Bicycle sales have really taken off in the western world. In the last two months, USA said that it saw the biggest rise in sales since the oil crisis in 1970s. Ditto is cities with clogged streets like Milan, Rome and even many places in SE Asia. Electric cycles too have shown a sharp spike in sales, especially in France and Britain.
People looking at alternatives to subways, buses, trains; those looking for an alternative to gyms and many kids in lockdown turning to cycles to stay active are some of the reasons why cycles have become hugely popular. Also even with the lockdown lifting, not many want to go back to using public transport and that in itself has led to sales ticking upwards.
Its ironic that at the same time in India, one of the oldest brands of cycles in India, Atlas, shut down. We are looking at second-hand car sales picking up while the best mode of transport is the cycle. But sadly, with no demarcated cycle tracks, chaos on roads, crazy driving, cycles are a risk to life in India. Maybe Hero Cycles needs to recognise this opportunity and make the most of it.
One more irony – there is a virtual cycle shortage in many of these countries as almost 90% of the cycles come from China, which has only resumed production though supply chains remain bruised.