Georgia cyclists should be proud

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Mike Jacoubowsk, Mar 10, 2003.

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  1. I just got back from the Bike Summit in Washington DC, where for three intensive days we dealt with
    legislative issues pertaining to cycling and met with nearly all senators and representatives.
    California, my home state, had 22 people there, 3 of them bicycle retailers. But Georgia, a
    relatively small state in comparison, put together a massive effort and had 17 in attendance, about
    half of them retailers. A very impressive showing, organized by a couple of dealers who decided that
    certain aspects of cycling in Georgia "sucked" and they needed to do something about it.

    If you're interested in the agenda, a rather large .pdf file can be downloaded here-
    https://league2.securesites.com/events/summit_schedule_program03.pdf

    It was sponsored by BikesBelong (www.BikesBelong.org) and the League of American Bicyclists
    (https://league2.securesites.com/events/index.html)

    I'll have an overview of the summit and my personal experiences on our website in a few days.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
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  2. According to Mike Jacoubowsky <[email protected]>:
    >I just got back from the Bike Summit in Washington DC, where for three intensive days we dealt with
    >legislative issues pertaining to cycling and met with nearly all senators and representatives.
    >California, my home state, had 22 people there, 3 of them bicycle retailers.

    Can I be thankful that the industry wasn't better represented? [see below]

    >But Georgia, a relatively small state in comparison, put together a massive effort and had 17 in
    >attendance, about half of them retailers. A very impressive showing, organized by a couple of
    >dealers who decided that certain aspects of cycling in Georgia "sucked" and they needed to do
    >something about it.

    Looking at Georgia's website on the subject of TEA-21 I see nothing about bicycles. Did they not
    spend any of the Federal money available to them for bike projects?
    <http://www.dot.state.ga.us/specialsubjects/tea-21/index.shtml>

    >If you're interested in the agenda, a rather large .pdf file can be downloaded here-
    >https://league2.securesites.com/events/summit_schedule_program03.pdf

    I'm afraid to look.

    >It was sponsored by BikesBelong (www.BikesBelong.org)

    Aren't BikesBelong the guys that think redevelopment of parks is a good use of Transportation
    dollars? I had some good stats from their site, but they've moved stuff around so I can't find the
    article in which they laud the priorities of TEA-21. I recall that Texas and Maine had bike
    education programs for kids, but the rest of the stuff was about spending Federal money on local
    projects with tangental connections to bicycles.

    This is the disingenuous side of business again making itself known. Recall the article about
    Segway subsidy that said "`One of the reasons Dean moved to New Hampshire was he loved the 'live
    free or die' motto. Keep government out,' said Brian Toohey, a vice president at Kamen's company.
    `But to make this technology widely available, we need government help.'" (VandeHei 2003). Isn't
    that why Kamen gets awarded patents? The bike industry is behaving the same way. While cyclists
    (such as myself and I would assume BikesBelong) oppose registration fees, the Industry is looking
    for handouts.

    From BikesBelong:

    [BICYCLE] ADVOCACY
    * Its a business opportunity
    * Its not about charity or being nice
    * A chance to align allies with similar goals
    * Its both urgent and important
    * Its also a necessity

    HERE'S WHY

    * Imagine there was no Oberstar, ISTEA, TEA-21, etc.
    * Industry needs would still exist: o decent margins for retailers o market growth
    requires promotion o safety, education, co-existence on roadways o industry cooperation
    o working together

    NOW ADD THESE UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITIES

    * We sell the remedy to much of what ails our society
    * We need to act on these opportunities: o Livable Communities o Health Community o ISTEA/TEA-21
    o Traffic congestion o Can you say Oberstar?

    <http://bikesbelong.org/site/page.cfm?PageID=24>

    This reads, "How do we make more money?" followed by "sell the remedy," not "provide the remedy."
    This is analagous to the auto industry that looks to sell warmed-over leaf-sprung trucks first with
    after-the-fact pitches about "crashworthiness," "visibility," and "load carrying-capability."

