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A Falloff in Bike Commuting? - USA Today

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A Falloff in Bike Commuting? - USA Today

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Old 01-03-19, 04:49 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I live in a metropolitan area...
But your profile says Beaverton, OR? Just kidding... sort of.

Anyway, from my personal observations, the Uber and "ride sharing" thing must be a huge factor. In the city they are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. They almost seem to outnumber the yellow cabs in Manhattan, and definitely do so in the outer boroughs. But any way you slice it, people are still using cars as their preferred means of transport. And there are no free lunches: that electricity has to be generated somehow...

I recently visited the bike storage area for my GF's building, which is shared by the other buildings on her block (all owned by the same scummy development company). It was astonished at the number of bikes in there. It was simply incredible (I'll try to take some pics next time), and I'd estimate that only 15% at the most had been ridden in the past 4 months. Also, they were mostly junk, and while I get that most people wouldn't keep their "good" bikes in there (I never would), it was still really interesting.
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Old 01-03-19, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
True. But there is an incredible amount of pressure from parents, peers, teachers, and coaches to play team sports or participate in organized "Olympic" sports. You never see that kind of pressure on kinds in the USA to ride bikes for anything but utility cycling to and from "real" sports. Without the population base to draw from, and the focus on every sport except cycling for the most part, what would we expect? Less adult cyclists using commuting infrastructure is my guess.

Ever suggest your kids ride bikes AS a sport, instead of TO their sport? There are only so many hours in a day for kids to fit in recreation. Bicycling is not a priority for most households. Therefore...less cyclists.

Also, keeping kids attached to smart phones costs money. Internet connections cost money. Cable TV to watch sports costs money. Playing sports cost money. How many parents purchase a really nice bike for their growing kids? How many parents purchase phones and service for the kids? Only so much money to go around too.
My son was 2d in his age group at Nevada City last year.



He was invited to a USAC talent ID camp last summer but had a previous soccer commitment. I've been spending the last couple of seasons trying to get him to spend more time on the bike. If he wants to, he's likely to go much farther in his athletic career as a cyclist, but he's so soccer crazy that he'd rather do that than go on long rides with his dad. I actually had to say No to an indoor league he wanted to play in because I don't want him to be a single sport athlete.

He's certainly not getting pressure from me to play team sports. Driving all over NorCal to his soccer games totally cuts into my riding time!

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Old 01-03-19, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
But your profile says Beaverton, OR? Just kidding... sort of.
Hey, I've been out here over 20 years and my family in Maryland still talk as if I live in Seattle. It's all relative. The key point of Beaverton being in the Portland metropolitan area is that we get their transit system and some of the ideas about bike infrastructure funding. Or are you suggesting Portland isn't a real city?
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Old 01-03-19, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Hey, I've been out here over 20 years and my family in Maryland still talk as if I live in Seattle. It's all relative. The key point of Beaverton being in the Portland metropolitan area is that we get their transit system and some of the ideas about bike infrastructure funding. Or are you suggesting Portland isn't a real city?
Used to hang out with a girl from Beaverton back in college (in Boston). She was awesome, I still miss her, but that's about as far as my knowledge of the area goes. Portland a real city? Not sure if I should answer, since I'm one of those guys going around saying that Boston isn't really a city.

Getting back on topic, could the fall off in West Coast biking indicate that it was something of a fad? Maybe the coolness and newness has worn off for some of the "riders" there? I've also noticed a lot more clowns lately on electric scooters (the kick-scooter style) and electric skateboards, always doing dumb s--t on the bike paths, of course.
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Old 01-03-19, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
My son was 2d in his age group at Nevada City last year.
That is awesome! Congrats!

He was invited to a USAC talent ID camp last summer but had a previous soccer commitment.
And there you go. For me in high school, it was baseball. I cycled to school and back. That was about all.

He's certainly not getting pressure from me to play team sports.
Personal preference and peer pressure. It's cool to be a sports star, just not cycling in the USA, and you generally don't cycle inside a football stadium where all of your friends and family can watch the entire event. In the neighborhood I grew up in during the mid 1960s and 1970s, every kid played outside and if you didn't have a bicycle, a pair of skates, and a skateboard, you were a loser. Only two houses on the block of 50 houses did not have children, others had up to a dozen kids. We all rode bikes every day, everywhere. And we were legion as baby boomers. My age group was exposed to the cycling boom of the 70s, and now those of us who it stuck with are aging out or retiring and not commuting anymore.

