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  1. #1
    Bicycle Adventurer banjo_mole's Avatar
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    Cycling seems dead.

    If not everywhere, than certainly here. This is my theory:

    Cycling today is dead because people think,

    "Oh, I'd like a bicycle to ride to work/school/etc."

    They go to dept. store X and buy some *** welded 40lb steel monster that's out of adjustment for $100. It's a mountain bike, by the way, because road bikes are usually not there, or look "too unconfortable and twitchy."

    It is slow, hard as hell to pedal, and out of adjustment. Saddle's too low. Miserable. It gets lost, thrown away, or never ridden.

    Road bikes were the standard bicycle until the MTB boom. People could cycle transportively.

    The development of the MTB killed any remaining transportational cycling in america.

    The lack of affordable road bikes for the youth keeps youth interest in cycling minimal.

    And no one rides bikes. Kids drive everywhere at 16.

    This is my theory, it makes me sad.

    I wish a company could start making affordable lugged steel bikes again, a la Scwhinn or Univega.

    What do you think?

    -Banjoi

  2. #2
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    I think it has nothing to do with heavy ass toy store bikes and everything to do with lazy ass young people, all the ones I know do nothing but play video games on their days off! I know of a few in their early to mid 20's that are already seperated from their wives and kids because of it.
    Last edited by ilikebikes; 10-05-09 at 06:55 PM.
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  3. #3
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    awwwww more broad sweeping generalizations about us young whipper snappers?

    i blame a lack of inspiring events. when i was a kid, we'd go watch the tour dupont roll through. I fondly remember waking up early one morning and going out and meeting the riders. oh and skipping school to do so, but that was just icing on the cake. there aren't any events like that anymore where i live, and really not many young riders either.

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    You make it seem as if during the period that road bikes were standard that they were all nice. There were plenty of crappy bikes that nobody wanted to ride back then too, they just had skinnier tires.
    1988 Miele Azsora

  5. #5
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    i ride a bicycle now BECAUSE of the mountain bikes i had while i was growing up. my friends all had fourwheelers or dirt bikes, but all my family could afford was a X store mountain bike. i rode all over with my friends, and it sucked sometimes. but when college rolled around and i needed a way to get from one end of campus to the other in 10 minutes, without paying a $70 per semester parking fee, i knew exactly what i was going to ride: a mountain bike. being able to go down stairs, hop curbs, ride across grass, and generally throw around where all criteria on my list. i still have that mountain bike, but now i have a hybrid when i need to go places in town (see sig) and i'm in a riding mood.
    i routinely ride my bicycle to purchase video games or to attend a LAN party at a friends house. oh snap.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Adventurer banjo_mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilikebikes View Post
    I think it has nothing to do with heavy ass toy store bikes and everything to do with lazy ass young people, all the ones I know do nothing but play video games on their days off! I know of a few in their early to mid 20's that are already seperated from their wives and kids because of it.
    Chicken, or the egg, friend? I am 20. We live in a society that markets and pushes consumerism, and steel bikes aren't where that's at. Carbon at least fails. Video games and computers are always changing.

    Kids aren't lazy. I'm sick of that excuse. They've been put into a place where there is nothing else to do- I know, I'm young. It's only gotten worse. We've torn down the rope swings, fenced off the frog creeks, and told children that it's too dangerous. We have been so concerned with "safety" that the traditional adventures no longer exist. Your childhood, along with most of those of older people here, is gone, replaced with a constantly fearful group of parents - when you went out for a day as a kid, was your mom constantly worried about a boogeymanchildmolester coming and getting you? No. People weren't whipped into fear then. They were free from that. Kids today live in a world of boogeymen and slow bicycles, and parks, no creek or tunnels or rivers or fields, just public parks and movie theaters.

    I love adventure, and spend my time hiking and usually hopping some fences. Climbing some trees. Exploring old tunnels and bridges and buildings. And I love the old things. I let people try it with me, people my age that sit and play video games- guess what? They fall in love with it, once they swallow their fear and tell their parents they won't get raped. And life is good.

