JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Restrictions on public gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many people to turn to cycling the world over. Indonesia is no exception and this has led to high demand in a bicycle sales and repair shop, too.
When people were told to stay home but at the same time they were also encouraged to exercise to boost the immune system, many chose cycling because health and wellness centers have been closed.
They are not only cycling enthusiasts who do their regular exercise; many have opted to cycle to work as a means to avoid crowded public transportation.
Some regions have eased up on restrictions and members of the public are slowly going back to their daily grind during the transition period in the country. Coronavirus crisis rages on but it’s a boon for bike shops.
“Consumers need bicycles for their exercise. Since the outbreak, they are concerned with their health,” said Mamet, a shop attendant in Bagus Bike in BSD.
He said that there has been an increase in bike sales and repairs. Most consumers bought folding bikes from us with a price range between three million rupiahs ($213) and six million rupiahs.
Another shop, Formula Bike in South Tangerang, said that bike sales were up 100 percent now compared to the previous months before the pandemic. “Bike sales are in high demand lately,” said shop owner Azan Laganan.
“They don’t only buy a bicycle from us, but some also come to repair their bikes that have not been used for a long time,” said Azan.
“We are overwhelmed by such demand because the number of people buying bicycles keeps increasing during this coronavirus crisis,” he added.
Folding bikes and mountain bikes at the price of three to five million rupiahs is among the bestsellers now, he said.
Cycling trends are taking place in both big cities and other places across Indonesia. As the country moves toward the “new normal” era and people are practicing physical distancing rules, many chose bicycles as their transportation option.
Brand Director of Polygon William Gozali said there are some factors why people are choosing bikes for their daily activity nowadays.
First and foremost, William said, people want to stay healthy amid the pandemic. Cycling is a sport that is considered safe and easy to do for all walks of life.
Secondly, it is to eliminate burnout during the large scale social restrictions (PSBB) measures. Cycling has become a new lifestyle that can relieve stress while looking stylish at the same time, he added.
He hopes that cycling can become part of the new normal across the archipelago. Cycling has long been part of the people’s daily lives in the country’s small towns.
With a growing number of bicycle clubs and bike-to-work communities, local entrepreneurs see there is a business opportunity in producing Indonesian-made bikes to cater to the need for cycling enthusiasts.
One of them is a Bandung-based bicycle maker called Kreuz in West Java. As of now, they have received hundreds of orders for their handmade folding bikes until February 2021.
“We have set a target of producing 10 to 15 units per month. But, we have already received orders of 100 frames. The waitlist is six months long until February 2021,” said Yudi Yudiantara, one of the founders.
Yudi said that the idea of making handmade folding bikes did not happen until last year when attending an event called Indonesia Cycling Festival in Senayan, Jakarta.
At the event, he saw a collection of a popular London-made folding bike: Brompton. At that time he was still producing panniers. “All of a sudden I think it is cool to attach our Kreuz pannier to the Brompton bike,” he recalled.
Long story short, together with his business partner Jujun Junaedi, they decided to make a prototype of a folding bike that is similar but not the same as Brompton.
Then they started to produce Kreuz bikes after receiving financial assistance from a good friend of theirs.
Yudi said that all work is done by hand by involving several local home industries.
The frame-set of the three-fold bike costs about 3.5 million rupiahs, while the price of a full-bike is at least eight million rupiahs.
In the beginning, they used social media platforms to promote their folding bike. The turnout has been unexpected. Since then, they have been receiving orders from customers in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
“Those who have money will still go for Brompton. But, customers who look for a quality bike with competitive price, they have an alternative to buying Kreuz,” said Yudi.
Brompton founder and inventor Andrew Ritchie created a prototype of Brompton bike from his bedroom in South Kensington, London.
But, Yudi and Jujun created Kreuz bike after attending a cycling festival where Yudi coincidently saw Brompton bikes. They then disassembled their friend’s Brompton bike to get to know more about all its parts before making the first Kreuz prototype.
“Next year is the time for Kreuz to take off. Hopefully, there will be no more technical problems,” Jujun said.
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