Driving all over NorCal to his soccer games totally cuts into my riding time!
Two for one!

When I was growing up in that baby boomer neighborhood I mentioned, very few parents were active in their kids sports. There were no soccer moms of dads, because there was no soccer. At least not main stream. My high school soccer team was near 100% Latin Americans. My baseball team was 100% white kids. I was one of two kids who biked to school. Times, they are a changing.
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Old 01-04-19, 08:22 AM
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I don't know about nationally, but around here it seems that more people are commuting. I went to the doctor last week and as I was locking up my bike, five or six more cyclists arrived at the bike racks. By the time I left, all the bike parking was full and it is winter.
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Old 01-04-19, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post

I recently visited the bike storage area for my GF's building, which is shared by the other buildings on her block (all owned by the same scummy development company). It was astonished at the number of bikes in there. It was simply incredible (I'll try to take some pics next time), and I'd estimate that only 15% at the most had been ridden in the past 4 months. Also, they were mostly junk, and while I get that most people wouldn't keep their "good" bikes in there (I never would), it was still really interesting.
We had so many bikes accumulate in the storage areas of my condo building that we donated the ones people didn't want to keep - and got rid of most of them. There are a couple of other people that live there that ride, but I think there's only been 2 other commuters that I know of that's lived there in the 15 years I have. And 1 of them only lived there for a couple of months.
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Old 01-04-19, 07:00 PM
  #33  
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Vancouver BC experience provides hope

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/as-seattle-struggles-with-bike-lanes-vancouver-b-c-has-won-the-battle/

City near the US where bicycle commuting is now over 10% and community commitment to cycling infrastructure remains strong.
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Old 01-04-19, 08:28 PM
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I still see a bunch of people in my city commuting by bike , maybe because Philadelphia has nice bike lanes
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Old 01-04-19, 08:40 PM
  #35  
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Wow, rather gloomy outlooks on commuting in some posts in this thread. Guess those folks don't live in Denver.
Today I rode my bike to the bus (I do an intermodal bike/bus commute to work when the weather is cold) and met a guy who normally rides, but was taking bus only due to ice. I was using my bike with studs. Anyway, in warmer weather this guy rides five days a week 36 miles one way. Yes. 360 miles a week. You read that right. I was stoked to hear that.
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Old 01-04-19, 09:12 PM
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I question the data collection.

Like others, my personal observation has been only increases.

Bike share programs, additional lanes, parking, better lights, more choices in bikes, helmets, clothing. It's almost inconceivable to me that all this is happening in a decline.

Only way it could make sense to me would be if riders were retiring or aging out and not being replaced. Again, that's not what I'm seeing.
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Old 01-04-19, 10:48 PM
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Boston area cycle commuting is increasing steadily, many more winter-ready bikes on the streets this year.
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Old 01-05-19, 06:42 AM
  #38  
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I drive a Semi in Chicago 5 days a week. I have noticed a big decline. Seems like half the amount of bikes parked at train stations and the commitment is way down this winter even though the weather has been pretty good. The city is improving bike lanes and trying to make things more bike friendly. I think UBER is to blame.
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Old 01-06-19, 10:44 AM
  #39  
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"The report added that the “bicycle industry faces a present danger with fewer children and young people owning a bicycle and cycling today than a decade ago.” (To arrest this decline the Bicycle Association has long championed promoting cycling to children.)"
UK Source

Bike shops are going out of business right and left. They have been for 20 years. You can easily find data on this.
“Sell your shop now, or enter the demise of all brick and mortars,” says Mike Romanco, CEO at Mike’s E-Bikes, in response to Trek’s online sales program. “You’d be better off working out of your home and just having a delivery van.”Which, funny enough, is exactly what’s happening. From the swell of increased online sales and sidelined brands, the mobile mechanic has emerged, riding the wave of change in a tool-filled Sprinter.
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So why are bike shops going out of business? Internet sales is part of it, but just look at the buying process for a first-time bike buyer now, or in the future when there are even fewer brick and mortar stores out there. Who is going to assemble it and keep it running for the average cyclist who can't even fix a flat or keep their tires inflated? How are they even going to CHOOSE a bike from a computer screen the first time?

Fewer bike shops = fewer newbies = fewer bike shops. Vicious circle.