    So let's not blame it on lazy young people. I'm tired of that.
    Let's look for alternatives, such as young people being forced into boredom for their own good.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    There was a time in the middle to late 70's when almost every highschool kid had a "ten speed" bike. At that age, none of my classmates and friends cared what brand it was, where it was built, if it weighed 40+ pounds, have turkey leg brake handles and no waterbottle cage, it was fast enough for us kids back then and that was all that mattered. You have to put it into perspective in what time frame it was and what was really available to most kids in most of the country. Not everyone back then was a weight weenie or cared about CrMo tubing or Italian bikes. A ten speed was a ten speed. Now with all the information available to everyone to the far corners of the world, everyone is detail oriented and is only interested in what's the latest or the best and if it's not affordable, they just go to some other hobby or sport that they can afford.....that's why biking, Road biking in particular seems to be less popular these days. Heck, you go into most biking forums these days and if you dont have a stitch of CF on your bike you are just mostly ignored and told to go over to some C&V forum to talk to older steel bike fans instead.........and remember to take that boat anchor 19+ pound steel bike with you on your way out! >:^P..... ;^)

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    Last edited by Chombi; 10-05-09 at 07:28 PM.

  8. #8
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    The low end road bikes back in the 70's and 80's were horrible, most of them ended up with gears and chains rusted in place and cables frozen in their housings. They ended up unsafe and unused. When Mountain bikes were introduced they offered a relatively practical vehicle that was more weather-proof and safer to ride for most people. Mountain bikes could be ridden off road (gravel shoulders) on uneven terrain safely, in an upright, comfortable (for most non-riders) position.
    I believe mountain bikes made cycling more accessible and easier for a wider range of people.
    Lots of road riders got into the sport via mountain biking, it was a natural progression when they started riding on the road and realized fat tires just don't cut it on pavement.
    Cycling as a sport has had many booms and busts over the last century, the latest road bike boom in America can probably be attributed to non other than Lance. Watch what happens if he wins the TDF next year.

  9. #9
    Bicycle Adventurer banjo_mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgotsjets View Post
    You make it seem as if during the period that road bikes were standard that they were all nice. There were plenty of crappy bikes that nobody wanted to ride back then too, they just had skinnier tires.
    I"ll take a nos varsity over this:


    But that's just me.

    I want to revive the entry-level "ten-speed" road bike.

    My theory is if cycling can be made fast and efficient, and availaible again, and at a respectable price, people will ride again. Bikes can stop being seen as "toys" in the US.

    What do y'all think?

  10. #10
    Junior Mint
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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    Road bikes were the standard bicycle until the MTB boom. People could cycle transportively.
    i
    You mean, road bikes like these?

    http://www.nostalgic.net/

    Oh man, you're making wish I still had my Chopper!

  11. #11
    Я люблю суп abarth's Avatar
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    Here is how you get the kids to start riding. Change the rule of cycling competition so there are more winners than losers. All professional riders get pay 7 figures a year. Also help if some of the riders date stars from Hollywood. Or we can just rise the price of gas to $30/gallon. That's just my opinion.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    We have been so concerned with "safety" that the traditional adventures no longer exist. Your childhood, along with most of those of older people here, is gone, replaced with a constantly fearful group of parents - when you went out for a day as a kid, was your mom constantly worried about a boogeymanchildmolester coming and getting you? No. People weren't whipped into fear then. They were free from that. Kids today live in a world of boogeymen and slow bicycles, and parks, no creek or tunnels or rivers or fields, just public parks and movie theaters.
    I too think this is part of the problem. It just amazes me when I hear people (parents) who live deep in the safe safe safe suburbs act like if the kids play in the front yard, let alone in the woods somewhere, are going to be stolen and have god knows what done to them.

    On the other hand, I see a lot of younger people riding bikes on the towpath and trails --

  13. #13
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    I want to revive the entry-level "ten-speed" road bike.
    Ask an ye shall receive. Wal-Mart offers the revived Varsity for $230: http://www.walmart.com/Schwinn-700c-...ike/ip/4698938



    Actually, in the last several years, more practical bicycles have been making their way into the mainstream market as commuting has picked up in many areas. Check out the Rivendell website and the iBOB list for a pick-me-up. Yeah, it's still a small community, but I think it's growing.

  14. #14
    Ellensburg, WA scozim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    Kids aren't lazy. I'm sick of that excuse. They've been put into a place where there is nothing else to do- I know, I'm young. It's only gotten worse. We've torn down the rope swings, fenced off the frog creeks, and told children that it's too dangerous. We have been so concerned with "safety" that the traditional adventures no longer exist. Your childhood, along with most of those of older people here, is gone, replaced with a constantly fearful group of parents - when you went out for a day as a kid, was your mom constantly worried about a boogeymanchildmolester coming and getting you? No. People weren't whipped into fear then. They were free from that. Kids today live in a world of boogeymen and slow bicycles, and parks, no creek or tunnels or rivers or fields, just public parks and movie theaters.

