22 Bikes in Bhubaneswar is a happening place for cyclists. At any hour, you will meet some cyclist or the other. It can be the regular ones who drop in for updates, it can be young ones seeking advice or getting their cycle fixed, or someone bringing a new friend to help them to choose a cycle. Yes, the place sells bicycles also – priced from Rs. 12,000/- to Rs. 50,000/-. There are several brands – both Indian (Suncross, Schnell, Attivo) and foreign (Scott, Raleigh, Giant, Merida…) and all the variety – road, hybrid and MTBs.
If you are lucky you can also meet a East Coast Cycle Rider. The Odisha coast is popular among cyclists. It is never cold so you can travel light, you can do sightseeing including sea, rural villages, jungles, also visit UNESCO heritage sites and fabulous temples. And for all of them 22 Bikes is a pit stop. Why?
Because of the man in charge-meet Ajay Nanda. Actually you won’t spot him, because he appears to be just one of the visitors. He is not at the cash counter, nor does he wear elegant clothes. He seems to be chatting with customers or his cyclist friends and casually answering all their questions and trade enquiries.
Ajay himself is a bicycle enthusiast and an active member of Bhubaneswar Bicycle and Adventure Club and goes for a weekly ride every Sunday, normally doing 100 kms. The club has organised trips to Bhutan, to Nepal, to Vietnam and Cambodia and planning to do Manali to Leh this year. Also down the years are plans for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. But the club is not only for professional cyclists. On their weekly rides anyone with any cycle can come, except that he has to wear a helmet. Ajay also help poor children with gifting bikes – some time repairing an old one and some time a new one.
Ajay comes from a humble background. His father, an employee of government teacher training institute had learnt the importance of education and made sure that all his children got education. Ajay after finishing his MBA worked for BigBazar in Bhubaneswar and for Landmark Group in Dubai. Back in Bhubaneswar he tried to join the Bhubaneswar Bicycle and Adventure Club, only to be told that it was an exclusive club. He wrote a long passionate letter and was eventually invited to join the weekly ride. When the club planned the ride to Digha, the club lent him a good bicycle and that is when the bug got him and he eventually opened the shop. It was an adventure for a person of his background but he got full family and club support. In three years the shop is managing to break even and has recently opened a branch in Cuttack.
The transport of the future city will be fossil fuel free and will be based on bicycles and cargo bicycles. At 22 Bikes the future is here.
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