Well, the dialog from a few days ago about the bike industry and gas prices has produced a lot of great points of discussion. If you haven't seen the comments, go take a look.
One comment in particular that caught my attention comes from James Thomas (check out his blog too, by the way- good commentary there too);
I agree with you to a point. Yes, I like commuting because it is “free” riding time that I would otherwise have to spend in a car. I personally would much rather be on my bike than cooped up in a car even if they were giving gas away. I also agree that most Americans are a bit lazy and are not likely to change their driving habits long term until gas prices get a lot higher than they are now. Still, I think the bicycle industry is at least partially to blame for not doing enough to get average people on bikes. Most companies are happy to market their flagship road and mountain bikes as expensive high performance toys. As the owner of several expensive bikes, I have no problem with that. The problem is that all of the less expensive bikes are styled to look like trickle down versions of the racers. People may buy them, but they don’t necessarily ride them once the newness wears off. Anything that varies from the racing bike inspired model is considered to be “uncool”. As trivial as it seems, the coolness factor can make or break any product released in this country no matter whether it serves its purpose well or not. For example, since scooters have already been mentioned, look at the popularity of the new retro styled Vespas. Many people are happy to ride one of those down to the corner Starbucks. They are also probably willing to park it close to the outdoor seating for everyone to see. The same people wouldn’t be caught dead on an old Japanese moped that serves the same purpose. Though they are essentially the same product, Vespas are considered cool and mopeds are not. If any of the big American bike companies were willing to get their marketing muscle behind some cool transportation oriented designs, I believe they would find a steadily growing group of young, progressive users. Nobody can instantly get average Americans of all ages to ride for transportation (and as others already pointed out, our cities are not geared for it), but it certainly seems like the industry should be looking to expand its market base by opening the public’s eyes to transportation cycling.
There are a lot of good points in there, as well as in other comments left in that particular post. Obviously, I am happy to see so much dialog taking place about this because I love this stupid industry, probably too much, and I look forward to seeing more people on bikes, for life, and a healthier industry. Keep the feedback coming...
So this weekend is my best friend's birthday and I am making the drive to Los Angeles, where he lives, tonight so I can go on a birthday ride with him. Since he has a lot of riding friends up in LA, they are all going on a nice long birthday ride and I'm gonna drag my fat, tired, outta shape butt up all those hills with them. It won't be pretty, but it's his birthday and I owe him a ride in his neck of the woods since he rides down here with me regularly.
I hope all of you have great rides too...