What about teenagers with bikes?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Matt J, Jan 23, 2003.

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  1. Matt J

    Matt J Guest

    Sure, there's teenagers riding in their Hummers. Whoop-dee. What about teens on BIKES, eh? Are there
    many out in this ng? So much more fun than fording rivers and staying dry... Matt
     
    Tags:


  2. Matt J wrote:
    >
    > Sure, there's teenagers riding in their Hummers. Whoop-dee. What about teens on BIKES, eh? Are
    > there many out in this ng? So much more fun than fording rivers and staying dry...

    I'm sorry to say that in the US, bicycle usage is in decline.

    Don't know if that is a reflection of kids not pedaling around neighborhoods anymore, or if the
    interest in road racing that brough many adults into bicycling has faded, or something else.

    I do know that suburban development, which is largely entirely "car-centric" in nature, makes riding
    around the neighborhood a risky business, even if a destination were near by.

    Increasingly, destinations are not near by, nor easily ridable, and the rise of "organized
    activities" in place of ad hoc play for children, has resulted in bicycling being dropped in favor
    of soccer or peewee football, etc.

    Too bad.

    SMH
     
  3. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Stephen Harding" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Matt J wrote:
    > >
    > > Sure, there's teenagers riding in their Hummers. Whoop-dee. What about teens on BIKES, eh? Are
    > > there many out in this ng? So much more fun than fording rivers and staying dry...
    >
    > I'm sorry to say that in the US, bicycle usage is in decline.
    >
    > Don't know if that is a reflection of kids not pedaling around neighborhoods anymore, or if the
    > interest in road racing that brough many adults into bicycling has faded, or something else.

    I attribute it to three things -- first, general laziness. Kids who spend their lives on the sofa
    and don't do PE in school can't ride a bike a couple of blocks without feeling miserable. It won't
    get better unless they start, and they won't start because it makes them feel miserable. The longer
    they live this way, the worse it gets.

    Second, there's a huge social stigma against not arriving by car. When I started high school,
    biycles were the dominant form of transportation. But by the time my brother got there 7 years
    later, almost no one rode a bike to school. The bike corrals that had been filled to overflowing
    were empty. I'm not sure what prompted this, but it seems to be an image-consciousness thing. Cool
    people drive cars, or have friends who drive cars. Those who ride a bike, walk, or take the bus
    are losers.

    Finally, and this is a big reason too, is parental paranoia from too much "gonnagitcha" TV
    programming. There's a child molester hiding behind every tree, you know... (In fact the opposite is
    true, there was a higher rate of such crime in the 70s.)

    > I do know that suburban development, which is largely entirely "car-centric" in nature, makes
    > riding around the neighborhood a risky business, even if a destination were near by.

    > Increasingly, destinations are not near by, nor easily ridable,

    This is true about real estate development, but the risk you cite is overblown, and so is the
    distance. CA in the 70s was the same as the boomtowns of today, with isolated housing tracts and
    no-rules development. Other countries have the same kind of suburban development we do, yet they're
    still not as car-dependent as we are. People there just don't view having to walk or ride a few
    miles as anything out of the ordinary.

    But while we're on the subject of urban planning...

    One of the worst examples I've seen lately is a housing tract in Myrtle Beach, SC, which is adjacent
    to a junior high school, separated by a narrow strip of wooded open space (maybe 100 yards). The
    housing is completely fenced in, with no breaks in the fence for kids to walk through to get to
    school. This is a rather large tract, which takes a good ten minutes to drive from entrance to
    deepest point. I can't imagine what the morning traffic is like (I hear it's horrendous). Of course,
    the reason there are no breaks in the fence is that it wouldn't even occur to anyone to walk.

    Not to mention that if you live at the deepest point and your house catches fire, or you have heart
    attack, you could die waiting for emergency services to arrive.

    > and the rise of "organized activities" in place of ad hoc play for children, has resulted in
    > bicycling being dropped in favor of soccer or peewee football, etc.

