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Veteran cyclists: Is cycling becoming more popular? Same?

Old 03-03-12, 11:59 PM
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Veteran cyclists: Is cycling becoming more popular? Same?

I havent been cycling for very long, so I wouldnt know.

When I rode down PCH today, which was a beautiful summer like day, I saw dozens and dozens of cyclists within a 5 mile stretch. I was impressed. But then again, it was a prime location, on a perfect day.

How is the scene now compared to a decade or two ago?

I believe that the most effective way for cyclists to be more safe, is if cycling gains popularity, because if its more popular, that increases awareness. I think the lower percentage of accidents among cyclists in europe isnt because of more bike lanes, or more helmet usage, but more to do with the fact that it's just a lot bigger there. We need that here.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:13 AM
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I believe cycling is becoming much more common/popular/accepted/respectable.

I have been a serious and consistent roadie since the early 1970s. Even in the mid-80s it was common for me to have to explain to many folks why a successful professional person like myself was willing to endure hours a day riding amongst cars in the Pacific NW rain. Most of my friends thought my wife and I were weird and exotic because of our dedication to riding. Back then bicyclists were strange folks who got in the way of cars and wore bizzare lycra costumes that few understood or appreciated.

It has now been several years since I had to explain why I ride. My more frequent conversation is to talk with strangers about our mutual interest in riding. Bicycling is now the thing to do and everyone wants to do it and/or be seen doing it. Saves money, is good for the environment, and is healthy.
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Old 03-05-12, 10:41 AM
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Until the late 70's, there were not many bicycle lanes, paths, mups. The SART and the SGRT did not exisit back then and neither did Lycra.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:12 PM
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One crowded day on the bike path does not a resurgence make. But as Qui Gon Jinn said, "Your focus determines your reality." If you spend more time riding and thinking about it, of course you'll notice more people out riding. Same thing happens if you buy a Volkwagen Jetta--suddenly they're everywhere.

Been riding since '84, just before the Lemond surge. Seems like every time an American does well on the Tour, riding suddenly becomes more popular. Either that, or we all get inspired to get off the couch and dust our bikes off. But of course now that Lance is no longer racing, the bandwagon-jumpers will go find the Next Big Thing, like P90X, Planking, Parkour, or whatever.



IMO, the best way for us non-Tour winners to encourage others to ride is to simply be polite and positive. When motorists & pedestrians run into the less-polite cyclists among us, the impression about cycling is generally negative. Who wants to join a bunch of angry, combative jerks in tight black shorts?

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Old 03-05-12, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris


Great pix!!!! I never had any good pictures of me on a bike in the 80's.
In SoCal, all the masters are kicking ass. Its such a tough field.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:59 PM
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Don't be fooled by fair weather riders on flat terrain. I went both Saturday and Sunday, Saturday's route had far more hills and far less traffic than Sunday's.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:41 PM
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I used to have a small group I rode consistently with... my brother, his wife, her uncle, and her friend. Her uncle divorced her aunt, was considered persona non grata from that point on by her family, and hasn't been heard from since. She divorced my brother and married her friend. My brother quit riding to run, and I quit riding road in favor of BMX. I'm pretty sure that her uncle still rides, word 'round the campfire is that he remarried a cyclist but I think they live up near Idyllwyld now. My understanding is that neither she nor her new husband friend ride any longer and that they have joined the national Fat and Lazy team. So there's four cyclists down (yeah, I'm counting me because lots of people don't consider BMX cycling).

My son, on the other hand, has picked up cycling in a big way and rides with a large group of college-age kids who didn't used to ride. So ultimately I think it's the same... it all balanced out.
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Old 03-07-12, 12:52 AM
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Having lived and cycled in Southern California for the past several decades, I have watched the rise of cycling as a sport. Given there are millions of more people in the state that a few decades ago, however, it is only logical that there are more people into cycling now than in years past. Percentage wise, compared to the overall population, I doubt anybody on BF knows the answer.
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Old 03-07-12, 08:29 AM
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When viewed on PCH in Huntington Beach, it appears that way because there's simply one PCH going thru H.B., just like there's one Santa Monica freeway going to downtown L.A.
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Old 03-07-12, 02:41 PM
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I'm seeing a lot of younger people in OC into the "fixie" trend. I think it's good because these kids may make the switch from their fixie to full on road bikes. Many go fast, and ride on trails, then when they get passed by cyclists, they will want to go faster too and make the switch.
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Old 03-07-12, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
One crowded day on the bike path does not a resurgence make. But as Qui Gon Jinn said, "Your focus determines your reality." If you spend more time riding and thinking about it, of course you'll notice more people out riding. Same thing happens if you buy a Volkwagen Jetta--suddenly they're everywhere.

