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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 03-25-06, 11:26 AM   #1
rnagaoka
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Touring is "trendy"?

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?)

------------

http://www.dirtragmag.com/web/brainfart.php?ID=205

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.
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Old 03-25-06, 11:45 AM   #2
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All very true! I've been seeing the same stuff on the street for a couple of years
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Old 03-25-06, 02:58 PM   #3
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I see a lot of folks out on rides in guided groups with sag waggons, actually I see a few folks. Loaded touring seems rare still. Loaded is what the LHT is all about. Are people buying it to comute or go on wine country tours, probably, but for what it was intended for, I doubt it, not in large numbers.

While the bikes of the likes of Gordon, Mariposa, Beckman are pretty rare, I have yet to see anyone who was in that demographic out touring on one. I'm in the demographis, and I was touring on my Urbane. Ran into another guy like me, he was on a randonne.

Most of the people doing serious long range stuff fall into one of three categories: Young people, usually without the money or time to wait for one of these; folks who drop out and tour extensively, who often have cheapish bikes because they are not extravagent by definition; midlife people who finally have a little time and money, they seem pretty rare in cycling, I mean compared to choppers, where there are 100s of thousands. I wonder if people just buy these bikes and keep them in their garages.
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Old 03-25-06, 05:42 PM   #4
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Maybe the hipsters, having enjoyed cheap, eco, DUI free transport with choppers, cruisers and bmx, are discovering that touring bikes are comfortable, practical bikes with an aethstetic all of ther own.

I mean, choppers are fun and all but if you a) want to visit people more than a few blocks away or b) don't live in flatland then they are a stupid idea.

I don't think that there is a person on the planet that would not gaze upon a Rivendell with awe. Even the modern touring bikes have a close resemblance with classic 60s and 70s touring bikes. Is this a 'trend' or is it manufacturers waking up and producing practical roadbikes for every day use rather than just TDF replicas?

Talk to most people about doing a weekend refresher tour and they think that you are Ranulph Fiennes. That has to be worth something to the image concious. But due to rail trails and other beginner/guided tours, touring is going mass market to an extent. Interesting times to be a tourist.
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Old 03-25-06, 06:01 PM   #5
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Speaking of elegant older bikes, I have a venerable Trek 720 touring bike, bought in 1983 that I still ride a lot. At the time, it was a notch above the classic, still-produced Trek 520. Among bicycles, it ranked somewhere between a pack-elephant and a Mercedes. I used it for all kinds of touring, including a six-month ramble across Europe. Here is some info (not mine) on that great old steed:

http://www.vintage-trek.com/Trek_galleryDT.htm

Personally, I think it's great that touring bikes might be on the way back. They're great for just about everything except racing.
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Old 03-25-06, 08:34 PM   #6
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Touring is going to be huge. I'm stoked.

= )
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Old 03-25-06, 09:42 PM   #7
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what about fixed touring? doesn't that make me some sort of trend-setting demi-god?

BOW, SLAVES!
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Old 03-25-06, 11:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ink1373
what about fixed touring? doesn't that make me some sort of trend-setting demi-god?

BOW, SLAVES!
OK, I give you points for being "double" trendy.

BTW...I bet you're around twenty years old. Just you wait...before you know it, you're gonna LOVE that granny gear.
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Old 03-26-06, 10:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnagaoka
OK, I give you points for being "double" trendy.

BTW...I bet you're around twenty years old. Just you wait...before you know it, you're gonna LOVE that granny gear.
oh, i believe it.
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Old 03-26-06, 10:59 AM   #10
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oh, i believe it.
I'm proof.
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Old 03-26-06, 11:34 PM   #11
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Maybe the bigger question is "Do those drawn to touring actually tour?" Having pannier racks on a bike might point to a commuter more than a tourer if said racks aren't used for long-distance tours. It's one thing to love the idea of touring, quite another to do it.

*Disclaimer* I have toured before, have pannier racks on my bike, use it for commuting, but haven't been able to get away long enough for a decent tour for some time.

The point is while touring might becoming trendy, how much of that results in actual touring? Is it just a look or a lifestyle?
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Old 03-27-06, 10:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourbike
The point is while touring might becoming trendy, how much of that results in actual touring? Is it just a look or a lifestyle?
who doesn't want an adventure? with all the simulated experiences in life (movies vs. real adventure, stripper joint vs. human relationship, drugs vs. real mind expansion, and worst of all video games vs. everything) i think that anyone who gets out and goes touring once will get hooked. it's a unique kind of freedom, and it seems like a person would have to be completely numb to not appreciate it.

(the irony of message board vs. real conversation is not lost on me)
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Old 03-27-06, 11:36 AM   #13
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Hi,
last time I was in my LBS, a college age kid and his Mom were contemplating a Volpe for commuting and touring. Nothing against toy bikes, but a touring bike with a rugged tire gets a flat every 2 or 3 years. Not every 2 or 3 weeks. It can take you to work or across a continent. Set it up well, and it might not need a damn thing for a couple thousand miles. Or more.

It's a bicycle, not a toy.
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Old 03-27-06, 12:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourbike
Maybe the bigger question is "Do those drawn to touring actually tour?" Having pannier racks on a bike might point to a commuter more than a tourer if said racks aren't used for long-distance tours. It's one thing to love the idea of touring, quite another to do it.

*Disclaimer* I have toured before, have pannier racks on my bike, use it for commuting, but haven't been able to get away long enough for a decent tour for some time.
Very good points and I can certainly relate to them. Although I've always had the passion for adventure in me, my business obligations for the last 20+ years have restricted me from venturing away for more than a few short measly days at a time. Although I've taken many short bike tours, backpacking trips, and car camping trips, I can't see myself taking an extended trip anytime soon, perhaps never... That's one downside of being self-employed I guess.
And as far as equipping my tour bike for example, it's only setup with a medium duty rear rack (Tubus Vega) to reflect my current intended usage, which is for commutes and those not so very often weekend trips....