    When I was a kid, we had all these activities, and more (school and parks/rec budgets were still
    relatively flush). We rode our bikes to get to them. We also rode to the beach with our surfboards
    under our arms, to the park with our baseball gear, with model airplanes, whatever. Along with
    bicycling, tennis was really big in the 70s. It seemed every bike had a couple of tennis balls
    stuffed into the spokes. Today, people *drive* to the gym a few blocks away. We delivered newspapers
    on our bikes -- can you imagine today's ten year olds carrying 100 newspapers (or even their parents
    letting them)? The neighborhood I grew up in is still about the same, and still full of kids, except
    the kids don't ride bikes anymore.

    So environmental and practical considerations haven't changed much. The big change has
    been cultural.

    Matt O.
     
  4. Matt O'Toole wrote:

    > So environmental and practical considerations haven't changed much. The big change has been
    > cultural.

    When I was in High School in the later 60's, no one rode a bike to school. I and my best friend were
    about the only ones who did so. We just liked to pedal or walk.

    Some kids drove to school, but they either had to have a certain average grade and be seniors, or
    have a job to go to immediately after school, requiring direct motor transport.

    With the 70's came the "racing bike" or "10-speed" craze. Everyone was riding them and the school
    bike racks were filled.

    I ride by my old HS on my way to work and once again, the bike racks are empty (not a function of 0
    degree weather!). No one seems to be riding a bike to school these days.

    However the school parking lot is packed with student cars. It seems everyone who can drive does so.
    In fact, the school parking lot has perhaps tripled in size from when I went to school there, yet HS
    year class sizes are smaller.

    SMH
     
  5. Stephen Harding wrote:

    > Don't know if that is a reflection of kids not pedaling around neighborhoods anymore, or if the
    > interest in road racing that brough many adults into bicycling has faded, or something else.

    I agree. When I was in elementary and junior high school, there were dozens of bikes at the school
    each day. When I go to my daughter's school today, I see no bikes despite plenty of houses around.
    And this is elementary school. Kids still ride them and I even see the occasional adult riding them
    but yea, bikes are on the decline, especially for young teens. I think skateboarding, scooters
    (nothing wrong with either) and such are partly to blame but laziness, video games and such are
    another reason. And in high school, it is a social thing not to ride a bike or even to show up on
    the bus anymore.
     
  6. Matt J

    Matt J Guest

    Stephen Harding <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I'm sorry to say that in the US, bicycle usage is in decline.
    >
    > Don't know if that is a reflection of kids not pedaling around neighborhoods anymore, or if the
    > interest in road racing that brough many adults into bicycling has faded, or something else.
    >
    > I do know that suburban development, which is largely entirely "car-centric" in nature, makes
    > riding around the neighborhood a risky business, even if a destination were near by.
    >
    > Increasingly, destinations are not near by, nor easily ridable, and the rise of "organized
    > activities" in place of ad hoc play for children, has resulted in bicycling being dropped in favor
    > of soccer or peewee football, etc.
    >
    > Too bad.
    >
    >
    > SMH

    Well then maybe we should do something? I'm only 15, and I've got a speed-skater friend who rides
    with me. Any way to get bike racing back into the mainstream? I remember the race scenes from
    Breaking Away, and wonder why that can't still happen. What is there to do? Get cycling events on
    network television? In starting a "bike club" at my high school, it's hard to get people to join -
    what can we do in a situation like that? Matt
     
  7. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "SC Hiker Biker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Stephen Harding wrote:
    >
    > > Don't know if that is a reflection of kids not pedaling around neighborhoods anymore, or if the
    > > interest in road racing that brough many adults into bicycling has faded, or something else.
    >
    > I agree. When I was in elementary and junior high school, there were dozens of bikes at the school
    > each day. When I go to my daughter's school today, I see no bikes despite plenty of houses around.
    > And this is elementary school.

    > Kids still ride them and I even see the occasional adult riding them but yea, bikes are on the
    > decline, especially for young teens. I think skateboarding, scooters (nothing wrong with either)
    > and such are partly to blame but laziness, video games and such are another reason.

