The victories of the Carchi ‘Locomotive’ in the grand tours, the participation of other national runners in different tests and the Covid-19 pandemic caused sales of cycling supplies to increase considerably.
The cycling has gained a lot of ground in recent years in Ecuador. More and more professional and amateur athletes take to the country’s roads to train on their ‘iron horse’.
One of the main reasons for this event is the appearance of the carchense Richard Carapazwho has established himself as one of the best cyclists in the world.
Carapaz won the Italy spin in 2019 and caused a boom. Thousands of fans returned to the bicycle as a means of transport or to play sports.
“Since Carapaz’s triumph, there has been a total change in cycling. There are many people who take it as an example and want to start practicing it because it catches their attention,” explains Francisco Guerrero, who works at Bikes UIO, a cycling supply store in Tumbaco.
The Ministry of Transport and Public Works confirmed in its Cycle infrastructure and micromobility manual a fact that was previously published in América Retail by Dagnia Gonzáles.
“In conjunction with the Covid-19 pandemic, it has increased bicycle sales in the country, bicycle businesses in Ecuador report up to 300% more sales”.
In addition, this same document adds an important fact: “In Quito it is estimated that the use of the bicycle went up 600% according to information from the Directorate of Sustainable Transport Modes of the Municipal Mobility Secretariat”
Nine months after Carapaz’s victory in the Giro, the Covid-19 pandemic arrived and that caused people to want to go out and play sports in the open air and the bicycle became one of the favorite items.
The need to acquire bicycles and different equipment and components from different ranges has revolutionized the sports market.
The stores in Quito and the country offer all kinds of articles for amateurs and professionals and for each of the cycling disciplines such as route, mountain, freestyle and others.
Cycling supplies can be found in a wide variety of brands and are distributed at various points for fans of this sport.
Depending on the brands and the needs of the riders, low-end bikes can be found from $400to high-end bikes of about $15,000.
Galo Valencia has been practicing mountain biking since 2007. He says that for his training it is important to have “a safe bicycle, a helmet and protective equipment, as well as lights and comfortable clothing”.
This cyclist owns equipment whose value is approximately $1,500. There are more expensive bikes, but for him, this one meets his needs.
“The main thing that is used is a bicycle, in my case, a mountain bike. It must be a good bicycle, one that is not so expensive and with good elements. The rest is the basics: helmet, goggles, cycling suit with padding to prevent injuries.”
Gabriel Vélez, representative of the GIANT brand in the Bike Shop store, assures that “Ecuador has always been a cycling country, even so, the deployment of cycling was during the pandemic.”
Both in Bikes UIO and in Bike Shop, the items that are sold the most are those of Mountain biking, which takes place on cobblestone paths, dirt or obstacles. Then come the implements for riding the bike lane, asphalt, mobility within the city and routes.
Francisco Guerrero assures that “what people are looking for is equipment for recreation, mobility and mountains. It would be believed that more route equipment is bought, but the mountain equipment is the most sought after”.
The importance of bicycles or equipment, depending on the modality and type of terrain, is vital for the performance and practice of the activity. Cyclists must adapt their bicycles to their conditions to avoid injuries.
From this Saturday the 12th until next November 19th, the 39th edition of the Tour of Ecuador. More runners and fans follow the competition every year. That just goes to show how much attention this sport draws.
The 2023 season will have at least six Ecuadorian runners running in Europe: Richard Carapaz, Alexander Cepeda, Jonathan Caicedo, Jhonatan Narváez, Jefferson Cepeda and Martín López, which will help increase the interest in the so-called ‘steel horse’.
*Written by Carol Vallejo, journalism student at Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
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