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Old 03-27-06, 09:24 PM   #15
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Very good points and I can certainly relate to them. Although I've always had the passion for adventure in me, my business obligations for the last 20+ years have restricted me from venturing away for more than a few short measly days at a time. Although I've taken many short bike tours, backpacking trips, and car camping trips, I can't see myself taking an extended trip anytime soon, perhaps never... That's one downside of being self-employed I guess.
Sorry to hear that! My last major tour was two years ago, and I am now contemplating dropping everything and cycling to Antarctica (well, close at least). Since you are an LA homeboy, I can certainly relate as well...
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Old 03-28-06, 11:42 AM   #16
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I can't see myself taking an extended trip anytime soon, perhaps never... That's one downside of being self-employed I guess.

Funny. I always thought being self-employed meant you could take off and tour anytime you want. If you think it's tough being self-employed, try asking your boss to keep your job available so that you can take a couple month's leave to go ride your bike.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:41 PM   #17
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being young and accustomed to living off of less than 10k a year means you can give your boss the finger and go touring whenever you want!
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Old 03-28-06, 03:59 PM   #18
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Sure hope this is true as I have been working for a touring company for the last 5 years (slowly declining enrollment...) and am going to be taking over as Director of the company this fall... It would make life grand.

And I have a green LHT. does that mean I kick arse?
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Old 03-28-06, 04:15 PM   #19
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I've been hearing this "next big thing" business for a while now, and I really hope it's true. Touring has always been the one subset of cycling that really appeals to me. I used to be a "long haul trucker," and I loved the solitude and time to think, just hated the lack of exercise. Bike touring is a win/win, for me.
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Old 03-28-06, 06:02 PM   #20
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It'll be true. We're on the way. The fashionista department has been pretty much perfected for a while by Grant & Riv, Bruce Gordon, et al. LHT's covering the everyman utility. And there's always the small wonderous fact that touring is possibly the most amazing thing ever ever ever.

In the same way that the fixed gear curve is spiking upwards (I'm 100% guilty of being a part of that, for disclosure), in a couple/few years the "kids" are going to be bragging about places they've stealth camped and how much freight they can carry how far on their commutes. The guys making custom messenger bags will make custom panniers and saddle/handlebar bags.

Again, I am ****ing stoked. = )
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Old 03-28-06, 07:10 PM   #21
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I just wish Shimano would take notice. Because of the trends in road and MTB components, we've often got to live with suboptimal comprimises. I'd like to see some touring oriented components like these:

1) LX/XT level front derailleurs that clamp on a 28.6 seatpost without fugly shims that get in the way of bottle cage mounts. They should also be able to smoothly shift a ten tooth difference between middle and outer chainrings without grinding or filing or replacing with a road component. They should also be normal in every way, no rapid rise, top pull, BB mount or other tech weenie BS. Make them polished alloy while they're at it.

2) LX/XT RD Same as FD as far as action and finish.

3) Off the shelf Cassettes with 12 or 13 tooth small cogs and 34T big cogs in both eight and nine speed.

4) 110 BCD cranks that come with 24-36-46 chainrings.

5) Oh yeah, thanks for the new XT cantis though. Much appreciated.

5) Heck maybe even LX/XT barcons that index the FD for the clickaholics.

6) Bring back the SH-T092 shoes! Why, oh why were they discontinued??

7) V-brake road levers that are cheaper than the Dia-compe 287V.
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Old 03-28-06, 07:47 PM   #22
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the ONE thing that is going to keep touring a fringe element of biking; Touring is a heck of a lot of work to enjoy a vacation.

I do believe the firestorm in bikes RIGHT NOW is the touring, utility and cyclocross type bikes. Weather they actually get used much for bonafide 'tours' remains to be seen.

I was in a big independant shop today, and I've NEVER seen as many touring/utility/CX frame bikes with fat tire clearance and canti brakes on a bike shop floor, EVER. It's like a dream come true from anytime in the last two decades....a shop with an extensive lineup of very versatile bikes to choose from.

But, hey, more power to the bike nation if more people start riding more versatile bikes and start thinking of them as things to use for weekend trips away from the house...

I know I'm back to my roots of touring from 25 years ago; i'm really really happy to have gotten back on the long distance horse again too. I've already a five day tour, a four day tour, and 3 weekend tours this year alone.
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Old 03-28-06, 09:36 PM   #23
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We're on the way. The fashionista department has been pretty much perfected for a while by Grant & Riv, Bruce Gordon, et al. LHT's covering the everyman utility. And there's always the small wonderous fact that touring is possibly the most amazing thing ever ever ever.

In the same way that the fixed gear curve is spiking upwards (I'm 100% guilty of being a part of that, for disclosure), in a couple/few years the "kids" are going to be bragging about places they've stealth camped and how much freight they can carry how far on their commutes. The guys making custom messenger bags will make custom panniers and saddle/handlebar bags.

Again, I am ****ing stoked. = )
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Old 03-28-06, 10:47 PM   #24
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"Anybody remember during the 70's and 80's when bicycle touring was actually popular?"

not only remember, but still touring on the same bike.
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Old 03-28-06, 11:05 PM   #25
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I am an avowed "cheap bastard," but I actually, finally broke down and sent my money in for an Adventure Cycling membership. I haven't been "cutting edge" since, well, probably never, so I'm not sure what I'll do.
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