Unorthodox is the word that comes to mind when you first step into WheelLife Adventure, a spacious store for bicycles at Vidyaranyapura. Step away from the heat and dust of the locality into their showroom, and the stacks of bicycles and equipment on display will having you looking on in awe. You name it, they’ve got it, whether you’re looking for a simple cycle to ride within the city or hardier machines for camping trips.
The place was set up by bike enthusiasts Shashank H.S. and Ganesh Srinivasan, who befriended each other a decade ago while working in soft skills training at the same company. They found they shared a passion for biking trips; between the two of them, they claim to have covered nearly all of India on their bikes. Later, they quit they jobs and moved on to other things. Shashank started a medical imaging company, while Ganesh worked in Delhi for an Australian tour company as a guide for foreign tourists. In 2010, the friends met up and decided to set up their own business venture in an area right up their alley: providing customers with good quality bikes and biking gear.
They started by renting out bikes for long trips. “The first trip was for a group that Ganesh had met while working in Delhi. They wanted to go for a cycling trip from Bangalore to Kanyakumari and needed bicycles. So we tried to rent bicycles. That is when we realised that it made more sense to buy a few bicycles ourselves and run a store,” says Shashank. WheelLife Adventure, which also acts as a channel for tour operations, turns two years old next month.
“The younger crowd here really loves us,” says a jolly Shashank. He says youngsters in the area are all up for the trips they organise, be it on the GKVK campus adjoining Vidyaranyapura or to Nandi Hills.
As far as marketing goes, the store’s promotion is mainly through the word of mouth, social networking sites and online forums.
Not just a guy thing
And it isn’t just guys who come for their bikes; a fair number of their customers are women. “Many working women use our bicycles to commute to and from work,” says Shashank. The store also has a wide range of camping gear, but this has fewer takers in the city. Their website also provides a platform for people to sell or buy old bikes.
Room for growth
Owing to other commitments, they have not had much time to expand WheelLife Adventure (a retail store under Wheellife Travel India), but they do have plenty of ideas. “We want to add more in the product line, and are trying to get major brands to retail their bikes and accessories here. We plan to set up stores likes these in north Bangalore. We are also planning a two to six day supported bike tour near the Chikamagalur and Coorg regions. We have a GPS route of 180 km marked out, and mostly plan on going ahead with this during August next year,” says Shashank.
The store charges around Rs. 10, 000 upwards for bikes, and can be found at No. 2, 1st Floor, 1st Cross, Chamundeshwari Layout, Vidyaranyapura. Visit www.wheellifeadventure.com