    I love adventure, and spend my time hiking and usually hopping some fences. Climbing some trees. Exploring old tunnels and bridges and buildings. And I love the old things. I let people try it with me, people my age that sit and play video games- guess what? They fall in love with it, once they swallow their fear and tell their parents they won't get raped. And life is good.

    So let's not blame it on lazy young people. I'm tired of that.
    Let's look for alternatives, such as young people being forced into boredom for their own good.
    It's a discussion that will probably never have a good answer because of the societal changes we have gone through.

    I think a lot depends on where you live. We're in a small college town and there are cyclists everywhere. Doesn't hurt that the college cycling team opens up their Saturday group ride for the local folks.

    When I lived in Seattle - one of the cycling mecca's in the U.S. according to a lot of people - I wouldn't ride unless I was on an urban trail. I was used to open back country roads where you were lucky to see four autos in 30 miles. The traffic freaked me out in the metro area and I didn't trust the drivers.

    Parents are freaked out about psycopaths running loose on the streets and don't let their kids out as much. Heck, a parent back east was arrested for letting their 10 yo walk to practice after school. The police said they were endangering their child because there was the "potential" for the child to be kidnapped. What the heck has happened to us? My brother and I used to take that beat up, old yellow Schwinn 10 speed and ride the back gravel roads exploring old abandoned farm houses. We'd be gone for hours on end and my mom never worried - and we didn't have a cell phone to call and let her know where we were. It was awesome fun for my brother and I, but I don't think my kids would get it.

    Bottom line there are way too many distractions today combined with paranoia about perceived safety. Our society has to have everything in an instant and cycling doesn't fit that model. It's not being lazy per se - just too many options. 25 yrs ago when I was in college our basketball games were standing room only. That's all we had to look forward to - there was no internet, cell phone, texting, etc. (and Pong was just too boring). Now, when I take my kids to the same college basketball games you're lucky to see 50-60% of the stands full.

    Cycling has now become just another option vs. one of the main sources of having fun. It's up to us to instill the excitement and passion for the sport in those around us.
    1984 Gitane Sprint; 1984 Gitane Tour de France;1982 Trek 610; 1980's Univega Supra Sport (fixie); 1975 Teledyne Titan; 1968 Peugeot PL8; ;1982 Nishiki Marina 12; 1972 Peugeot PX-10; 1987 Trek 800 Antelope (touring/commuting set up); 1981 Trek 510; 1993 Trek 950 mtb; 1996 Klein Pulse II mtb; 1997 Klein Pulse Comp mtb; 1989 Peugeot Limestone hybrid (for touring); 1989 Spectrum Titanium

  15. #15
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    No doubt, many kids are hard-wired w/ chips these days. Our kids are perpetual motion machines though. They'd probably play every sport they could if their parents could drive them there fast enough. They did try Junior racing this summer and did pretty well. And horrors, they are building a single speed Surly Cross Check for next year's cross season. Too late for this year thank goodness. Dad can't keep up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    If not everywhere, than certainly here. This is my theory:

    Cycling today is dead because people think,

    "Oh, I'd like a bicycle to ride to work/school/etc."

    They go to dept. store X and buy some *** welded 40lb steel monster that's out of adjustment for $100. It's a mountain bike, by the way, because road bikes are usually not there, or look "too unconfortable and twitchy."

    It is slow, hard as hell to pedal, and out of adjustment. Saddle's too low. Miserable. It gets lost, thrown away, or never ridden.

    Road bikes were the standard bicycle until the MTB boom.

    "road bikes" is a relative term Free spirits and huffys were the most popular bikes of the "bike-boom" era and they had all the problems you get with a department store bike today.

    People will always buy bikes that are inappropriate for their purposes. Lots of people who have never ridden a bike before are buying "craigslist special" schwinn varsities converted to brakeless fixies to commute on whereas ten years ago that same person might have bought a mountain bike. I'd say a mountain bike is much more well suited to this task.

    Cycling is a lot more popular now than it was 10 years ago. It all has to do with the culture. The general acceptance of cycling culture as well as the infrastructure to make make cycle-commuting safe and easy.


    Portland is a great example of somewhere where cycling isn't dead. It seems like everyone there jockeys a bicycle.

