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Why is bicycling uncool with Americans?

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Why is bicycling uncool with Americans?

Old 11-24-08, 10:08 AM
  #1  
viros20
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Why is bicycling uncool with Americans?

Besides cycling I have a few other hobbies Im very passionate about. I love my muscle cars, my motorcycle, and my home recording studio. All 3 have taken the back seat to my love for bicycling. Amongst my peers my other 3 hobbies have all been fairly respectable and found people to be genuinely interested in them.

However when I talk about cycling and reveal how much I know about it to others, Im looked down upon and people make jokes. Iíve made the mistake of telling the opposite sex about cycling and can totally tell girls are weirded out by a grown man being so into bicycles.

Itís kind of lame but Im starting to downplay the whole bicycle thing around long time friends now who donít get it.

Its like 98% of Americans feel the same way as the late George Carlin, hereís a link to the bit for those who never heard it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6zj5nhASk0


I wonder if this will ever change in our lifetimes. It seems like it was highly respectable at the start of the century then somewhere along the lines it all went to hell.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:11 AM
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I blame Kung Fu. Dang Americans love the Kung Fu.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:12 AM
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I could care less what others think. I don't bring it up unless someone asks me about it. They all know my passion. They see how much time and energy I put into it. Some people are envious that they have no passion about anything - unless it's sitting on the couch.

But try to surround yourself with like-minded individuals and you'll feel better talking about it
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Old 11-24-08, 10:14 AM
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You got me. Yet WE wrestling is cool. Grown men wearing bikinis crawling over each other. *scratches head*
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Old 11-24-08, 10:15 AM
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Americans are in love with the car. Nothing gets in the way of that. There are places in America that are starting to get it. Here in Texas, not so much. Fat-a55es in big trucks and SUV's still rule the day here.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by viros20 View Post
However when I talk about cycling and reveal how much I know about it to others, Im looked down upon and people make jokes. Iíve made the mistake of telling the opposite sex about cycling and can totally tell girls are weirded out by a grown man being so into bicycles.
Yeah, think your life sucks, try having soccer as your fall back passion.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:17 AM
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Americans like things big and masculine. Cycling, in its core is easily the most masculine non motorized sport out there. There's nothing more hardcore than bombing a descent at 60 or weaving through traffic for a final sprint. Yet by appearance it looks feminine (the outfits dont help)

The thing that has bothered me in this country is the obsession with 'big'. Big burgers, big steaks, manly meal, etc. We even celebrate big guys, as the NFL, NASCAR, MLB, and WWF all have big guys. Somewhere, the average American man has confused 'fat' with 'big'. Fat is not cool, its unhealthy, its not beautiful, and its not better than having an ideal weight.

I'm not hating against overweight people (I was obese at one point too) but this country needs to get over the 'big guy' attitude. Cycling isn't a 'big guy' sport, so we knock it.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:20 AM
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I don't think cycling is perceived as all that uncool. And the "coolness" factor is growing. If you look at the number of ads using bicycling, and bicycle racing, it would indicate that adverstisers believe that cycling has a positive perception amongst the public and they want to associate their products with it.

That said, it's still afringe sport, and will never have acceptance like Football, Basketball, etc.,, but it's definitely more favorably received than it was say 25 years ago.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:20 AM
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Part of it is that it's not very interesting to watch if you don't know what's going on.

Another part of it is just the trend over the years. Starting sometime in the middle of the century, bicycles became a popular way for kids to get around. People see bikes as a hobby for kids, and transportation for poor people. The idea of adults racing on them becomes ridiculous given this mentality among the general public. Even my parents think I'm weird.

It will take many years of good performances internationally from Americans and American teams before it starts to become a legitimate sport. But this is unlikely to happen when the most promising children are playing baseball and football instead of learning to race. We have to get the kids racing before it will eventually become a legitimate sport in this country.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:24 AM
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probably the same reasons chess is considered "uncool" in America
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Old 11-24-08, 10:32 AM
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you know what's cool in America?

1. singing competitions
2. dancing competitions
3. cars going fast in circles

you know what used to be cool in America? Velodrome racing.

While watching cycling on TV is boring, that somehow doesn't hurt golf.

Gotta go, I have a Cricket match, then a Bandy tournament.
 
Old 11-24-08, 10:33 AM
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It's to do with the cheese. You can't be a great cycling nation with such appalling cheese.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:34 AM
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Actually I think you could make a very indepth study of this. America has not always been this way. The first bicycling craze of the 1880s and 1890s was huge in this country. Bicycling was also seen as a key element in the womens' suffrage movement around the same time. Bicycle racing was quite popular in this country in the early 1900s as well (the Madison event was named for 6-day races around the original Madison Square in NYC).

