Childhood bicycles are part of our most precious memories, paddling through your lanes, ringing the bell, and calling all your buddies to have a round in your block was indeed bliss. Over time, the cycles were swapped by motorbikes for grown-ups. However, this is one habit and memory we would do well to go back to. Cycling not only keeps us healthy but is also good for the environment.
On the occasion of World Bicycle day, we visited Delhi's famous cycle market at Jhandelwalan.
Behind grey offices, across the street with traffic and hustle-bustle, Jhandelwalan's cycle market is a hidden gem of Delhi. It started in 1975 when most of the 150-odd shops in Chandni Chowk's 'Asia's largest cycle market' were asked to relocate from their origins. As you enter the market, you'll be surrounded by tons of shops and small lanes carrying years of stories and memories, and of course, cycles.
The famous DDA Cycle Market in Jhandewalan is located near Lutyen's Delhi, about three kilometres from Connaught Place. It is the only one in Northern India, with over 200 retailers, distributors, and assemblers of Indian and foreign bicycle brands. Here, you will find bicycles from Hero, TI, Atlas, Avon, Firefox, Trek, Giant, and other brands. The market is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, except on Mondays.
This bicycle market caters to amateur and expert cyclists for everything related to bicycles. It is an excellent location for enthusiastic bicyclists of all ages and abilities, including children, youth, racers, regular cyclists, and mountain riders. What distinguishes this market from the rest is that this is a one-stop shop for bicycles and bicycle parts from all leading brands—in various prices, designs, sizes, and colours. In addition to standard bicycles, different sports bicycles, road bicycles, and mountain bicycles are also available here.
To understand the market and buyers of this market, we talked to Puneet Mehra, the owner of Mehta Industries, the second generation in the market. They have multiple brands and kinds of bicycles. Their range starts from 14000 and can range till 1 Lakhs.
"We have been selling cycles for many years, in my store you'll find every bicycle from children to adults. From gear to non-gears, we sell everything," says Puneet.
Talking about the cycle market, Puneet says, "There was a time after the lockdown it was a massive boom in the cycle selling; people came here and bought cycles. But recently, the sales are even out, and the market is working at its own pace now."
He also said that there is slackness in the market to an extent. "Middle classes have stopped buying bicycles. But, if you want to keep healthy, cycles are an excellent choice. It's only a one-time investment."
Here in the Mehta industries, this cycle is around 60k, and it's only meant for cycling professionals. It can range up to 1.5 lakhs which are made exclusively on order. They have all brands like Hercules, uncross, and Raleigh is one of their highest-selling brands.
Multan Cycles are here in the market past 35 years; the shop is run by 2 brothers. The shop was established by their grandfather. They also have multiple brands in their store, like Tata Stryder and cross. One thing about this shop is that they have an in-house production cycle known as Carbon which is affordable and durable. Carbon is one of their best-selling items.
"In the Jhandewalan market, customers come to buy budget-friendly cycles. And we try to sell as much as in the customers' budget, and the Stryder band has now become the competitor for firefox bicycles. Many youths are buying cycles nowadays, earlier it was only children, but slowly the youth has started buying it for their healthy lifestyle. The availability of bicycles on the websites with huge discounts has stagnated our sales. And our margins are minimal." says Tarun Grigdhar.
While the hustle and bustle are undeniably beautiful, the market could use some revitalization and more space. But if you can get past that, cyclists, this is your paradise.