    In recent years the Bike Industry has churned out expensive suspended toys for the well-to-do,
    marginal and gimmick-laden imitation suspended toys for the poor, and increasingly proprietary
    devices for the middle segment. The Bike Industry has done nothing to keep large players like
    Performance/Nashbar/Supergo from consolidating the high end of the playing field. The Bike
    Industry is gladly cannibalizing mid-range small-business sales by pumping shinier product into
    big box stores.

    To buy a generator hub for my bike I had to turn to the grey market. Manufacturers and retailers
    excuse themselves from safety regulations by selling bikes without pedals.

    The industry has been all-too-happy to see cycling marginalized as a mere sport. With the promotion
    of Downhilling and Urban BMX it degrades cycling even lower: now it is sold as a stunt.

    Color me unimpressed with the bike industry. I'd be glad if they would leave Washington alone. They
    could easily win my support if they would turn away from stressing recreation to attract potential
    sales leads and start doing something for extant cyclists. Why does no one speak of doing anything
    about dysfunctional traffic light sensors? What about a program to prosecute drivers that act
    agressively toward cyclists?

    Oh yeah, the bike industry already has my money and doesn't want to hear from me again until my bike
    breaks or their marketers trick me into needing something new.

    REFERENCE VandeHei, Jim. 2003. "Lobbying To Put the Segway on Profit Path; Scooter's Inventor Seeks
    Federal Aid." The Washington Post. February
    24.

    ---
    Lars Lehtonen
     
  3. "Lars Lehtonen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > According to Mike Jacoubowsky <[email protected]>:
    > >I just got back from the Bike Summit in Washington DC, where for three intensive days we dealt
    > >with legislative issues pertaining to cycling and met with nearly all senators and
    > >representatives. California, my home state, had 22 people there, 3 of them bicycle retailers.
    >
    > Can I be thankful that the industry wasn't better represented? [see below]

    Am I supposed to apologize for having been there?

    >
    > >But Georgia, a relatively small state in comparison, put together a massive effort and
    had
    > >17 in attendance, about half of them retailers. A very impressive
    showing,
    > >organized by a couple of dealers who decided that certain aspects of
    cycling
    > >in Georgia "sucked" and they needed to do something about it.
    >
    > Looking at Georgia's website on the subject of TEA-21 I see nothing about bicycles. Did they not
    > spend any of the Federal money available to them for bike projects?
    > <http://www.dot.state.ga.us/specialsubjects/tea-21/index.shtml>

    From that same website-

    a.. Promote non-motorized transportation as a means of congestion mitigation.
    b.. Promote non-motorized transportation as an environmentally friendly means of mobility.
    c.. Promote connectivity of non-motorized facilities with other modes of transportation.

    d.. Promote bicycling and walking as mobility options in urban and rural areas of the state.
    e.. Develop a transportation network of primary bicycle routes throughout the state to
    provide connectivity for intrastate and interstate bicycle travel.
    f.. Promote establishment of U.S. numbered bicycle routes in Georgia as part of a national
    network of bicycle routes.
    g.. Encourage economic development opportunities that enhance bicycle and
    pedestrian mobility.

    Doesn't sound like such bad stuff to me.

    >
    > >If you're interested in the agenda, a rather large .pdf file can be downloaded here-
    > >https://league2.securesites.com/events/summit_schedule_program03.pdf
    >
    > I'm afraid to look.
    >
    > >It was sponsored by BikesBelong (www.BikesBelong.org)
    >
    > Aren't BikesBelong the guys that think redevelopment of parks is a good use of Transportation
    > dollars? I had some good stats from their site, but they've moved stuff around so I can't find the
    > article in which they laud the priorities of TEA-21. I recall that Texas and Maine had bike
    > education programs for kids, but the rest of the stuff was about spending Federal money on local
    > projects with tangental connections to bicycles.

