A billion bicycles

I have always found it a bit annoying when anyone, especially those in the business world, would tout the China or India markets as so monolithic and homogeneous that the population en masse would buy certain products. “Imagine a billion cars, pairs of sneakers, refrigerators, or bicycles.” I understood the idea that they were trying to get across but the approach seemed just a bit lazy.

There are certain products I will admit that may not reach a billion in sales but maybe will get close, and bicycles are one. Being cost-efficient, environmentally-friendly, and with an already with a significant presence in both China and India, the opportunity to provide even more product to a willing market gives hope to bicycle manufacturers and retailers.

In India, to help the populace get even more excited about the sport of cycling and of course, bicycles themselves, a diverse group of individuals, companies, and organizations came together to host an international cycling event.

Sport18, the sports marketing division of the Network18 group and ID Sports, a sports management company, joined with TI Cycles and the Salman Khan Foundation- Being Human to launch India‘s first ever international cycling event, Mumbai Cyclothon – Tour De Mumbai. Held at Bandra Reclamation on Sunday, February 21, the event coincided with the Mumbai chapter of the BSA Hercules India Cyclothon – Mumbai 2010, a community ride to promote the practice of cycling in the city.

The event was a wonderful example of sports and development and of India’s growing sophistication with respect to sports business overall. Putting together an elite event, tying it with a grassroots movement, incorporating social media and sponsorship to promote and fund the event, and to promote a worthy cause – in this case, cycling and healthy living – reflects a growing appreciation of the commercial and societal power of sport.

To read more about the lead up to the event, please click here.

You can watch a video of the event here. (Note that Salman Khan, Bollywood star, is one of the the forces behind the event, and a focus of the video)