What you need to know about bike modifications in Nagpur
NAGPUR, India – A bike has become an essential part of life for some in Nagpur district of India.
The community in the city of 2.5 million is accustomed to seeing bicycles at festivals and weddings.
But now it has its own version of the bike: the “bike mod”.
Its owner has built the bike from scratch and its been on display in the local markets since February.
“The main purpose is to show that this is something that can be done,” said Jitendra Sharma, who owns a bike repair shop in Nagpal and is also a regular on the streets.
His shop is just a few kilometres away from the bustling market in which the “bikeshare” bike stands alongside bicycles that can cost up to Rs500 ($4).
The idea is to give the locals a chance to get on with it and also to give them something to do.
Roughly 15,000 bicycles are registered in the district, said Shashi Bhatt, a bike mechanic and a regular at the markets.
Most are imported from neighbouring states like Bihar, Rajasthan and Karnataka, but also locals from other parts of India have built bikes from scratch.
Sharma said the idea was born from his frustration that many local youths do not even have access to a bicycle.
A typical bike in Nagpupur is about three metres long, he said.
People often buy them at the market to give to relatives or to share with friends.
There are some restrictions though.
The bikes are limited to two metres in width and they cannot go more than 10 metres before they need to be removed.
It is not clear how many of the bikes are sold to the public, but most of them are rented by people who rent them out for small payments.
Even though many of them were bought by friends or relatives, the bikes cost the community more than Rs500 per year, Sharma said.
“When the bike is repaired, it has to be repaired by a mechanic of his choice,” he said, adding that people pay him Rs300 to repair the bike.
Once the bike has been repaired, a sticker is placed on it stating that the bike will be given to a person of good standing.
As it stands, Sharma and his staff repair bikes to keep the community’s economy going.
Every two months, he sells the bikes to the vendors at the local market, but some of the rental bikes are also available at his shop.
Bikes are usually repaired for about Rs30 each, said Sharma.
For many, this is a way to get off the beaten path and give back to the community that has lost the benefits of the roads.
They often bring their own tools and equipment to fix the bikes, and it helps the community keep a running balance between them and the other bikes.
Kashmir is one of the largest communities in India.
But since it was partitioned in 1947, there has been a gradual decline in the number of cyclists in Nagaland.
In Nagpur, the population has dwindled to about 1.2 million from 2.6 million in 2011.
About 60% of the city’s residents are poor and many of those who live in the poor sections of Nagpur are members of the Muslim community, said Sarvesh Kumar, the community organiser in Nagpel.
However, a small group of the community has started to ride bikes again.
At a market in Nagwal, Kumar said the community members used to sell the bikes at a cost of Rs30 a month.
Now, they pay around Rs100 ($2).
“This has come from the need of the hour,” Kumar said.
Bicycles and bike parts are part of everyday life for the residents of Nagpurs villages.
Many of them have also joined the local bike repair shops and are getting their bikes repaired by professional mechanics.
“A bike repair business is the biggest business in Nagbaland,” said Dinesh Kumar.
He said the bikes he sells are also being used in the community-run bike shops.
On the outskirts of Nagpal, there are some bikes in the workshop of the shop owner, Dineshar Kumar.
It is the shop where he keeps his bikes.
The shop is a small business with about 40 bikes in stock, he told Al Jazeera.
He said that his family and his children are avid riders.
“Every Sunday, I go out to the markets with the bikes in hand to see how much the community wants,” he added.
According to Dinesha, a mechanic from a nearby village, the cycle repair shops have been a good source of income for the community.
‘Riding bikes is not the only way’Bikes have been an important part of people’s lives for years.
Since the partition of the state in 1947 in 1947 and after the partition in