Pooja Vijay was born and brought up in Jaipur – the “Pink City” of India. She comes from a family of lawyers and advocates. While growing up through her school and college years, cycling was a major hobby and a source of recreation for Pooja; she often used to go on long bicycle rides with her friends to explore various parts of the city.
After completing her B.Com and LLB from the University of Rajasthan, Pooja worked for 4+ years with few corporates like Genpact and Infosys. Around Diwali of 2016, Pooja came across the news of a massive air pollution surge in Delhi, wherein the air quality of the national capital region had deteriorated drastically and Delhiites were gasping for breath. This shocking incident got Pooja thinking about what she could do to save her own city (Jaipur) from the potential burden of excessive air pollution in the near future, and promoting ‘cycling’ at scale was the only feasible solution that came to her mind!
To bring her idea to action, Pooja quit her job and started her bootstrapped venture ‘Pink Pedals’ in July 2017, as a unique social initiative promoting the healthy and sustainable “culture of cycling” among people from all age groups. Pink Pedals provides high-quality cycles on rent at nominal charges, thus encouraging its customers to form “cycling as a habit” and spreading the message – “Cycles on Rent, Good Health Permanent”. Apart from cycle rentals, the company also offers Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) services in Jaipur, organizes corporate cycling events and Cyclothons, etc., as well as arranges customized guided city cycling tours for the visitors/tourists of Jaipur. The name ‘Pink Pedals’ was given as a tribute to the ‘Pink City’ (and ‘Pedals’ since it represents ‘cycling’).
From initially having a fleet of only 3 cycles and a team of 2 employees, Pink Pedals has today curated a fleet of over 300-odd cycles, including cycles for kids, Tandem cycles (2-seater cycles for adults/couples), Cruiser bicycles (for older adults/senior citizens), and so on, and the team size has grown to 10+ people right now. As per data collected till March 2021, Pink Pedals’ cycles have covered a distance of more than 7 lakh kilometers, and over 2 lakh people have used these cycles!
Speaking about the ups and downs of her entrepreneurial journey, Pooja Vijay, Founder, Pink Pedals says, “In the initial stages, it was an uphill task to persuade people to pay for bicycles. With the extreme climate in Jaipur, most people were also hesitant to ride. However, as we at Pink Pedals kept on conducting various events and exhibitions etc. across Jaipur showcasing the importance and health benefits of cycling, the word started spreading and more and more people came to us for experiencing our high-quality fleet of bicycles. In my opinion, cycling should be viewed as an essential life skill and as a necessity (instead of luxury) for people of all age groups to stay fit and to protect our environment over the longer term.”
In recognition of her passion and consistent efforts to promote cycling in the “Pink City”, Pooja was conferred the honorary title of “Bicycle Mayor of Jaipur” by Netherlands-based social enterprise BYCS in 2019. Pooja has also been a part of Project Her&Now’s entrepreneurship support programme, Jaipur in 2020, which helped her immensely to create and follow a sustainable roadmap for Pink Pedals, post-pandemic. ‘Her&Now – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs’, is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Government of India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). In Jaipur and in other areas of Rajasthan, the Project is running in partnership with Startup Oasis.
Speaking about her association with Project Her&Now, Pooja Vijay says, “Being a part of the Her&Now programme helped us to gain the much-needed business momentum after the pandemic, thanks to the planning and financial assistance by GIZ and Her&Now. The mentors at Her&Now were kind and supportive, and constantly nurtured the mentees to get the best out of every one of them. Also, the programme helped me personally to get in touch and network with many like-minded women entrepreneurs, thus giving me a motivational boost from the inside. I am extremely grateful and happy to be a Her&Now entrepreneur.”
Pooja – who is also the mother to a 6-year-old daughter – is on an unputdownable mission to pave the way towards sustainable mobility and a cleaner and greener environment for the future generations via cycling. In the years to come, she wants to take her venture Pink Pedals pan-India, thereby furthering the unique “cycling-based lifestyle revolution” – which has been started by her from the “Pink City” – beyond the boundaries of Jaipur, to every nook and corner of our country.