Personally, I would try to find correlations between the advents of the rise of Hollywood, the massive change in direction of our culture after WWII, the rise and subsequent domination of television, and most importantly, the rise of car-culture in America. Lest we forget, there was a time when our country was not only more accepting of bicycles, but was a world leader in passenger rail service. All of that has been hugely eclipsed by the highway and a gigantic car-market infrastructure. You have to assume that it would affect culture as well.

Other countries have different viewpoints on cycles. I would assume that they also have vastly different cultural icons. The point is that the US was not always this way. It happened over the latter 2/3 of the previous century.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
Americans like things big and masculine.
Code:
 Cycling, in its core is easily the most masculine non motorized sport out there.
There's nothing more hardcore than bombing a descent at 60 or weaving through traffic for a final sprint. Yet by appearance it looks feminine (the outfits dont help)

The thing that has bothered me in this country is the obsession with 'big'. Big burgers, big steaks, manly meal, etc. We even celebrate big guys, as the NFL, NASCAR, MLB, and WWF all have big guys. Somewhere, the average American man has confused 'fat' with 'big'. Fat is not cool, its unhealthy, its not beautiful, and its not better than having an ideal weight.

I'm not hating against overweight people (I was obese at one point too) but this country needs to get over the 'big guy' attitude. Cycling isn't a 'big guy' sport, so we knock it.
Cycling is more masculine than Bodybuilding, MMA, Boxing, and big burgers?
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Old 11-24-08, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeIndustryGuy View Post
While watching cycling on TV is boring, that somehow doesn't hurt golf.
Again, a 'sport' in which a morbidly obese athlete can compete.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by whitemax View Post
Cycling is more masculine than Bodybuilding, MMA, Boxing, and big burgers?
I will give you MMA and Boxing. Bodybuilding is basically a beauty pageant for men.

Cycling is a dangerous sport which involves alot of risk. Just like Boxing and MMA you go into an event with a decent chance that you will be sent to the hospital.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:40 AM
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American culture and the auto culture has to be the reason.. American culture thanks to Robert Frost talks of following the road less traveled.. I have no problem 'weirding ' out others.. A little Shock value is what the culture needs to make it right.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:41 AM
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Maybe because we've got near-zero infrastructure (public trans and bike lanes) and near-zero auto restrictions. The one American city that's made a serious effort toward both goals (Portland, OR) has achieved a bike share percentage of 8%, which is 16 times the national average of .5%.

The formula is no secret. We're just too American to try it.

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Old 11-24-08, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
Again, a 'sport' in which a morbidly obese athlete can compete.
I take exception, just look at this athletic physique, and this guy could drink you under the table.

Try driving a ball and smoking at the same time-harder than riding a bike.

 
Old 11-24-08, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
American culture and the auto culture has to be the reason.. American culture thanks to Robert Frost talks of following the road less traveled.. I have no problem 'weirding ' out others.. A little Shock value is what the culture needs to make it right.

I would blame Ford way before blaming Frost
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Old 11-24-08, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeIndustryGuy View Post
you know what's cool in America?

1. singing competitions
2. dancing competitions
3. cars going fast in circles

you know what used to be cool in America? Velodrome racing.

While watching cycling on TV is boring, that somehow doesn't hurt golf.

Gotta go, I have a Cricket match, then a Bandy tournament.
1 and 2 yes. 3 not so much. NASCAR isn't that popular with most Americans. It is considered redneck and out of date around here, even though it still has a big fan base.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:44 AM
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Depends a lot on where you live. I think bicyclists get a lot more respect in the blue states than in the red states.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by uke View Post
Maybe because we've got near-zero infrastructure (public trans and bike lanes) and near-zero auto restrictions. The one American city that's made a serious effort toward both goals (Portland, OR) has achieved a bike share percentage of 8%, which is 16 times the national average of .5%.

The formula is no secret. It's just that so few in this country are willing to follow it.
How about a little economic calamity to change our values. Visit the center of the auto culture.. Detroit.. When you can't afford gas, you get about the best you can.. Being in Detroit now, I've never seen so many commuters on bikes.. Even on mildly snowy days.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_tom View Post
It's to do with the cheese. You can't be a great cycling nation with such appalling cheese.
Too true. That said, if you find yourself in the right place at the right time, you can do pretty well.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:44 AM
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oh, and this is one of theh fastest growing sports in America:

 

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