"I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy."
- Rabindranath Tagore
yet defined purpose...
to get people excited to
Location: Do-Drul Chorten,
Gangtok, Sikkim, India
Photo: Shivam Roy
Protagonist: Prateek Singh
In the Summer of 2006, a 12 year old Prateek, who claims of no recollection of his life prior, finds himself on a mountain bike exploring the foothills of the Rajaji National Park, in the Lesser Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India.
This patch of a National Forest happened to be only six kilometers from his Uncle's home, where he was visiting his cousins on Vacation.
The feeling was so profound, he claims
that it was in that moment that he knew
that he must ride bikes.
His family since considers him "lost to the cause".
Born and raised in Calcutta, India. There was not much around where riding a bicycle would be fun. Therefore, he was naturally drawn to the mountains which some of you may be familiar with,
His claim to his greatest achievement in his early life was
"Getting my parents to understand the reasoning behind not getting into Medical School, because, I just wanted to be surrounded by bicycles, ride bicycles, talk bicycles and share the love of this noble machine which allows us to be present entirely in the moment".
West Sikkim, India
2012-2016, alongside his business degree, Prateek did everything he could to get to ride his bike in the mountains,
Making sure that he had fun growing up on his own terms, with the bicycle as a tool to help him with it.
From reconnaissance for mountain bike tours to directing stage races, he was irked by the lack of domestic knowledge on the subject of Mountain Biking and
with his then Mentor, Mesum, Co-Founded MtbMagIndia (Now MtbMagAsia) and by the time the fourth issue was released,
they were getting over 80,000 clicks.
This brought advertisers flocking as well as a community forming around the E-Zine.
Although finding profound pleasure in bringing knowledge to the masses he always believed that they were missing out
on a lot of the sport by limiting the publication to only mountain bikes.
Come 2017, after taking 3 months off his bike and spending some time up North in the Himalayas, an odd acquaintance, who Prateek got his first "real" bike from back in 2011, advised him to get in touch with a bike shop in Hanoi, who were looking for a General Manager.
Intending to get a couple months in a new place, he packed only his mountain bike and headed to Hanoi in September 2017.
Falling in love with the City on his first approach before landing, he was exuberant at the sight of Hanoi's topography and the cycling that it allows.
In November 2014, he parted ways with MTBMagIndia, primarily because of recently falling in love with road cycling and wanting to delve deeper into his "darkside". That was when he initially conceptualized "ridebikes" which initially was intended to be a Cycling Culture Magazine primarily focused on Cycling and not one myopic discipline.
However, Mountain Bike race direction, recon and some very exciting journalism work for Pinkbike.com in India kept him travelling and running the rabbits until the end of 2016.
What was supposed to be a two month trip for a "change" turned into something a bit more serious.
September 2017 - November 2020, THBC - The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is who Prateek represented.
Truly enjoying each day building a bike shop from scratch to cementing their position in the market. All the while satisfying his own hunger for cycling.
An Impasse with the partners related to a misaligned vision and collective "Why" , caused Prateek to momentarily seclude himself and
after much self reflection he decided to bring back his long shelved idea of ridebikes.cc while continuing to do what he finds to be profoundly meaningful work.
Nestled in the Northern Tip of Tay Ho and overlooking the glorious Hanoi skyline,
ridebikes.cc is ideal for pre/post ride stops for cyclists.
It's also equipped to cater to what discerning cyclists need most.
"Living in Hanoi as a cyclist is quite rewarding
I find myself in Hanoi and absolutely in love with the riding available in its
vicinity. Of course it depends on where you're comparing it to.
I've seen countless individuals over the last four years,
turn into "cyclists" in Hanoi because of how much fun riding around here can be.
The topography and roads make it very conducive to road cycling.
Yes, there are obviously (some) risks involved with riding outdoors around here,
but chasing a sunrise in the foothills of Soc Son can also be very magical.
The tragic truth is that many abandon the sport prematurely and primarily
due to reasons such as ill fitting/ wrong purpose/ unreliable / uncomfortable bicycles.
Or worse even a negative initial experience with the sport at the bike shop they choose to visit.
A bike shop is a first interaction, that a person has with the sport ; almost like a gateway, and
therefore, I feel is a huge responsibility for those of us who wish the activity is even
more widely accepted as a lifestyle choice and is practiced safely.
A bicycle is the purest form of freedom, and an undeniable fitness machine. It's an asset
to anyone who owns one.
Buying a bicycle is more like choosing an ideal companion for long hours unlike any other
tools or instruments one may buy for their needs. The long hours of interaction and repetitiveness
of the activity, bicycles need to be tailored to our anatomy as no two people are anatomically alike.
Every curious customer deserves to have their needs deeply understood and then
be thoroughly educated in order to be able to make a well informed decision.
And seeing someone new embrace the sport and enjoy cycling
is what makes us go giddy inside." - Prateek