So Many Runs, So Few Rides...


May 11, 2014
Anybody noticed that there always seems to be at least 4 charity runs being advertised on the radio at any one time, but there seems to only be a few bike rides of any sort, which you hear about only at the bike shop? Any idea on why this is the case?
Logistics mostly. Runs are shorter and require less resources. Also most everyone has a pair of shoes, not everyone rides.

Falls on a bike are more likely to land someone in a hospital.

Running requires...uh...let's see...a pair of WallyWorld shoes and an iPotato to post 5K finish line selfies to FaceTime #i'msoawesome! Not so much skill required beyond putting one foot in front of the other.

Cycling...not even close. As easy as it is to simply ride a bicycle, very few have the skill sets needed to get one across a finish line only 20 miles away. Add in the cost and complexity (to most Americans a bicycle is more complicated than the Mars Lander) of a bike, the maintenance requirements, the learning curve, the conditioning, the weird clothing and...well, hey! Did you guys check out my FaceTime pictures from the big 5K last weekend?

Americans also regard the bicycle as a child's toy and not one citizen in 100 could discern a big box store '10-speed' from a Pinarello Dogma/Campy Super Record EPS. Running, thanks to folks like Mr. Fixx and the millions of 5K warriors that shuffle, jog, race walk and even manage to break into a nice stride, is considered a real sport.

Running is so much easier to do in almost every aspect you can compare to cycling. Until we start talking about serious running...

It also causes so many more activity-related injuries, too...provided you can keep a bicycle rubber side down and avoid contact with 2-ton vehicles. Cycling is much easier on the body and is often the last refuge of runners that repeatedly tore themselves up, rehabilitated...and then went out and injured themselves, again.

I really wish I could run. It's an awesome sport IMO. Like swimming, it's a pure sport.

One other factor to consider is the cyclical nature of the popularity of cycling.

During times of hippie dippy green 'revolutions', high gas prices, Greggy or Lance winning that big bike race in France cycling events are more numerous and better attended. Cycling has been in one of its slumps ever since Lance got busted doing what everybody else did and still does. Easy come...easy go.

And one last point...

Cycling in America is DAMNED DANGEROUS! Despite the bikie loons in the "Is Road Cycling Dangerous?" thread, most of America...dumb as we are...have figured that much out.

And thus, upon becoming responsible adults, they avoid cycling like the dangerous plague that it is and buy large SUV's and Bro Dozer trucks to join the fray and perpetuate the dangers of the Great American Road in a game of never ending up-armoring.

Oh...did I mention cell phones? Yeah, all responsible adults stick an iPotato in their ear 24/7/365. This device not only helps increase the dangers of the Great American Road, it simultaneously blocks out any thought of every cycling past the age of 16 and kills brain cells even if it doesn't kill drivers and cyclists.
Lol, that's funny, Campy, not only because you are good with a phrase, but because of the truths in what you wrote.

I looked pretty awesome in my last 5K Finish Line Selfie taken with my iPhone and posted to Facebook, but at least my shoes came from Running Fit - and I can get across the finish line 20 miles from Go.
I don't know where the OP lives, but here I could have my choice of 4-5-6 rides or races of different types pretty much every weekend from May to October - plenty of choices.
Quote by MBB:
"I looked pretty awesome in my last 5K Finish Line Selfie taken with my iPhone and posted to Facebook..."

See! See! LOL!

I used to race the old Revco Drug race in Cleveland. It was a day of running AND cycling events. All the different Cat's of bike racing attracted maybe 300-400 racers and maybe 12 spectators, total, watched us destroy tens of thousands of dollars worth of crit bikes and leave gladiatorial blood all over the 4-turn course. A mostly ignored spectacle, for sure.

The runners looked like a plague of locusts and thousands and thousands of their family members and friends lined their course!

Let's face it. At its best and most popular cycling in general and racing in particular is a niche sport. A very, very small niche sport at that.

Competitive table tennis, anyone?
A niche can be a good place to be, though. I haven't done enough events (and only charity rides, no real races to date) to comment about turnout of either entrants or spectators, but one of the rides I've done, the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association, is pretty massive -gottta be 3 or 4 thousand people participating. It's a "big deal".

Revco - wow, there's a name from the past. We had those here in Michigan, too. I think Revco became Rite Aid? Or was it CVS? Or Walgreens? Or ... good god, every town in America looks the same now, with a Wal-Mart and an Applebee's and a Target and 6 drugstores and 42 7 Elevens and about a billion fast food joints. Kinda sad ....
I forget which outfit bought Revco, but I still have Revco musettes, bottles, hats, T-shirts, etc.

In 1972 I rode TOSRV along with around 2200 other riders. It increased in popularity to almost 10,000 riders. Today it struggles to attract 1570 riders (That is the sign-up number. Actual show-ups are less).

I have my original B&W 8"x10" print of this picture (included with the price of registration). I'm in the upper, back me!