And now the mega stores that spread all the banana peels under the Mom and Pop stores are beginning to crumble under the pressure of online sales AND fewer young people interested in bicycles.

Yeah, I wonder why that study came to the conclusion that fewer people are cycling to work? Well...they looked.

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Old 01-06-19, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Random Tandem View Post
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/as-seattle-struggles-with-bike-lanes-vancouver-b-c-has-won-the-battle/

City near the US where bicycle commuting is now over 10% and community commitment to cycling infrastructure remains strong.
Maybe downtown it's 10%. Not to say where I work is typical, but I'm not downtown and comparing the number of bikes in the bike cage and the number of cars in the parkade, no way it's 10% there.

There was probably some political cost to the bike lanes as Mayor Robertson did not even run in the last election.

A lot of people live in the suburbs, and it's difficult to get to work from there without a car. Bikes can't go on the light rail during rush hours.

Getting around on a bike isn't that bad, as long as you stay away from the major arteries. You could do that, but just watch out for car doors. Residential and side streets are fairly quiet, even without the bike paths. There are still hostile drivers there though who think because they're in a car and you're on a bike, you should get off the road. Some more drivers ed or informational promotions would be a good thing.
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Old 01-06-19, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rgvg View Post
Maybe downtown it's 10%. Not to say where I work is typical, but I'm not downtown and comparing the number of bikes in the bike cage and the number of cars in the parkade, no way it's 10% there.

There was probably some political cost to the bike lanes as Mayor Robertson did not even run in the last election.

A lot of people live in the suburbs, and it's difficult to get to work from there without a car. Bikes can't go on the light rail during rush hours.

Getting around on a bike isn't that bad, as long as you stay away from the major arteries. You could do that, but just watch out for car doors. Residential and side streets are fairly quiet, even without the bike paths. There are still hostile drivers there though who think because they're in a car and you're on a bike, you should get off the road. Some more drivers ed or informational promotions would be a good thing.
The statistics are for the city of Vancouver, rather than the separate municipalities that surround Vancouver, and the measure is the portion of total trips, so for some it will be trips to the local store by bike while still commuting to employment or vice-versa. So far as I understand it that is the same measurements being used in the US cities where decline is observed. The broad support for bike infrastructure is clearer because while some of the parties running in the election were different, all three of the three largest groups of candidates (including the corporatist right-wing farm team, ironically styled as "non-partisan") at least supported bike infrastructure to the status quo and the one group that was outspoken in rejecting bicycle infrastructure did not have a single candidate elected. The biggest effect of a few candidates campaigning to remove bike lanes, was to galvanize the bicycling community to vote and struggle to understand who were the champions of bicycling is a complicated field with new, strict restrictions on advertising. Even the group outspokenly opposed to bicycle infrastructure candidates removed this issue from their advertisements in the last week of the election, because it was only drawing support away. As a cyclist who commutes to the downtown, I started trying to make a shopping trip with my helmet before changing into my suit on some days, to help the merchants who initially opposed the downtown separated bike routes to realize that their customers were not always requiring the street parking seen as so important. The opposition from merchants all but evaporated after some accommodations were made and reality rather than sound-bite politics was considered.
Vancouver has a mix of separated bike routes (especially on bridges and in the downtown) and shared bike-designated streets in other areas with lower speed limits, all of which are more safe. On the mixed use route to the University that goes through my neighbourhood the bicycle frequency is high enough that cars clearly avoid it further increasing its suitability to bicyclists. I agree its not perfection, but considerably improved and successfully demonstrated the concept to support further investment in additional infrastructure. Finally, the recent increases in women commuting by bicycle is seen as critical because the number of men who commute some of the time may represent saturation of this demographic (pun intended, given the frequency of rainfall here).

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Old 01-07-19, 10:46 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
'For bike commuters, safety is a top consideration,' and this is mine as well. You're not going to get many people willing to ride their bikes to work if they feel every time they mount it they're playing some kind of Russian roulette game with traffic. Regardless of what the statistics say about cycling safety, the very idea of riding a bike mere feet, and sometimes inches, next to cars moving at a much higher rate of speed is just crazy. So until that changes you're not going to convince many reasonably sane person that they should ride their bike to work.

There was a short cycling safety video running on the site as I was reading the article. I got a chuckle out of that.
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I'll bet more people would commute by bike if the government paid them to.

