Life in the bike lane

ChooseMyBicycle, a venture by Abbishek Bharadwaj and Rohit Kuttappa along with two others, offers fully fitted bicycles to clients

It is not uncommon to find cyclists whiz past you in traffic on their way to work or for that matter groups of them take over the roads in the wee hours of the morning on the weekends. Catching on fast amongst the fitness and environmentally conscious, cycling is finding more and more takers in the city. And if you seem to be swaying towards the practice as well and are looking to buy a fully fitted bike to meet your needs, help is at hand with ChooseMyBicycle, the latest startup in the city to address the issue.

The online marketplace provides users with fully assembled bicycles, a feature often not found in other portals, according to Abbishek Bharadwaj, co-founder and head sales at ChooseMyBicycle.

Launched in 2012 as a club by RL Ravichandran, Rohit Kuttappa, Akshay Pillay and Bharadwaj to promote cycling in Chennai, ChooseMyBicycle gradually grew to become a platform for reviews. “People wanted accurate information while buying bikes and so we evolved into an information portal,” says Rohit Kuttappa, co-founder and CEO of the company, “One could compare prices and models on our portal back then. There was no commerce involved. I’d say the business evolved based on consumer needs. So by December 2016 we launched the e-commerce aspect of ChooseMyBicycle and became an online portal that not only provides information and reviews, but also is a marketplace for bicycles that are delivered to the users in a fully assembled state.”

The idea to deliver fully assembled bikes, says Bharadwaj, “stemmed from the fact that while many online portals deliver bikes, they are not fitted. It is then up to people to find a good technician to put the bike together; and that is often challenging. To address this, we take the bicycle from the manufacturer, assemble it completely, pack it in a specially created packaging carton and ship it to the customer. We’ve also tied up with Fix My Cycle to provide after sales services, for ease of access.” Fix My Cycle is an online service that sends qualified bike technicians to the client’s home for bike servicing and repairs.

While the company formally launched in December 2016, they made their first sale in March 2017. Since then, they’ve managed over 600 sales across the country. “We’ve shipped as far as Srinagar, Tinsukia and Kutch,” says Bharadwaj.

“While we stock everything from tricycles for toddlers to performance bikes for adults, we find that the average selling price on our website is between ₹12,500 to ₹15,000. These are for entry level performance bikes. Annually, this sector grows at a rate of 22% to 25% in terms of market scenario,” says Kuttappa.

The company which has so far been bootstrapped and has banked on angel funding is now looking to raise funding to expand the business. “In the next six to 12 months we’re looking to set up ‘experience stores’. These will be spaces where people can’t actually buy a bike, but can try different models and get a feel of it before making a purchase online. And as a brand, we plan to ensure speedy delivery of bikes within a period of three to four days. We’ve already identified logistic hubs for these. And along with Fix My Cycle, we plan to expand services to 48 cities over the next year,” says Kuttappa.


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