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The Brain Behind The Bamboo Pedalling
What if I have a dream and I am unable to make it happen because of lack of finances? What if I have a larger than life thoughts but resources are nil? What if there is no support system and I'm all alone in the struggle? Will I step back? Will I just give up on my dream?
"NO", says Abhijit Samant, the founder of Grascycles.
An innovator, designer and an entrepreneur whose strife is to make the impossible, POSSIBLE:
A dream - a dream that requires lot more than what is available. The dream of Abhijit Samant is to become a professional Cyclist. So what does a professional Cyclist need?
The best quality racing bicycle.
The Problem :
Having a race quality bicycle in hand is not within the limits of available finances and resources for Abhijit. No company in India made such customised bicycles and one has to import it which is a big-ticket for common people like him. If the situation is like this, what would the professional athletes do? Should their dreams turn into ash?
"If I can't afford what's available outside, I will create one", thought Abhijit and he started designing his own bicycles.
Designing a durable, lightweight and affordable race quality bicycle is the challenge in front of Abhijit now. Along with choosing proper frame material, tubing forms another huddle in the path. The material required to build a lightweight and strong bicycle is not available in India and one needs to procure it from companies like Columbus and Reynolds which is again quite uneconomical. Thus he built cycles with construction grade tubing. But this made the bicycles heavy.
A Ray Of Hope :
While he was brainstorming for ideas to build a bicycle that meets the requirements, he saw a dog playing with a bamboo stick. BOOM!! He found that the stick was strong and tough as well as light in weight. He started his research on using Bamboo as the prerequisite material for his cycle. He found that bamboo is still, durable, light and most importantly he can grow it in his backyard.
Why BAMBOO in Bicycles?
Bamboo is resistant to shock and vibration. Bamboo frames, if damaged, unlike other metal parts, can be easily repaired at minimal cost. Bamboo is sustainable as compared to other metals. The fatigue life of bamboo exceeds steel or aluminium. The production process of bamboo bicycle frames is environment-friendly because Bamboo absorbs carbon-dioxide during its growth.
As We Go Further...
To manufacture something that breaks the convention, it requires a lot of mental and physical effort. Also, wise planning and management is necessary to utilise the available resources to the fullest. Pooling up funds is the first thing that Abhijit has to do in order to give his thought a shape. But, as it is not a well-trusted conventional project that promises desired output and profits, banks would not come forward to provide loans. So what's the next option?
To pool up the funds, firstly Abhijit calculated the different aspects he has to deal with in his new start-up.
- 25% of the funds should be allocated towards the plantation and maintenance of a bamboo field.
- 50% of the funds are to be kept aside for manufacturing the frames using the best tooling techniques.
- 25% of the funds will go towards paying the wages, buying other supplies like hemp, aluminium inserts etc.
So, if it's not happening through banks and financial organisations, how are they pooling up funds for all the above?
To achieve the output, Abhijit took to his supporters instead of banks. He created enthusiasm and interest regarding his project among people and gathered immense support. Through this, he achieved the required funding.
A Ride that meets all the requirements:
Having been building bamboo bikes for the past 8 years, Abhijit has gained hands on experience in the area. He has been building bikes for the professional athletes for the past two years now. While the bamboo frame costs Rs.15000, the rest of the components can be fitted according to the customer's taste. Unlike steel or aluminium tubing, a customer can select a piece of bamboo with desired thickness and diameter based on his riding style. Not just the bamboo ones, if a customer insists upon, he prepares a wide range of frames including aluminium and carbon-fibre. All the frames are available on a custom-only, made-to-order basis according to the rider's measurements and his riding objectives. So, it's all about the preferences of his customer king.
Upcoming Plans :
Very soon, Abhijit is going to launch certain new products that have stock geometries and at a much cheaper price. A “BUILD IT YOUR SELF” kit is brought up that has all the materials to self build a bike. Bamboo is the future says this Bamboo Man.
If Opportunity Doesn't Knock, Create One :
One thing is clear from the story of this phenomenal personality -"If the door in your way doesn't open, build one on your own" . We wish many young minds of this sort bloom and give way to many more.
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