Q&A: A visitor’s perspective on India’s shifting bike scene

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Far from home: Bangalore bike shop entrepreneur
Pavan Muthanna on N. Williams this week.
(Photos © M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Pavan Muthanna starts his story in a way that a lot of Portland bike shop owners would recognize — maybe a lot of Portlanders in general.

“I decided that I hated my corporate job,” said Muthanna, 40. “And I quit it.”

Today, the eleven-month-old, five-employee shop that Muthanna launched afterward is one of a handful of commuter-owned bike stores that are feeding a “movement” in Bangalore that he said is new to his native city (metro area population 8.5 million, something like the size of Chicago’s): the idea that bicycles are something you use for transportation not because you have to, but because you want to.

With one week left in his course at Portland’s United Bicycle Institute, Muthanna sat down with BikePortland to have a drink and talk about intersections, helmets, auto parking prices and other oddly familiar topics from a perspective I’d never heard before.

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