I wrote this for @moneycontrolcom and the inspiration came from my brother. More than a decade after he left high school, he invested in a bicycle. This reminded me of our favourite wheels as children — Atlas cycles.
COVID-19 and the restrictions it imposed had clearly tested the patience of thousands like him who had had enough of indoor workouts, and thought cycling outdoors was a better way to burn calories. Sadly, Atlas cycles shut shop last year. The company is out of the market at a time consumer demand has boomed and the humble bicycle has made a fierce comeback.
The pandemic has induced changes in customer behaviour and preferences and the surge for the demand in bicycles is a global trend. This reminded me of the British bicycle mania in history when Britain saw a rapid increase in the number of registered cycle manufacturers. Check out @wquinn05 ‘s excellent working paper for @QUCEHBelfast which offered me great insights for the piece: http://quceh.org.uk/uploads/1/0/5/5/10558478/wp16-06.pdf
Demand leads to innovation. Will it for India where bicycle production is second only to China? I learnt a great deal from Sudev Sheth’s paper on small businesses who used history to leverage their brands. A summary of the paper is here https://linkedin.com/pulse/tapping-history-how-empty-mills-leapfrogging-todays-global-sheth/
Some of the innovation has already begun and there isn’t a better time for Atlas to come riding back into the boom. Read the full piece here:
You could download the piece below.
Also, for a learned deep-dive into the British Bicycle mania and other booms and busts in history, do read @ProfJohnTurner @wquinn05 ‘s @BoomBustBubbles. Book available here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boom-Bust-History-Financial-Bubbles/dp/1108421253
That’s it for now, back again with more. Watch this space or follow @econhistorienne @moneycontrolcom.
Enjoy your Sunday,