Been riding since '84, just before the Lemond surge. Seems like every time an American does well on the Tour, riding suddenly becomes more popular. Either that, or we all get inspired to get off the couch and dust our bikes off. But of course now that Lance is no longer racing, the bandwagon-jumpers will go find the Next Big Thing, like P90X, Planking, Parkour, or whatever......
I agree here with calamari. Endurance sports, including cycling have suddenly become the fashionable thing to do. People are running marathons, participating in Tri events, riding century's because it is on their bucket list.
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Old 03-07-12, 04:05 PM
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I am not a veteran cyclist but I start road biking about 3 years ago and when I got into it, I had no friends who were cyclists. I'm not even sure why I got into it but I think it was something along the lines of looking for something to do to get in shape outside of the gym and always having enjoyed cycling.

Today I have many friends who have gotten into cycling and have started riding with me. I like to think that part of it is my influence but I think a lot of it is me + a growing number of people around them as well.

It's kind of funny because literally every couple of months I get a call or an email from a friend saying "hey, i'm thinking of getting a road bike. what should i get?" and then we go cycling together.
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Old 03-07-12, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HBxRider
I'm seeing a lot of younger people in OC into the "fixie" trend. I think it's good because these kids may make the switch from their fixie to full on road bikes. Many go fast, and ride on trails, then when they get passed by cyclists, they will want to go faster too and make the switch.
Funny thing, as I was driving home yesterday evening, I notice the kids on fixies and I think to myself, they're all over the place now (kinda like pigeons) and how I kinda don't like them (the fixies). But, they are actually a good thing because they are out there and they are everywhere and that hopefully raises driver awareness to look out for cyclists since there are so many out on the road now days.
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Old 03-07-12, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobsled
Funny thing, as I was driving home yesterday evening, I notice the kids on fixies and I think to myself, they're all over the place now (kinda like pigeons) and how I kinda don't like them (the fixies). But, they are actually a good thing because they are out there and they are everywhere and that hopefully raises driver awareness to look out for cyclists since there are so many out on the road now days.
Good point. More cyclists can only be a good thing for us, no matter what kind of bike.
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Old 03-16-12, 05:58 AM
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Yes. We're in the midst of a boom, similar to the late 1800's and the seventies.
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Old 03-16-12, 06:11 AM
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From my experience in cycling for ~ 25 years as a commuter/part-time tourer, I've seen an increase in cycling clubs doing group rides, especially on the weekends. However, I have not seen an increase in commuting. Although I'm sure there is some increase in large cities, such as D.C., NYC...., but in the big picture, not so much.
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Old 03-29-12, 09:41 AM
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I see more commuters on my way to work every day. Every year the numbers appear to increase.
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Old 03-29-12, 10:12 AM
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Hard to say since the numbers vary so much in different locations. My impression is that I see an increase over the last decade in the numbers of cyclists in training ride groups, especially compared to the late 90s when the numbers seemed to be declining. But I remember seeing more individual and utility riders during the mid-70s bike boom than now.
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Old 03-29-12, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by john gault
I've seen an increase in cycling clubs doing group rides, especially on the weekends. However, I have not seen an increase in commuting.
I've got similar observations here in CA. I've been riding around here since 2000 and I think club riding has increased but commuting not that much. According to this article in NY Times, ridership has declined in the decade 1991-2001 but they don't give any specific numbers (and NO, I don't want to turn this into a discussion about the "H" word ).
By the way, I've noticed some decline in organized ride participation. For example, the registration for the Death Ride used to be by lottery, now you can register just like for any other ride (although still well in advance). The Breathless Agony used to sell out in a week, this year it's been 3 months since the registration opened and it is still open. It seems they are running out of masochists, because party rides like the Amtrak century still remain quite popular.
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