After a discussion started by Sudhanshu, a couple of folks decided to meet at the Embassy Golf Links (EGL) business park cafeteria today.
Since we didn’t know each other personally, we spent the first few minutes hanging around the food counter (the designated meeting spot) staring at folks wondering if they are the one. I reached first, and then figured out another guy (Ashwatha) who was looking as unsure as I was. Turned out we both were from the same organization, which was both delightful and embarrassing as as we hadn’t seen each other in the office earlier even after working together for 3+ years. I could then spot the third guy – Sampath from a mile away as he was coming in the baggy biker shorts. We waited for a few minutes for Sudhanshu, and after he came in, we sat down with food and discussed, what else, biking?
Turned out that Sampath has been cycling to work for the last few years. He prefers staying near office so that traffic is not too much of an issue, and I thought that was a very pragmatic policy. 🙂
Ashwatha has been mostly commuting too, and since he stays near the old airport, he takes the wind tunnel road route which was a route that I had been thinking for my commute too. My only issue with this route is that it makes my home-office distance much longer.
Sudhanshu commutes from BTM layout! That is some distance, I thought. And considering the traffic around Silk board and Madiwala, I think that is pretty admirable.
We further talked about the right way to sell biking to people at tech parks like EGL. Sampath had a very good point about some of the current presentations spending too much time on selling biking to the audience. He argued that given that people are already there in the audience, they are already interested in biking. We agreed. We all also agreed that in such places there are mostly three questions that people like to ask, and on which the presentations should focus:
- Is it safe to bike in the city? Especially this city?
- If you commute, what are the logistics that one needs to handle? Parking, shower, separate clothes, backpack, laptops, etc.
- What are the bike options available? What would they need? Where would they buy them?
As Sampath put across, most people balk at the idea of spending more than 10k on a bike, or at least on the first bike. All the three seasoned cyclists agreed that one can only find out the limitations of sub Rs. 10k bikes on long rides, but for most practical uses, esp. urban use, they are sufficient (of course basics of having fitting options etc., still applies, IMO and many of these bikes don’t probably offer much choice if your build is not average).
IMO, presentations should focus on the three ranges of bike options – < 10k, 10k-20k and > Rs. 20k., and letting people decide on their own. Shops which allow test rides and take the trouble of fitting the bike for you, should be prominently highlighted.
We also discussed that probably having neutral, non-commercial organizations like Go Green giving these presentations, which focuses on commuting rather than biking just for outdoor rides, might be a good idea if the plan is to coax people into biking within the city.
It was a small group that met today. It was the first bike meet for me. And I learnt quite a bit from seasoned commuters. As far as I am concerned, it was a success. 🙂 I hope we can manage to make this more regular.
Thanks to Sudhanshu for taking the intiative to start this.