly gymnasiums for the economically wealthy Mumbaikar.This shop also had "Car-Cycle carriers",the first time i viewed this "Cycle transport harness" in  India, something very common in Europe where cyclists drive out to the countryside to ride the bicycles.In Mumbai,  yet have to see cycles being transported on car roof-tops or  aft dicky's by a "Cycle-Harness" , but, seeing the same being sold in Mumbai means in future the same could be visible on Mumbai's roads.As for me, no more embarrassed to be the only odd  road cyclist in my locality of Prabhadevi and instead happy to have been a cycling innovator although never a professional cyclist.

Comment by K P Mohan on March 2, 2012 at 6:31pm

Rudolph.A.Furtado, I can only wish that Mr Malresha was either a cricketer or at least had some links with cricketing board. while professional cricketers are using bicycling among other things for fitness programme, they do not go beyond that.

Comment by Rudolph.A.Furtado on February 22, 2012 at 7:35am

Vinni, i totally agree with you.Most important is the "AFTER SALES"  service of any product purchased, be it a cycle, motorcycle or a car.Till date, the selling of expensive branded cyycles is restricted to a few shops in a few select localities in Mumbai and hence a lack of after-sales service.Common cycling shop mechanics are not qualified to service imported cycles in case of an emergency.Another horrible nuisance faced by cyclists is the puncturing of tyres when parked by mischief mongers, a nuisance i have faced numerous times. The cycle being considered the lowest transport denominator is open to easy prey by vandalists and urchins.Cycling is still considered a poor mans vehicle of transport in India and has only recently evolved into a life-style early morning exercise  in recent years .The  benifits of cycling have been tabulated and noticed by doctors as well as practitioners of cycling, hence a new breed of early morning cyclists are seen on the roads of mumbai as also the importation of expensive designer cycles into India.Only hope all this translates into a professional cycling sport in the near future with decent "PRIZE MONEY" to the winnets, thus making cycling an attractive professional sport for budding indians and not just a hobby or fad.

Comment by Vinni B on February 21, 2012 at 8:09pm

Hi Rudolph, one of the major reasons why Professional cycling has not made it big in India is because of the attitude most people have towards it. In India cycling is either considered as a Past-time Hobby or a Poor mans transport. Just look at the way our roads are planned, designed and created there is just No room for a slow Nature loving cyclist. Its Sad but True.

In Hero Cycles we have a company which takes pride is claiming "Worlds largest Manufacturer of Bicycles" but when you look at their innovation & Creative quotient its next to NIL. Foreign Cycle do have quality but they come at a cost, which no one is willing to finance, you want to go and buy a large 55inch - Rs 1lakh plus costing LED tv multiple finance options are available but for a  Rs30000 non polluting bike you have none :) Had petrol prices still stayed at Rs45 cycles would have been a point of discussion only on these forums. 

Just take a look at some of the community rides are organized, they are never complete without a press photographers, I think if these press photographers would not have been these then even these rides would not have happened. We have got to change our attitude. A cycle is that one vehicle where you decide your limits and the Horse Power.

Just a week ago I don't know how but my Trek 3700 rear axle broke (This has never happened to me in my 20+years of cycling) and just for this Hollow axle I had to visit so many shops including Firefox outlets only to be told that they don't stock them. I even checked with Fomas Dadar but they didn't have it either, So all these fancy shops want to sell you these medium to high price bikes but want to shy away from providing the spares. Even Indian companies based out of Ludiana make hollow Axles but surprisingly no one stocks them. One idiot (cycle shop owner) even told me that i need to change my Hubs all together (what kind of  an advice is that) eventually i did get the axle paid almost 2-3 times the actual cost but its the attitude that i find amusing. Unless the attitude does not change there cannot be any significant change.  Sad but true.

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