    You've got something seriously twisted around. One of the major points to the lobbying effort was to
    try and require that bicycle and pedestrian monies set aside in TEA-21 didn't get diverted into such
    tangential projects. We had an extensive list of such things; there are some truly horrific
    examples, from most states.
    >
    > This is the disingenuous side of business again making itself known. Recall the article about
    > Segway subsidy that said "`One of the reasons Dean moved to New Hampshire was he loved the 'live
    > free or die' motto. Keep government out,' said Brian Toohey, a vice president at Kamen's company.
    > `But to make this technology widely available, we need government help.'" (VandeHei 2003). Isn't
    > that why Kamen gets awarded patents? The bike industry is behaving the same way. While cyclists
    > (such as myself and I would assume BikesBelong) oppose registration fees, the Industry is looking
    > for handouts.

    What does the Segway have to do with any of this? Because Segway is a business, and they've done
    evil things, *all* businesses have an evil agenda?

    >
    > From BikesBelong:
    >
    > [BICYCLE] ADVOCACY
    > * Its a business opportunity
    > * Its not about charity or being nice
    > * A chance to align allies with similar goals
    > * Its both urgent and important
    > * Its also a necessity
    >
    > HERE'S WHY
    >
    > * Imagine there was no Oberstar, ISTEA, TEA-21, etc.
    > * Industry needs would still exist: o decent margins for retailers o market growth requires
    > promotion o safety, education, co-existence on roadways o industry cooperation o working
    > together
    >
    > NOW ADD THESE UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITIES
    >
    > * We sell the remedy to much of what ails our society
    > * We need to act on these opportunities: o Livable Communities o Health Community o
    > ISTEA/TEA-21 o Traffic congestion o Can you say Oberstar?
    >
    > <http://bikesbelong.org/site/page.cfm?PageID=24>
    >
    > This reads, "How do we make more money?" followed by "sell the remedy," not "provide the remedy."
    > This is analagous to the auto industry that looks to sell warmed-over leaf-sprung trucks first
    > with after-the-fact pitches about "crashworthiness," "visibility," and "load carrying-capability."

    OF COURSE it's about making money! The bicycle business is just that- a business. And it's a
    business that feels threatened by a new generation of Americans who drive three blocks and eat
    terribly, and are rapidly becoming obese and sedentary. It's a business that wonders if it will have
    any customers ten years down the road, if things keep going the way they are.

    But is it so bad when the things the industry wants are things that will make it safer & easier to
    ride a bike or walk to the store? Is it so bad that the industry wants to see people more active &
    healthy? Is it so bad that SOMEBODY (the bike industry) wants to mobilize and create a force of
    change to counter that offered by the automotive & fast food folk?

    >
    > In recent years the Bike Industry has churned out expensive suspended toys for the well-to-do,
    > marginal and gimmick-laden imitation suspended toys for the poor, and increasingly proprietary
    > devices for the middle segment. The Bike Industry has done nothing to keep large players like
    > Performance/Nashbar/Supergo from consolidating the high end of the playing field. The Bike
    > Industry is gladly cannibalizing mid-range small-business sales by pumping shinier product into
    > big box stores.

    For parts of the industry, this is true. But those parts were not represented at the Bike Summit,
    nor do I think it likely they'll get behind its goals. They're more interested in the next-quarter's
    profits than any long-term issues that don't have an immediate payoff.

    >
    > To buy a generator hub for my bike I had to turn to the grey market. Manufacturers and retailers
    > excuse themselves from safety regulations by selling bikes without pedals.

    Grey market for a generator hub? I thought Sheldon sold them and, last I heard, he was legit. As for
    bikes without pedals, sorry, that has absolutely nothing to do with safety regulations. Where did
    somebody fly that idea? Just about every high-end pedal on the market has available a reflector
    carrier that can be attached for use as original equipment on bikes. Pedals on high-end bikes were
    dropped for two reasons- First, it's difficult to know what type of system a customer will want (as
    if we can't swap them out?) and second, it saves them a few dollars. But it's not about safety
    regulations.