The mass start insanity after the third flash of the camera was EPIC! Slipping on granite step in cleated shoes started the trashing of knees and was followed by the epic mass crashing out on Broad Street...which trashed many more knees.

Cycling is, indeed, in a modern era slump IMO. Despite electronic shifting, it still takes a lot of sweat to go 210 miles.
CVS - the oracle known as Google told me.

Too bad interest is down, then - I am far too new to this to know. But yeah, that sounds like a trend that meshes with the rest of lazy fat American culture. Hard work seems to be too much to ask from many people.
CVS - the oracle known as Google told me.

Too bad interest is down, then - I am far too new to this to know. But yeah, that sounds like a trend that meshes with the rest of lazy fat American culture. Hard work seems to be too much to ask from many people.
CVS - the oracle known as Google told me.

Too bad interest is down, then - I am far too new to this to know. But yeah, that sounds like a trend that meshes with the rest of lazy fat American culture. Hard work seems to be too much to ask from many people.
Regional shifts always occur, but I hear the same story from friends around the country. There are some very 'hot' events such as the New York Gran Fondue with around 6000 popular a winner doped and was busted like it was some pro road race in Europe.

This chart shows bicycle sales at the lowest level since 1991...and that period was low compared to the 1980's and even some years in the 1970's.


Of all the bikes sold in the United States, less than 20% are road bicycles.

Of that 20% I wonder how many actually see more that 100 miles in their first year of ownership before being found on Craigslist.

In this graphic it is shown that bicycle sales was around 15 million units way back in 1972-1973:


Interest in cycling has always been up and down.

For 2013 the National Bicycle Dealer's Association listed 11.3 million bicycles sold with wheel diameter of 20" or greater...far below the 15.2 million sold in 1973 when the population of the nation was only 212 million people as opposed to 319 million in 2014...not counting 20 million or more illegals, of course.

I started racing and training in 1972. I got in on THE bike boom of the century. While not as society changing as the very first and original bike boom of the late 1800's-early 1900's, experiencing the numbers of people on two wheels every day and the vast number of events available to cyclists in those days gives me a pretty fair bit of history to look back on.
I wonder what that says about tne US? Too many fatties spending their days on the sofa eyes glued to Keeping Up with the Kardashians with their hands glued to a bucket of Xtra crispy KFC? Just too many choices in life now? Short little attention spans.
All these booms seem to come and go but I've heard of an interesting fact that these booms come during a time of great depression or crisis in the country? Anyway I think there are more running events just because it is easier to prepare and organize it. However triathlon events are is catching up and duathlon events too. Hopefully there will be more events for cycling in the future.
The first boom I was apart of (the 1970 to 1972 boom) came about largely due to the increased use recreational drugs in society, hippies and the newly developing environmental movement...a perfect storm of When Idiots Collide. Economically, times were pretty good back then.

This boom was perpetuated by the first and second OPEC oil shortages/crisis (hint: there was and is NO oil shortage). Times got a lot tighter after the oil crisis and industry after industry collapsed and jobs moved overseas. Sadly, the bike boom also slowed down.

The next two mini-booms were directly related to the Tour de France racing results of Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong. Racing in the States increased a lot and recreational riding also picked up.

Throughout the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and into 2010 I witnessed no significant numbers...or insignificant numbers for that matter...of people taking to bicycles for transportation or for sport.

Even the two time periods gas hit $4.00/gallon I noticed the number of cars on the roads decreased dramatically, vehicle miles driven and trip numbers decreased, but I witnessed no additional cyclists on the roads.

Just an observation from my locale. I'm sure other areas of the country experienced different aspects of the boom periods as tied to their economic conditions.
I'm sure part of the reason bikes never really hit in 2009 is from so many Americans living in the suburbs, commuting >15 miles or more. ...and the related sweat factor eroding one's image when jobs are more difficult to find. could be we're just a nation of fat, dumb, lazy tards?

I will grant you this much: There are not many employers in my area set up for people that commute by bike.

That said, I have never heard of anyone in my area claiming to be laid off, downsized, outsourced, or just plain old fired due to being stinky and physically fit. Never.

And with that being stated, for the record I can show you at least two very obese people that cost my company tens of thousands of dollars in health care each year that smell to high heaven. They could not reach their backsides in a shower if their lives depended on it. Their work areas also stink. They smell of the stench of whatever they are eating as they gorge, non-stop, through the work day. Their breath also stinks and that's closer than I like to get to them.

I have seen and smelled their clones at many other businesses I visit.

You are correct though. Heart attacks and stokes on the job do not smell too bad unless the victim goes terminal. In that case all bets are off.
The business world is certinly a wacky one, and I have heard of people losing their jobs due to odor. I guess it depends on your company.

...though usually odor alone is not the reason for most decisions. A piece of equipment obstructing work sometimes also figures in at times.
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There are just so many more runners than there are cyclists. If you get a group together I bet you could make it happen, yourselves

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