Number crunchers can develop a total cost per mile for a car (road wear/tear, pollution, loss time productivity due to traffic, etc.) and pay people some amount to offset and reward them for removing their vehicle from that Grand Total Cost to the population. Promote the "Pedal Paycheck" program with side benefit of caloric burn... less time in gym... better overall health.

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Old 01-07-19, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
UK Source

Bike shops are going out of business right and left. They have been for 20 years. You can easily find data on this.
Source

So why are bike shops going out of business? Internet sales is part of it, but just look at the buying process for a first-time bike buyer now, or in the future when there are even fewer brick and mortar stores out there. Who is going to assemble it and keep it running for the average cyclist who can't even fix a flat or keep their tires inflated? How are they even going to CHOOSE a bike from a computer screen the first time?

Fewer bike shops = fewer newbies = fewer bike shops. Vicious circle.

And now the mega stores that spread all the banana peels under the Mom and Pop stores are beginning to crumble under the pressure of online sales AND fewer young people interested in bicycles.

Yeah, I wonder why that study came to the conclusion that fewer people are cycling to work? Well...they looked.
I had some repair work done at a guys basement once. He used to work in a shop, but moved on to something else and does assemblies for some of the local shops in addition to moonlighting at repairs at home. It worked great for me, and seemed to work well for him too.
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Old 01-07-19, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I had some repair work done at a guys basement once. He used to work in a shop, but moved on to something else and does assemblies for some of the local shops in addition to moonlighting at repairs at home. It worked great for me, and seemed to work well for him too.
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Old 01-07-19, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
So why are bike shops going out of business? Internet sales is part of it, but just look at the buying process for a first-time bike buyer now, or in the future when there are even fewer brick and mortar stores out there. Who is going to assemble it and keep it running for the average cyclist who can't even fix a flat or keep their tires inflated? How are they even going to CHOOSE a bike from a computer screen the first time?
I agree with most of what you said, especially about the big chains and now the internet. As for people buying online though, let's not forget that we are in the era of everyone being an expert on everything. The causes for it may be manifold and complicated, but younger people (and plenty of older people as well) really seem convinced that a few minutes on the internet is all it takes to make them an "expert" in a given subject matter. I could go on and on about this, but suffice to say that I think a lot of "newbs" would be perfectly fine buying their first bike online (complete with comment like, "it has a 5-star rating," or "it got really good reviews.")
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Old 01-07-19, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
...I could go on and on about this, but suffice to say that I think a lot of "newbs" would be perfectly fine buying their first bike online (complete with comment like, "it has a 5-star rating," or "it got really good reviews.")
Yeah, no doubt. But when the bike gets delivered and needs assembly, then something is defective from the manufacturer, then what? Especially cheaper bikes, they don't leave the manufacturer perfectly adjusted, or even perfect and READY to be assembled in many cases. I could write up a list of common defects, or at least rough edges on new bikes that the consumer is not equipped to address. A bad experience and the bike goes on eBay leaving one more person alienated to bicycles.
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Old 01-07-19, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I walked to work today, and only saw 2 other people out going somewhere that didn't involve a car. They were together, 1 on foot and the other slowly riding by the first kid. Everyone else was in a car for my 2 mile trip.
This morning I saw a pair out riding together, a kid on a bike (presumably heading to school?) and an adult (grandparent?) in a motorized scooter/wheelchair. The kid had his arm on the scooter and was just coasting, as far as I could tell.
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Old 01-07-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
I don't know about nationally, but around here it seems that more people are commuting. I went to the doctor last week and as I was locking up my bike, five or six more cyclists arrived at the bike racks. By the time I left, all the bike parking was full and it is winter.
Is there some kind of law that all commuter bikes must be black? Or maybe a regression to pre-civil-rights bike parking segregation?

EDIT: Now I see that one white bike locked to the other rack way in the background...
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Old 01-07-19, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Is there some kind of law that all commuter bikes must be black? Or maybe a regression to pre-civil-rights bike parking segregation?

EDIT: Now I see that one white bike locked to the other rack way in the background...
I never thought about it but there are a bunch of black or dark grey commuter bikes around. I am going to start commuting on my bright red Cannondale just to spice things up.
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Old 01-07-19, 03:35 PM
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Also, is that Univega actually locked to the rack? Looks like the cable could be slid right up and off the rack
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