    >
    > The industry has been all-too-happy to see cycling marginalized as a mere sport. With the
    > promotion of Downhilling and Urban BMX it degrades cycling even lower: now it is sold as a stunt.

    Agreed! But part of the industry is working to change that.

    >
    > Color me unimpressed with the bike industry. I'd be glad if they would leave Washington alone.
    > They could easily win my support if they would turn away from stressing recreation to attract
    > potential sales leads and start doing something for extant cyclists. Why does no one speak of
    > doing anything about dysfunctional traffic light sensors? What about a program to prosecute
    > drivers that act agressively toward cyclists?

    Are you aware that the standard DOT road guides now include standard, mainstream info & requirements
    for light sensors, not to mention all manner of other ways in which cyclists need to be
    accommodated? This is a change that cycling advocates worked very hard for a very long time to get,
    and should eventually make your life better.

    As for you, personally, no, the industry is not dependent upon you. Given the tone of your piece,
    I'm not sure whether to suggest you take that personally or not! But it is dependent upon very large
    numbers of people like you, and if we don't get started creating those new cyclists, people like you
    are never going to be taken seriously.

    >
    > Oh yeah, the bike industry already has my money and doesn't want to hear from me again until my
    > bike breaks or their marketers trick me into needing something new.

    For part of the industry that may be true. But BikesBelong is a bit more forward-thinking than that.
    They recognize the need to make cycling mainstream, as it is, for example, in Amsterdam. That's not
    the flashy, glitzy part that you apparently abhor, so you must wonder what's in it for them? Simple.
    The wider the base of cyclists, the more flashy & glitzy stuff you sell. Make life better for the
    commuter and you'll sell more carbon-fiber superbikes. Make a family think about a rails-to-trails
    outing instead of playing video games at home, and you just might create a more sympathetic driver
    when they're out in their SUVs.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  4. According to Mike Jacoubowsky <[email protected]>:
    >"Lars Lehtonen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >> According to Mike Jacoubowsky <[email protected]>: Can I be thankful that the industry wasn't
    >> better represented? [see below]

    >Am I supposed to apologize for having been there?

    No, I realize you're one of the good guys. It's Bikesbelong, the LAB, and the ped-cycle unions that
    I think are headed in the wrong direction.

    >>
    >> Looking at Georgia's website on the subject of TEA-21 I see nothing about bicycles. Did they not
    >> spend any of the Federal money available to them for bike projects?
    >> <http://www.dot.state.ga.us/specialsubjects/tea-21/index.shtml>
    >From that same website- [pro-biking statements clipped] Doesn't sound like such bad stuff to me.

    Sounds like lofty goals. Could you show me the URL? I don't see anything concrete about spending or
    real plans.

    >> >It was sponsored by BikesBelong (www.BikesBelong.org)
    >>
    >> [my complaints about The Bikes Belong agenda]

    >You've got something seriously twisted around. One of the major points to the lobbying effort was
    >to try and require that bicycle and pedestrian monies set aside in TEA-21 didn't get diverted into
    >such tangential projects.

    Man, I wish they hadn't moved their website around. They had a page that lauded pedestrian paths as
    part of historic preservation sites as Bikesbelong TEA-21 wins.

    >> This is the disingenuous side of business again making itself known. Recall the article about
    >> Segway subsidy that said "`One of the reasons Dean moved to New Hampshire was he loved the 'live
    >> free or die' motto. Keep government out,' said Brian Toohey, a vice president at Kamen's company.
    >> `But to make this technology widely available, we need government help.'" (VandeHei 2003). Isn't
    >> that why Kamen gets awarded patents? The bike industry is behaving the same way. While cyclists
    >> (such as myself and I would assume BikesBelong) oppose registration fees, the Industry is looking
    >> for handouts.
    >
    >What does the Segway have to do with any of this? Because Segway is a business, and they've done
    >evil things, *all* businesses have an evil agenda?

