An employee at Bike World in Mandalay shows
off the shop’s stock of high-quality mountain bikes.
Pic: Minh Zaw
A NEW bicycle shop in Mandalay is offering high-end mountain
bikes to well-heeled enthusiasts. Bike World is causing comment
even in bike-happy Mandalay for the price tags fixed to some of
its American-branded machines, imported from China and Taiwan.
Cycles at Bike World can go for between K400,000 and K4 million,
fabulous sums for most Myanmar, in a country where a workhorse
bike can give a decade of service for K100,000to K200,000.
“A few people come and see. They usually ask about used
bikes rather than buying a new one because they want to start
riding with the cheapest one,” said Ko Myo Lay, a bike mechanic
at the shop.
The shop is actually a new branch of the Bike World shop opened
late last year in Yangon by a mixed group of local cyclists.
Until now, anyone wanting to buy a high-end bicycle would find
one on the internet and ask a friend to buy and deliver it here,
sight unseen. “We didn’t have the chance to go to
a shop and look at the bikes before buying. But now we can choose
what we like and, better still, some parts are even available,”
said U Maung Maung Htwe, 60, a member of the Northern Star Cycling
Club, who was browsing in Bike World.
What more do you get when you buy an expensive bike instead
of a cheap one? “These bikes are especially good because
of the research that goes into them. You can ride on them for
longer. They are made of lighter materials, and they climb better,”
explained Ko Shwe Thwe, a member of the Mandalay Bike Adventure
Club, which has 50 members.
“Our club has increased its membership. Most are businessmen,
so they can afford high-priced bikes. I hope our club will attract
more members now that bikes are available here,” said Ko
Every morning, cyclists from two Mandalay clubs gather in front
of City Hall and set off around the ancient palace as pedestrians
look on. “People are interested in riding mountain bikes
instead of racing bicycles, as in the past,” said Ko Shwe
“Now that we have a mountain bike shop here, more people
might be attracted to cycling,” he added.
Bike World is located in the Nan Yadana Building on 37th Streets,
between 78th and 79th streets, in Maha Aung Myay township.