Dear Bicycle Brands,
In December of 2014 I had 20k and a choice to make. Either I join a gym using that sum or I buy a bike. It had been years since I rode a cycle and my friends were insisting I give them company in the gym; being outdoorsy by nature I was inclined towards the bike. And that’s what I chose. But that’s where the problems begin.
Brands in India don’t think women ride bicycles. and if we do, it has to be the delicate frame, Pink BSA Lady Bird road bicycle. No outdoor hybrids for us, oh no. Over a month of research at 6-7 physical bicycle stores across the city, all I could get my hands on were low framed leisure road bikes in pink and purple or high framed hybrids for men.
Of course there were the best of bikes to lust for the websites online. But not a single women specific hybrid in stores for me to try out before buying. After all how else do you gauge the right frame height, the comfort of the seat and maneuverability before buying?
I did not give up on the brands yet. I thought there was hope. At the recently concluded Adventure Tourism Conclave, I spotted a stall for bikes and thought this is it! The lady at this Starkenn Bikes stall introduced me to the fabulous collection of pro bikes on display as well as the ones available to take a spin on. But when I asked her where they had any women specific bikes I could ride she said, “We haven’t got them here to display. No one asks for them, so we don’t display them at expos.”
See, that’s the problem.
Then when I saw a bike stall at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon Expo, I was full of hope yet again. It was Firefox this time around and they had a big collection of bikes on display including an ancient high wheel bicycle on display! Surely they would have a couple of women specific bikes for the outdoors that I could see and try out?
Sorry Ma’am none on display at the moment.
You may say dear Brand that there is no market for hybrid outdoor bikes for women in India. But my point is, if there are none on display in your stores how do we know they exist and therefore how will you know there is a market?
I happened to chance on a Goldie, which happened to fit my frame and which I now love and use. But had I not chanced upon it in a local non branded store, I would still be searching for the right fit. As a woman and an outdoor enthusiast I can advise you this: you wont know a market exists unless you bring a product in the market.
So dear brands, I do hope you take this feedback and show us women some hope in cycling gear. We love the outdoors and cycling sure is one of our favourite things to do in the outdoors. Before you know it we will be doing triathlons and charting dirt trail routs; and we sure will make you proud! So dear Brand, do help us; Let Us Be Outdoorsy.
P.S. Oh and a request. We do see colours other than Pink and Purple you know. So could we have bikes in shades of parrot green, lime yellow, vermilion or sky blue too?
You know I had a feeling that this inequality in gear is an issue across spectrum, across geographies and then I cam across this story No More Barbie Gear . See I don’t blame you. It is most likely subconscious. But now that you know, how about waking up and making some serious course correction? If you are still reading this and haven’t been put off by our audacity to share feedback, Let’s Be Outdoorsy would love to hear from you as to what best can be done to balance out the equations. Do share your thoughts here or email at firstname.lastname@example.org