    No, that's not my meaning. I'm pointing out how easy it is for the bike business to be just as
    one-sided in its view of taxation and spending as any other. Don't tax our customers! Buy us paths
    so we can sell comfort bikes to the timid for occasional weekend use!

    >> From BikesBelong:
    >>
    >> [BICYCLE] ADVOCACY
    >> * Its a business opportunity
    >> * Its not about charity or being nice
    >> * A chance to align allies with similar goals
    >> * Its both urgent and important
    >> * Its also a necessity <http://bikesbelong.org/site/page.cfm?PageID=24>

    >> This reads, "How do we make more money?" followed by "sell the remedy," not "provide the remedy."
    >> This is analagous to the auto industry that looks to sell warmed-over leaf-sprung trucks first
    >> with after-the-fact pitches about "crashworthiness," "visibility," and "load
    >> carrying-capability."

    >OF COURSE it's about making money! The bicycle business is just that- a business. And it's a
    >business that feels threatened by a new generation of Americans who drive three blocks and eat
    >terribly, and are rapidly becoming obese and sedentary. It's a business that wonders if it will
    >have any customers ten years down the road, if things keep going the way they are.

    It's a business that is asking for my tax dollars so as to continue to please shareholders.

    >But is it so bad when the things the industry wants are things that will make it safer & easier to
    >ride a bike or walk to the store?

    I've not seen too many bike paths or abandoned railways that take me to the store.

    >Is it so bad that the industry wants to see people more active & healthy?

    I don't think the industry cares about people being active and healthy. Bikes Belong said "it's not
    about charity or being nice." They're looking to "sell the remedy to much of what ails our society."
    Lots of leaf-sprung crapmobile trucks are sold as safe, even though the numbers show them less so.
    Snake oil salesmen have been selling remedies for a long time.

    >Is it so bad that SOMEBODY (the bike industry) wants to mobilize and create a force of change to
    >counter that offered by the automotive & fast food folk?

    No.

    >> In recent years the Bike Industry has churned out expensive suspended toys for the well-to-do,
    >> marginal and gimmick-laden imitation suspended toys for the poor, and increasingly proprietary
    >> devices for the middle segment. The Bike Industry has done nothing to keep large players like
    >> Performance/Nashbar/Supergo from consolidating the high end of the playing field. The Bike
    >> Industry is gladly cannibalizing mid-range small-business sales by pumping shinier product into
    >> big box stores.
    >
    >For parts of the industry, this is true. But those parts were not represented at the Bike Summit,
    >nor do I think it likely they'll get behind its goals. They're more interested in the
    >next-quarter's profits than any long-term issues that don't have an immediate payoff.

    >> To buy a generator hub for my bike I had to turn to the grey market. Manufacturers and retailers
    >> excuse themselves from safety regulations by selling bikes without pedals.
    >
    >Grey market for a generator hub? I thought Sheldon sold them and, last I heard, he was legit.

    From the Harris site: "There is no guarantee, other than that they work when new, and replacement
    parts are not likely to be available." <http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/lighting/shimano.html> I
    get the distinct impression that these are not coming from Shimano in Irvine. Probably from Canada
    or Europe, I'd bet.

    >As for bikes without pedals, sorry, that has absolutely nothing to do with safety regulations.
    >Where did somebody fly that idea? Just about every high-end pedal on the market has available a
    >reflector carrier that can be attached for use as original equipment on bikes.

    But do many of the new bikes that leave bike shops with clipless systems wind up with reflectors on
    them? Shouldn't bike shops feel a bit bad about sending their clients out with illegal bikes?

    >> The industry has been all-too-happy to see cycling marginalized as a mere sport. With the
    >> promotion of Downhilling and Urban BMX it degrades cycling even lower: now it is sold as a stunt.

