You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a bike and that’s pretty close. With this idea in mind, Zubin Jagtiani and his sister Shaina co-founded Red Spokes Cycling, a Bangalore-based company that promotes cycling for fun and leisure.
Zubin has an engineering background and reveals that his “day time job” is manufacturing automotive components. He also spends sometime post his regular job in software design where he is building a product for SMEs in the automobile sector. The rest of his free time (weekends included) are devoted to his passion, Red Spokes Cycling.
According to Zubin, the main passion behind the company is to get people to slow down, cycle and appreciate the world around them. A passionate cyclist himself, he states that cycling has helped him slow down and become calmer and approach life better. He hopes that Red Spokes will enable to people to enjoy travel at a leisurely pace. The idea is to get people to appreciate the food, the geography, and the local customs of every destination with the whole experience being enhanced by the mode of transport — a bicycle. This is what sets Red Spokes Cycling apart from the other cycling-based companies.
YourStory caught up with Zubin to understand a little more about his journey, his passion and his dream, Red Spokes Cycling.
The idea and its conceptualization
I started cycling quite late myself but found it to be extremely calming and fun. Therefore, I started toying with the idea of getting other people to enjoy cycling and combine it with travel to wonderful destinations to create a wholesome experience. I was involved with organizing the cycle day in Bangalore in October 2013. I finally got down to starting Red Spokes in January 2014, so it’s a really new venture.
The founding team
Red Spokes was co-founded by me and my sister. My sister Shaina has been in the marketing space for over 16 years having worked with companies like Discovery TLC among others. At present, we have one more full time employee who manages the operations. We intend to grow slowly and the idea is to hire people who are just as passionate about what we do as us.
Events and rides organized
We organized our first long cycling journey (Art of Wine making) on the 1st of February to a vineyard just short of Mysore. The other event that we organize and plan to hold every two weeks is called Pub Crawl. Here we tie up with some of the bars in the city and the idea is to cycle around Bangalore for an evening of “light” drinks, dinner and a whole lot of fun. We have also tied up with Uber to ensure that no one really cycles home drunk. The cycling group is provided with Uber promotional codes so they can avail a safe ride home after the last bar frequented. At present, we have tied up with Bootlegger, Monkey Bar and Toit.
We are also planning a “rediscover the garden city” through a pedal through the park event soon. We start our events early so that people don’t need to deal with traffic congestions.
Marketing strategies and revenue model and funding
We have just started the company so we mainly advertise our events on facebook, twitter or through word of mouth. We also have a site which is a work in progress. So far the first cycle ride had friends and friends of friends; however, the Pub Crawl had some known faces and some new ones. We hope that the word spreads around fast and we can build momentum and keep moving ahead from there. The aim is to expand, spread to more cities and organize longer trips that last five to six days.
Our revenue model is based on selling completely packaged cycling trips on three levels; – a) Directly to our guests, b) Through tie-ups with inbound tour operators and c) Custom packages to corporate for their various team building events.
Red Spokes Cycling is currently bootstrapped. We will eventually look for funding once we expand. We expect the major cost to be infrastructure and marketing going ahead so we will look into funding opportunities as we grow based on the response we get.
Cycles and infrastructure
We have two companies which organize the cycles for the events. The cycles are chosen based on the heights of the people registered for the event. This helps us ensure that they have a comfortable cycling experience. We also plan to invest in a few cycles but will continue to have them maintained by the companies that we have tied up with. We also provide everyone with cycling gear like helmets, safety jackets etc.
We ensure that we always carry a few extra cycles on every event (just in case!). We also have a mechanic and a support van that accompany the cyclists. Since the idea is to enjoy the experience and not to make time or strain yourself, you can always hop into the support van in case you are tired. Future plans and vision
We hope in the next few months to have regular long distance cycling events (a week long) and to branch out into at least two more cities. We are still identifying the cities but probably some coastal place so that the experience is even more enhanced for our customers.
I love cycling. Red Spokes Cycling is a dream, a long-term project. It’s a passion and it’s what keeps me going.