It's the Mercedes of rural India ........fast,safe, pollution free, cheap & can negotiate the 'kutcha' roads with élan .....yes, it's the Bicycle, that I'm talking about! But has urban India warmed up to the advantages provided by cycles? Is there a scope of establishing Bicycles on a strong foothold? Let's see!
From my experience, I can say that for quite a long time, I couldn't figure out how to keep my balance on a bicycle. But when I tried to learn it properly, it took me one single autumn evening of four hours , when I struggled with keeping my cycle straight, wobbling all around, getting all muddy on the dew covered field . It's aptly said , that nobody can learn cycling unless he has fallen from it! I found it out to good effect that day!
The magic trick was when an onlooker asked me to look straight ahead & keep my head still, when all the time I was intently looking down at the handle, trying to keep it horizontal! After that it was a cakewalk !
Learning cycling had given me advantages! On days when there were strikes in Kolkata, I could still visit my college , by cycling all the way! Not to forget the amount of strength imparted to my calf muscles when I pedalled along on weekend mornings for a few happy hours!
Here I go with my blueprint to make bicycles more prominent ....albeit with assistance from technology:
1) Sell bicycles with a fitted GPS system. Anything with a hint of internet in it attracts today's young generation easily.
2) get a custom made Android /Windows app, which can attract bikers of a particular city to come closer. It can integrate with Facebook & Twitter to let a person know who else from their friend lists are avid bikers. They can arrange meets on weekends, and build up a healthy cycling ethic!
3) the app should be enabled with info about all the nearby repair stations , as well as cycle stands' lists. It should show the most suitable paths that are feasible for bikers.
4) people can customise their apps to add the location of their fellow bikers in their apps. This can be aided by integration with FourSquare. The 'Mayorship' does attract a fair number of takers, so bikers' frequent visiting points would be visited more or less regularly!
5) Revenue can be generated from the app in the form of advertisements from Tyre companies or cyclists' gear selling companies. Almost all leading sports brands have new gadgets and biking accessories like shades, bodysuits, helmets that can be alluring for the amateur bikers,so it should not be too difficult to attract these ads.
6) the app can have a system to include particular 'hashtag' based searches, to find out other amateur biker communities from around the world and to interact with them!
7) the app should have the ability to Upload pictures, so that bikers can show off their new vantage points or shining new accessory for their cycles and build up camaraderie !
8) Corporate sectors can take up the responsibility to promote biking in the Tech Cities that are coming up around the country. A few cyclists only zones exist in these techies' training zones already, I believe, and I do wish this becomes the trend. This can have the dual advantage of keeping the Tech cities pollution-free, as well as infusing a fitness regime among the techies, who have to sit for long hours at stretch at their work stations.
9) in the tech cities,there should be a cloud based network on the corporates' servers , that could store the data of individual techies' miles covered on cycles! There can be announcement of monthly perks for the top three techies who have covered the maximum distance on their bicycles! This will increase the urge to cycle more regularly!
10) once a month, there can be bikers' races announced over fixed distances. The corporates can back these endeavours!
So there goes my 10-point memorandum of how or promote cycling globally, with the help of technology! Hope it can throw some light on the future of amateur biking!
Written as part of the salesforce.com #MyBicyclesStories challenge on Capgemini Super Techies Show .