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Why do Americans consider bicycles toys? A theory

Old 01-11-05, 01:43 PM
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PainTrain
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Why do Americans consider bicycles toys? A theory

I've seen threads recently in which angry cyclists curse clueless motorists. In one thread many posters said they feel uncomfortable in their local bike shop because of the arrogance of the clerks. Another deals with bad feelings on the part of a rider who was ridiculed for the jersey he or she wore.

Why do Americans think of bikes as toys?

Too many cyclists behave like children.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:51 PM
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Comes with the territory.
Riding keeps us young.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PainTrain
Why do Americans think of bikes as toys?

.

Because most people stop riding bikes after they get their driver's licenses.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:53 PM
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For most of us they are toys!

I regard my bike like I regard my skis or my in-line skates. Pure toys for the enjoyment of the soul.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:58 PM
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Pain Train - you from Orangevale? I met my wife in Orangevale and have a special place in my heart for it.

To answer your question, it has to do with how important the almight automobile is here in this country. If more Americans were to utilize other methods of transportation - bike, bus, train, etc. - then the public perception of the credibility of each of them would rise significantly. We are taught at a very young age that a car represents the freedom to exercise many choices that people who don't have cars cannot.

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Old 01-11-05, 02:03 PM
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Um not to mention the fact that you can fit 2 or 3 moderate sized european countries inside the state of TX. The fact that the US is so geographically large has quite a bit to do with out dependence on the auto, like it or not.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PainTrain
I've seen threads recently in which angry cyclists curse clueless motorists. In one thread many posters said they feel uncomfortable in their local bike shop because of the arrogance of the clerks. Another deals with bad feelings on the part of a rider who was ridiculed for the jersey he or she wore.

Why do Americans think of bikes as toys?

Too many cyclists behave like children.
Only those dedicated to driving think bikes are toys. And far too many cagers think their personalities are linked to their transportation.

I recall being in an accident in 1983 and telling the insurance co. of the kook that hit me that my bike cost $900, and they just freaked... $900... they wanted "salvage rights." "Sure" my reply... "two tacoed wheels and a bent frame and handle bars... no problem."

"How can anyone own a $900 bike?"

"I don't own a car."
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Old 01-11-05, 02:10 PM
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It's just a bicycle, there's really not that much to it.
Stop being so thin skinned.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
It's just a bicycle, there's really not that much to it.
Stop being so thin skinned.

Not a matter of thin skin, but of the attitude that one gets from drivers that feel you should be on the sidewalk... or anywhere but "in their way."
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Old 01-11-05, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad
Pain Train - you from Orangevale? I met my wife in Orangevale and have a special place in my heart for it.
As Oakland is to San Francisco, so Orangevale is to Folsom.

Just someplace to hold up the other end of the bridge.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
It's just a bicycle, there's really not that much to it.
I think I have an unhealthy obsession with my bikes, cause I just can't relate to that. Especially my first real road bike that I bought about 20 years ago & still put over 2000 miles/per year on. It's a bond. I definately don't consider it a toy. It's like a member of my family.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by PainTrain
Why do Americans think of bikes as toys?
Many Americans think of cars as toys too. I know many that are obssessed with their vehicles like some of us are with bicycles. It's part of our crazy culture.... We regard many things as toys.
My collection of bicycles is just hobby for me. But cycling is part hobby and part way of life for me, as besides running, it keeps me in ideal physical condition.

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Old 01-11-05, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
Many Americans think of cars as toys too. I know many that are obssessed with their vehicles like some of us are with bicycles. It's part of our crazy culture....
My collection of bicycles and cycling are just a hobby for me.
I agree.

When ever I say this to an old car collector. He sees my point of view.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:45 PM
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One writer said that if you looked at us from space, you'd conclude the dominant life form was the car. It's crazy, but that's what we are.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by nick burns
I think I have an unhealthy obsession with my bikes, cause I just can't relate to that. Especially my first real road bike that I bought about 20 years ago & still put over 2000 miles/per year on. It's a bond. I definately don't consider it a toy. It's like a member of my family.
i had a Sam Benotto like that, I did give it away, i told him to not throw it away if he didn't want it.
I bought a new bike last year, I can't wait to buy a new touring bike next, so new is good too.
It's more about me riding, than what I'm riding.
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Old 01-11-05, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
Because most people stop riding bikes after they get their driver's licenses.
Exactly.
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Old 01-11-05, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Um not to mention the fact that you can fit 2 or 3 moderate sized european countries inside the state of TX. The fact that the US is so geographically large has quite a bit to do with out dependence on the auto, like it or not.
True, very true, In Europe there is more of a local flavor to everything. The smaller countries and the geography make biking to work a shorter ride and more typical. It just seems like more of a big deal to go a long way too, because you're going into another country, the language is different, the money is different, the customs to go through,etc.it keeps a lot of people thinking local.

Over here you drive to work a long way in a straight line with less problems.

Also Europe is thousands of years old, bikes and narrow roads were well into the culture when cars came along. Many cities have very close quarters. The town was there before the car.

The roads over here were made for cars before the town in many cases. Instead of the other way around.

This country is just a kid, only two hundred years old, the cars were there when we were becoming a teenager. Maybe in a thousand years we will have smaller cars and bikes will be more accepted.
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Old 01-11-05, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by PainTrain
As Oakland is to San Francisco, so Orangevale is to Folsom.

Just someplace to hold up the other end of the bridge.

i...never thought about oakland like that, but you're right.

god i gotta get out of here.
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Old 01-11-05, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PainTrain
Why do Americans think of bikes as toys?

Too many cyclists behave like children.
Precisely. If you ride it like it's a toy, people will treat you like you are riding a toy.
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Old 01-11-05, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by late
One writer said that if you looked at us from space, you'd conclude the dominant life form was the car. It's crazy, but that's what we are.
I think I saw that as a cartoon on PBS - it was really funny!
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Old 01-11-05, 07:07 PM
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some even think of women as toys (not implying specific nationalities), i think itīs about respect and love. i love my bike and for me itīs not a toy, just like what nick says itīs more a member of the family.
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Old 01-11-05, 09:12 PM
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The United States was still very much early in its development when motor vehicles arrived. So, there was still great possibility of planning and building towns, cities, workplaces, etc., with the car in mind. Just to provide some contrast, in Europe, there was less possibility for complete bottom-up development of these things by the time cars came onto the scene.

So, now cars very important for intercity travel in the United States. Distances are often not so amenable to biking as, say, in Europe. So, bikes are more often just toys here.
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Old 01-11-05, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by HunterBee
Unless a bicycle is used for transportation (ie: taking miles away from a motorcar - which is only a very small percentage of U.S. bicyclers) then it IS a toy.
Agreed.

I don't see what the big deal is with america looking at them as toys. I don't care (I am alittle different situation) Why does anyone care if people view them as a sport, toy or transportation. Being any one thing won't make a difference to the lazy people actually riding them.

Personally I use 2 bikes as toys and 1 as a commuter, is this somehow evil or wrong?
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Old 01-12-05, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MERTON
the extremely long distance the nearest walmart is from the house.
I consider that a Good Thing (TM)
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Old 01-12-05, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Um not to mention the fact that you can fit 2 or 3 moderate sized european countries inside the state of TX. The fact that the US is so geographically large has quite a bit to do with out dependence on the auto, like it or not.
As I recall France is bigger than Texas.Besides, I do not consider a ride across Texas to be a challenge..Not even 1/5 the distance of North America...
I think it has mostly to do with our status placed upon stupid cars and a selfishness that all the world's resources belongs to us...
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