True... actual bicycle stats can be hard to gather... or have faith in. I know membership in my local bicycle club has fallen. Many in the club blame that on the average age of membership.... and members dying off. I see less numbers of cyclist on the MUPs in my local area (and more joggers).
Cycling popularity has always had highs... and lows. I don't think/feel that cycling is experiencing a low. But the peak in cycling interest as a sport in the eyes of the general public has seriously waned since the very public drug/cycling scandal. Losing such a notable America champion of the sport to public ridicule hurts the sport.
I think obesity is the enemy of car free society's! And we had cars decades before we had this obesity problem. While the exercise of walking and cycling could help resolve the problem.... I don't see that happening on a mass scale.
As the average weight (for Adult Americans) continues to rise.... outdoor sports and activities will fall in popularity with the general public. And the typical car will move closer to being a SUV.
How about encouraging overweight people to walk and cycle more? Is that too radical a concept?
*Or perhaps the second most obese. I'm told West Virginia may have overtaken you.
Actually Mississippi is one of the very few states in America I have NOT even visited. I am actually from a supposedly "thin" state.
All humans see the world with a prejudiced view of sorts. I am perfectly "average" in that regard. Nothing particularly negative or of a critical manner in my perspective. Is "encouraging" an effective treatment for obesity? If that's so... we should be able to resolve that problem by spring.... I would guess.
My Dad used to have a crude little saying about wishing.... and filling a hand (in competition with a bodily function). His point being that: Wishing, pretending, hoping and dreaming.... are ineffective as tools for accomplishment or change. I am too old to take up kidding myself about what changes are or aren't taking place.... or why.
However.... on a new spur (about 2 miles long) that terminates at a local university I see bunches of walkers.... although rarely another cyclist. Interestingly... the university has a free loaner bicycle program. Yet I've only seen two such "loaner bicycles". And although the school is very much located in a city... the students seem to prefer mountain bicycles. I've seen bunches of quality mtn bikes on campus.
It seems to me that most of the cyclist I see on the street are ether youthful or other old retired men like myself. Although I am out and about enough I see every demographic. But I'd guess one of the larger demographics... old men... may be a fading demographic. Just a guess.... would be areas with growing populations would have a younger cycling base. I've only seen a handful of youths on fixies or fixie-like bicycles.
I believe... a hundred years from now... people will still see bicycles on the streets that are very similar to the ones we see today. Or at least... I sure hope so. I regularly ride by one of the homes owned by the Wright Brothers (when they operated the bicycle shop). I like knowing I bicycle on the same streets where the inventors of the airplane... rode their handmade bicycles.
We also have an advocacy group with a website at work, and people can post their rides as kind of a fun/informal way to track who has the most miles/tripes/commuter days. It has consistently increased year after year, and I think last year we broke 100k total miles for the first time.
GodsBassist are you named after Lemmy?
One thing that does give me pause, though, is this: most of my tween students, and virtually all of their high school-age siblings and friends, would rather not be seen riding a bike. It's just not socially acceptable at that age, even in Seattle. (The quad of the high school near my house has a small bike rack, and on any given day it's totally empty.) My own observations confirm this: bicycle riders here are either college-age, middle-aged, or healthy elderly people. I don't have any hard, data, but my guess is that the most heavily represented bicycling demographic is males between the ages of 35 and 50. This next-generation antipathy, or at least indifference, to bicycles does not bode well for the future...
I'm sure there are much lower concentrations here compared to Seattle. I concur on the age group observations you reported. I do see a few teen riders--usually boys on BMX bikes, but also girls riding together on fitness bikes and pink cruisers. But I find the numbers to be lower than the adult riders. I don't think anybody at my grandson's high school rides to school. Students, that is. My grandson says that a few teachers commute by bike.
But overall, I see at least a doubling of transportation-type cyclists compared to 10 years ago.
However, there are also many more women into transportational riding. Which tells me it is a practical solution, not a passing fad.
Younger people? I'd have to say there still are quite a few young people who ride... as the cycling culture here is very strong and a lot of social activities (drinking, eating, parties...) revolve around bicycles. For example my son's gf mentioned that she has a circle of friends who often bar hop on bicycles. This is easy to do as most of the new brew pubs are located on bike trails or near them.
I'm hoping to start some bike-related social events here soon. Come this spring I am starting with a get-together-and-ride 12 mile spin. Not long at all, and not a very hard route - well suited for everyone.
I think the only "bike organization" around here is Pax Velo and a couple small racing groups. No thanks.
A survey in Toronto showed a big jump in cycling from 1999 to 2009. http://bikingtoronto.com/blog/2010/0...s-on-the-rise/
I think they have some hard data on bike counts at different locations and I will post that if I can find it.
The thing I don't understand is how people are still able to afford to buy new cars. It seems to me that the increase in the price of cars has far outstripped any increase in wages; this would seem to be confirmed by the figures listed here:
The price of cars has increase at a rate about double that of wages, since 1970. I bought my first car in 1987, and have owned a total of 4 vehicles, COMBINED purchase price of $600 + $1500 + $3000 + $8000 = $13,100. Average new car costs over $30K? Won't be buying one of those anytime soon.
My most recent commuter bike purchase was $100 off of Craiglist. I could own quite the fleet for $31K.