    >Agreed! But part of the industry is working to change that.

    For all my death-to-the-bike-industry talk, I'm with that segment. I spend a lot of time thinking
    about how I would run a shop orthogonal to all of the ones I've seen.

    >> Color me unimpressed with the bike industry. I'd be glad if they would leave Washington alone.
    >> They could easily win my support if they would turn away from stressing recreation to attract
    >> potential sales leads and start doing something for extant cyclists. Why does no one speak of
    >> doing anything about dysfunctional traffic light sensors? What about a program to prosecute
    >> drivers that act agressively toward cyclists?
    >
    >Are you aware that the standard DOT road guides now include standard, mainstream info &
    >requirements for light sensors, not to mention all manner of other ways in which cyclists need to
    >be accommodated? This is a change that cycling advocates worked very hard for a very long time to
    >get, and should eventually make your life better.

    I'm interested. Any URLs that point to this? I wonder what's to be done about big spread-out places
    like Los Angeles? Fixing this problem seems a way bigger deal to me than laying new bike paths.

    >As for you, personally, no, the industry is not dependent upon you. Given the tone of your piece,
    >I'm not sure whether to suggest you take that personally or not! But it is dependent upon very
    >large numbers of people like you, and if we don't get started creating those new cyclists, people
    >like you are never going to be taken seriously.

    I think about this angle as well. My current thinking holds that most adult non-cyclists are a
    lost cause. The baby boom echo will be maturing into adulthood over the next six years, and if we
    can keep them on their bikes through their teens into adulthood we would have a huge success on
    our hands.

    >[Bikes Belong] recognize the need to make cycling mainstream, as it is, for example, in
    >Amsterdam.

    That example doesn't excite me. I read about the frustration of Dutch cyclists barred from the
    roadways and stuck on substandard paths.

    >That's not the flashy, glitzy part that you apparently abhor,

    I think that something is broken in the market when the only cheap bikes that immigrants in my city
    can afford to get to work are rigged to self-destruct via goofball suspension systems. I took my
    cross/touring/commute-framed bike out to ride with mountain bikers on the Fullerton Loop and was
    dismayed by how bad their riding style was when they had to ride on the street and their
    unwillingness to ride a mile to eat dinner. Bikes all went straight from trail to pickup.

    >The wider the base of cyclists, the more flashy & glitzy stuff you sell.

    Sounds reasonable.

    >Make life better for the commuter and you'll sell more carbon-fiber superbikes.

    Comparing the bike business to the automotive: doesn't Dodge sell Vipers for the prestige so as to
    sell more Neons? Wouldn't you rather be Volkswagen ca. 1975 than Lamborghini ca. 1975?

    >Make a family think about a rails-to-trails outing instead of playing video games at home, and you
    >just might create a more sympathetic driver when they're out in their SUVs.

    Playstation 2 :$ 175.00 Four games @ fifty bucks:$ 200.00
    ------
    total 375.00

    Don't get me wrong. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve riding in the back of my parents'
    Raleigh Sports or on the Huffy I called my own. My Uncle worked for Bridgestone and gave me a `100'
    for Christmas '86. I was in the sixth grade. I have no idea what that bike retailed for, but I rode
    it all over Colorado Springs and eventually in High School rode it from Orange County California to
    San Diego with my Scout Troop. Reasonably light, but no braze-ons, rat-trap pedals, 27x1
    1/4 wheels, and stem shifter. It was solid enough that I suspect whoever stole it is probably still
    riding it. Why does the bike business insist on artificially increasing the price of bikes with a
    suspension and indexing tax?

    Family of four--Decent low-end bikes

    2 Trek 7100s :$ 600.00 Trek MT TRACK 240 :$ 300.00 Trek MT TRACK 60 :$ 220.00 4 Helmets :$ 80.00
    ------
    total 1200.00

    ---
    Lars Lehtonen
     
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