Ringing the Bell for Change
In this candid conversation, Rohan Kini, founder of “Bums on the saddle”, takes a moment to reflect on his journey from running a weekend bike shop on a rooftop to taking an active part in the changing bicycle scene in Bangalore. He says, “Biking in India is on the upswing, the validation for this is evident in the number of new players barging in to the market”. A passionate bicycle lover at heart, Rohan is excited about this new landscape and believes that people should get on a bicycle, have fun and enjoy the many new options it offers.
As an avid follower of the worldwide bicycle cultures, Rohan gets inspiration from all over the world. In fact, he suggests that India learns from cities such as Copenhagen, where making bicycle-friendly infrastructure is always on the agenda. Copenhagen intends to be the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, and Rohan believes that the problems, that India is facing now, are already addressed in a city like Copenhagen. These problems include finding the right locations for building parking spaces for bikes and laying out bicycle lanes. The easy flow of information across borders presents us with an opportunity to get inspiration and form partnerships to address problems like these related to infrastructure around biking.
Infrastructure support in Bangalore
Jaya Nagar in Bangalore became the first neighbourhood to get demarcated bicycle lanes, Wheels within wheels of cycling project. With the objective of popularizing non-motorized transport, it is the hope that the Directorate of Urban Land Transport in the Government of Karnataka will increase investments in bicycle lanes around the city.
Bums on the Saddle
Bums on the saddle (BOTS) started in 2006 on a rooftop in Bangalore, when the two friends Rohan and Nikhil decided to give selling good quality bikes a shot. Recently, BOTS opened a new store in Pune to cater to the needs of a growing biking community. It became the first store outside of Bangalore. BOTS has numerous community projects running in Bangalore and Pune, and co-creation is in BOTS’s DNA. Their projects include Wednesday night rides, Saturday breakfast rides and Sunday trail rides. These projects feed off the passion of fellow cyclists. All one needs in order to join the brigade is a bike, a passion for riding it and a willingness to have fun with it. BOTS also organizes sessions with experts, in order to spread the knowledge of bicycles and biking.
BOTS, and the projects it is involved in, has featured in some of the leading Indian daily’s, such as Bicycle bells and whistles, The Hindu Business Line, The pedal pushers, Fortune India, They Believe, So They Bike, The new Indian Express
“Wheels of Change” – New project from BOTS
Spreading the joy of biking has been Rohan’s mantra. He believes that biking is here to stay for numerous reasons, including the facts that it enhances ones social experience and has obvious health benefits. He says, “More so in the current context biking simply saves time, making people more efficient and enables them to do what they want rather than wasting hours in the chaotic traffic”. Over the past years, he has been experimenting with the idea of getting more people to ride their bike to work in Bangalore. He has done bike-to-work presentations at corporates, oftentimes challenging and engaging the knowledge champions to try cycling. Riding on the positive feedback, he has created a dedicated program aptly called “Wheels of Change”, that will move this initiative forward in a structured way. The program’s goal, which will have a dedicated team and agenda, is to get more people to ride their bike to work, and he hopes that the corporates and the well-wishers will support the initiative and get along the bandwagon whole heartedly, as they did in the past.
Learn more about bicycle-friendly culture in India
Learn more about bicycle-friendly culture in Copenhagen