Somebody posted this on the phred site...I thought you guys would be amused, esp. those of you with LHT's--you're now officially trendsetters!
(It makes perfect sense, since trends usually come around every generation or so. Anybody remember during the 70's and 80's when bicycle touring was actually popular?)
Brad Quartuccio's official prediction of the coming couple of years: Touring is the new fixed gear.
That's right, all of the cool kids are going to clamor for touring bikes in the near future. All of the really cool kids already have one. No doubt, touring has been around for as long as the bicycle, but just you watch my predicted surge in popularity.
What's my evidence? Conjecture mainly, but here’s a bit of what is moving my thinking.
Surly Bikes is a good gauge, as their Long Haul Trucker framesets are pretty hard to come by, and their singlespeed, track and 29er bikes were all ahead of the mass acceptance curve. If the past is a hint at the future, people may look back upon the Long Haul Trucker as the start of a touring resurgence.
Critical Mass. Pittsburgh’s Critical Mass rides have a number of bikes along for the spin sporting racks and panniers, piloted by today’s twenty something punk rocker hippy blends. Trends typically begin in some sort of close knit subculture before being adopted by the rest of society, and I have a feeling that’s where this is all heading. Like the fixed gears before them, and the mountain bikes before that, this is a sign of things to come.
Dirt Rag employees. We aren’t the bastion of cool that some wish we were, but when it comes to cycling people here are many times ahead of the trend just due to where we work and what crosses our desk. Many of us had singlespeeds back in the late nineties, and cyclocross bikes before every company made one. Maurice was randoneuring before most knew what the word meant. Dirt Rag alumni participated in the first 24hr mountain bike event before anyone thought it would become the phenomenon it has. Come the end of April, Carol, Michael and friends are heading out for a ride across the wide state of Pennsylvania on Bike Route S. Next year, Route S will be clogged with cyclists… Or not, but you get the drift.
North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Lots and lots of beautiful high end racks for tours of all lengths were on display. Really elegant stuff that shows there is a demand at the high end for such products, and where there is high end demand, the mass market usually follows.
Gas prices. Last time gas prices spiked in the '70s, touring bikes got popular. Will it happen 25year later in the present day? Time will tell.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I missed the boat totally and recumbents will be the new hipster accessory. Only with hindsight will we see what my foresight prescription is. Here’s to hoping I’m not too far off… Because what follows touring? Mountain biking.