Mountain bikes becoming cool among city dwellers

The number of people in Kathmandu switching to mountain bikes for commuting and sports has risen due to increasing health consciousness and environmental concerns besides the city’s horrendous traffic.

Traders in the Kathmandu valley said that sales of mountain bikes had been swelling by the year. Many bicycle shops sell mountain bikes imported directly from their suppliers. There are also authorised distributors appointed by various international cycle brands in the Nepali market. Giant, Motachie, Trek and Jamis are among the popular bicycle brands in Nepal.

Pioneer cycle dealer Pancha Astanarayan Cycle at Kamalachhi said that the increasing use of bicycles for fitness and adventure had pushed up sales of mountain bikes in recent years. The firm of Pancha Astanarayan has been engaged in the bicycle business since 1929. According to the company, sales growth has averaged 15-20 percent annually in recent years.

Pancha Astanarayan has been appointed as the main distributor for the American brand Jamis bicycles. A company official said that mountain bike enthusiasts were rapidly changing their preferences. “After riding trail models, many people ask for cross country and all mountain cycles when they buy their next machine,” he said.

He added that cross country and trail mountain bikes were becoming more popular among commuters and trekkers. Their prices range from Rs 25,000 to Rs 150,000 in the domestic market. Equipped with a three-seven speed gear system, these mountain bikes feature an aluminium frame, disc brakes and hydraulic suspension. They are very light and provide easy riding for commuters and trekkers.

“Nepali cycle lovers are also going for all mountain bikes which are priced between Rs 85,000 to Rs 350,000,” he said. “Though we sell some expensive cycles, Nepali customers are increasingly spending on high end mountain bikes due to their growing enthusiasm for cycling.” The shop provides instalment facility to customers by forming an alliance with NMB Bank.

Meanwhile, various companies have been holding cycling tours and test riding programmes to promote cycling. Ranjan Rajbhandari, president of the Nepal Cycling Association, said that cycling had been gaining immense popularity these days. Bhandari, who is also the proprietor of Nepal Mountain Biking at Thamel, said they were receiving enquiries about mountain bikes from more than 10 people daily.

The company also provides mountain bikes on rent. Charges range from Rs 800 to 1,000 for 8 hours. “During the summer season, we see a 20-25 percent rise in sales as it is the best season for trekking,” he said.

Similarly, Nikesh Vaidya, proprietor of Rikesh Cycle at Jamal, said that people were buying mountain bikes for the purpose of off-road experience. “I am experiencing a steady growth in recent years,” he said. “People are spending more time on trekking by mountain bike with their friends not just for the sake of health but for adventure too,” he said.

source: ekantipur, 26 Mar 2014

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