Gayatri and Ulhas Joshi can be called the first couple of cycling in Pune. 'Appa' as he is referred to by his friends is a well known name in the cycling community. In fact, they have so many friends in the Pune cycling community, that almost everyone recognizes 'Appa'!
In 2010 he brought to Pune (and perhaps to India), the first lifestyle cycle store called ‘Lifecycle’. When asked about why he dipped his feet in retailing high end cycles when he already had a business to look after, “To change the perception of cycling” he answered.
In the late 90s the humble cycle had lost its charm in the mindset of urban Punekars. It had become a symbol of resigning hope, a vehicle with zero coolness quotient. Appa and Gayatri who had spent their honeymoon cycling around Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar in 1986, took it upon themselves to revamp the image of cycling. Before the store was even officially launched, Appa had sold 100 cycles of overseas brands. Selling cycles was an ancillary channel to promote cycling amongst urban society.
To set an example themselves, Appa and Gayatri literally pedal everywhere, they can be seen running errands on their bikes or making social calls either on their individual bikes or going “double-seat”. This avid cycling couple celebrated their 25 years of marriage by doing the Ashtavinayak temples tour on the cycle. The list of their cycling trips is long. In India they have managed to explore almost all the states on the cycle. In England they have done a coast-to-coast cycling trip. They have been making the annual cycling pilgrimage to Leh-Khardungla for the last 10 or more years, taking a bunch of other pedalling pilgrims along with them everytime.
In Appa’s words “While many factors can be contributed towards a successful marriage, a successful friendship is the one that stands trials of time, and it’s our common love for cycling that has contributed towards our friendship”, he adds that riding a cycle together gives you control of the speed, gives you space and let’s both the partners partake in the beauty of the journey. According to Appa, cycle is a metaphor for marriage/relationship, 2 wheels - 2 equal partners, while linking the wheels is the frame: life.