While the whole of Delhi was busy admiring high-end models of cars and motorbikes, 20-year-old Abhishek Chaudhary became the proud owner of a another hi-tech automobile at the 10th Auto Expo. And his newly acquired Equinox TTX 9.8 is bringing in a lot of curious visitors to the Firefox bicycle stall at the Expo. Chaudhary’s prized possession happens to be a bicycle. For Rs 2.45 lakh, however, it’s hardly the poor man’s transport it is otherwise touted to be.
But that no longer bothers Dilliwallahs, who have given a whole-hearted thumbs up to expensive push bikes in their newfound love for cycling. The Firefox pavilion at the Auto Expo has already booked one bicycle each worth Rs 91,000 and Rs 57,000, apart from 25 bicyles in varied price segments. Says Ajit Gandhi, marketing head, Firefox, “Our sales have seen an upward graph. There have been 25 bookings in various price points, apart from queries for the Rs 2.4 lakh bicycle. From our showroom too there is a quantitative sale.”
Chaudhary, an amateur cyclist, says he booked his bicycle online three months ago. “A year ago, I bought a cycle worth Rs 50,000, but this one (referring to his new bike) is a real beauty.”
Two years ago, actor Shahid Kapur made news when he gifted his brother a BMX bike worth Rs 1.5 lakh. “Now ordinary people are willing to spend lakhs on a cycle because of environment and health concerns. We have sold around 3-4 really expensive bikes in the past few months in Delhi,” informs Gandhi.
Adman Ashok Mehta owns seven hi-tech cycles between Rs 35,000 and Rs 1.25 lakh. His last purchase is a light mountain bike worth Rs 1.8 lakh. “Just like people prefer bikes and cars, we love cycles,” says Mehta, adding that his eight-year-old daughter rides 10-12 kms everyday. Says banker and cycling enthusiast Nitin Nanda, “Cycling is a cool trend these days with even actors like Salman Khan taking to it. I don’t mind investing a few thousand rupees in a cycle looking at the trendy machines at the Expo.”
However, these enthusiasts have their concerns too. “Cycling is an expensive hobby, specially with a 25 per cent duty on the purchase of sports goods. With the Commonwealth Games coming up, we just hope we get proper roads in the city, leave alone a cycling track,” says Mehta.