  17. #17
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    pop down into the commuting section here and read the school thread where some kids are not allowed to bicycle to school. Then jump up to A&S and have a field day. And plenty of people commute to work on a MTB, plenty of C&V folks seek out old MTB to convert into commuters. I could ramble on but I just picked up a repainted Centurion Ironman this weekend that fits me, and a Zebrakenko tonight at a thrift shop that also seems to fit well, so I'd rather think about them than the slow state of cycling. Blame it on the economy.... (slowly drifting into P&R.... )

  18. #18
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Specialized just introduced this "timeless classic" or "throwback" $610 steel road bike with downtube shifters, and I hope they sell tons of 'em. Maybe some of the other manufacturers will get the hint.

    Specialized Allez Double Steel



    Sure, it's TIG'd instead of lugged, but I can get past that.

    There's a Langster Steel pista for $660 too.
    - Stan

  19. #19
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    It has a lot to do with the parents. Let your kids out, let them explore, let them walk to school.
    Statistically it's safer for them to be out on their own now than it was 30 years ago. Set an example for your kids, get active.
    The world is a dangerous place, we're all going to die...someday, in the meantime get out there and enjoy life. What are we saving ourselves for? It doesn't get easier to ride when you're old...trust me.

  20. #20
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Yep - the parents drill paranoia into the brains of the kids. Contemplate having the police fingerprint Little Egbert. And the kid is stuck at home. With video-games. Little Egbert swells up like balloon from lack of exercise. But he can zap the mutant's faster than anyone! Oh boy! Little Egbert is one gigantic butt with little arms & legs.

    But he's safe.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  21. #21
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    Kids drive everywhere at 16.
    ^ This. And nothing more. My hope is that this current economic downturn results in permanent changes regarding transportation, but I doubt it.

    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    Oh yeah, and this ^ too. That's ugly enough to put anyone off cycling.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  22. #22
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banjo_mole View Post
    Chicken, or the egg, friend? I am 20. We live in a society that markets and pushes consumerism, and steel bikes aren't where that's at. Carbon at least fails. Video games and computers are always changing.

    Kids aren't lazy. I'm sick of that excuse. They've been put into a place where there is nothing else to do- I know, I'm young. It's only gotten worse. We've torn down the rope swings, fenced off the frog creeks, and told children that it's too dangerous. We have been so concerned with "safety" that the traditional adventures no longer exist. Your childhood, along with most of those of older people here, is gone, replaced with a constantly fearful group of parents - when you went out for a day as a kid, was your mom constantly worried about a boogeymanchildmolester coming and getting you? No. People weren't whipped into fear then. They were free from that. Kids today live in a world of boogeymen and slow bicycles, and parks, no creek or tunnels or rivers or fields, just public parks and movie theaters.

    I love adventure, and spend my time hiking and usually hopping some fences. Climbing some trees. Exploring old tunnels and bridges and buildings. And I love the old things. I let people try it with me, people my age that sit and play video games- guess what? They fall in love with it, once they swallow their fear and tell their parents they won't get raped. And life is good.

    So let's not blame it on lazy young people. I'm tired of that.
    Let's look for alternatives, such as young people being forced into boredom for their own good.
    I really don't believe all that stuff I posted about young people. Everytime I ride 90% of the cyclist I see on the road are young! I just wanted to see what you youngsters had to say about this post is all. Mission accomplished!
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  23. #23
    Senior Member jebensch's Avatar
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    I've watched the number of commuting cyclists here in NYC increase ten-fold over the 8-odd years I've been here. It's excellent. And with it, cycling advocacy and safety. When I was a little kid, all the cool kids had Haros and Mongoose BMXs, and there were plenty of steel road bikes being made. Ten-speeds were for dorks.

    I'll place my egregiously unscholarly blame on the rise of the ex-urbs. Why ride a bike when there's nothing to get to and only fast-moving semi-highways to get there.
    Steel-loving cheapskate

    www.jessebenjamin.blogspot.com

  24. #24
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
    Specialized just introduced this "timeless classic" or "throwback" $610 steel road bike with downtube shifters, and I hope they sell tons of 'em. Maybe some of the other manufacturers will get the hint.

    Specialized Allez Double Steel



    Sure, it's TIG'd instead of lugged, but I can get past that.

    There's a Langster Steel pista for $660 too.
    Ooooooooo! Purrtaful! 'cept for that damned ugly ass stem! Someones gotta invent one of those threadless stems that looks like a quill stem!
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  25. #25
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    i partially blame municipalities and governments. virginia has a rule that all new road construction is to include a bike path. They don't typically include them, can't seem to even follow their own rules.

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