    This is true too -- bike riding probably *was* kids' main activity in the mid-70s. Every vacant
    lot had been turned into a BMX track. Our elementary school had a circular concrete path around
    a playground. We threw sand on the corners and pretended we were "speedway" motorcycle racers,
    "powersliding" our way around. This became so popular kids showed up an hour or two before
    school to race.

    Of course, this was influenced by motorcycle racing, which was very popular then too. Warren
    Miller's film "On Any Sunday" was an unbelieveably huge hit, and either instigated or fueled what
    became today's BMX. BMX bikes have 20" wheels not because of any technical reason, but because they
    evolved from the modified Stingrays of the 70s.

    Matt O.
     
  8. Stephen Harding <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Matt J wrote:
    > >
    > > Sure, there's teenagers riding in their Hummers. Whoop-dee. What about teens on BIKES, eh? Are
    > > there many out in this ng? So much more fun than fording rivers and staying dry...
    >
    > I'm sorry to say that in the US, bicycle usage is in decline.
    >
    > Don't know if that is a reflection of kids not pedaling around neighborhoods anymore, or if the
    > interest in road racing that brough many adults into bicycling has faded, or something else.
    >
    > I do know that suburban development, which is largely entirely "car-centric" in nature, makes
    > riding around the neighborhood a risky business, even if a destination were near by.

    Or if there were a destination to ride to *at all*. Drive two miles to get a loaf of bread. Three to
    go to school.

    This starts a downward spiral; road traffic increases, making riding on those roads an even more
    intimidating prospect, which means more automotive traffic.

    Housing development in the suburbs continues unabated; roads that had been previously narrow,
    two-lane, seldom-trafficked byways remain narrow and two-lane--but clogged with thousands of more
    single-occupancy SUVs, full of people going to work, shops etc, all of which are moving at dozens of
    miles per hour beyond posted legal speed limits. None of this helps the cause of the kid being sent
    down to the market for bread, or who wants to ride over to the park to play ball.

    Fear plays a part. Parents are more afraid for their children, even as their environment (in
    statistical terms) gets safer and safer. Random crime, especially as directed at children, sells
    papers and generates fear vastly out of proportion to its real danger. Riding a bicycle, then,
    becomes a high-risk activity, which parents are unwilling to allow their children to do.

    For suburban teens, the car-centricity of the culture (arising, as I have suggested briefly above,
    from the pattern of land-use and development) puts them in a social bind. To have a social
    life--indeed, contact with your friends--means to get out of the house. But getting out of the
    house means driving--therefore driving at the earliest possible opportunity. The bicycle, because
    cannot carry them safely anywhere (so everybody tells them, and so they come to believe) is a toy.
    Young children play with toys; proper people--as of course all adolescents dream themselves to
    be--drive cars.

    [These same adolescents will spend a great deal of cash on bicycles, but largely on mountain bikes
    which are rarely if ever ridden in a transportational role. The appeal is status--being as cool as
    the gravity-game guys on TV--and excess: I have enough cash to spend on a superfluous toy. Witness
    the proliferation of over-spec mountain bikes that make college campuses such paradises for
    professional bicycle thieves]

    So who does get around by bicycle in the suburbs? Where my family lives (Northern Virginia) two
    sorts of people: the very affluent, and the very poor.

    The very affluent see themselves as the good guys. They are mild-mannered, clark-kent suburbanites
    who get on their bikes and go to the nearest train station to go to work.

    The very poor bicycle-riders are largely recent immigrants from Central America, for whom the
    bicycle is the only choice for transportation. I have seen groups of workmen riding surprising
    distances on 20 year old bike boom relics in their work clothes. They ride on sidewalks. They ride
    slowly. They are not "Effective Cyclists," they behave like pedestrians. They ride because tehy
    can't afford to drive. They can't even afford to buy a new *xmart bike. But they ride.

    [This of course leads me to speculate that perhaps bicycle activism is misdirected--that instead of
    being directed at the middle-class buyers of nice bikes (I include myself, as I enjoy my
    half-kilobuck machine), they should rather be directed to speak to those people which necessity
    compels onto two wheels. Education as to rights and responsibilities in traffic, safety, proper
    lighting, and the like, *in the appropriate language(s!)* will do a great deal of public good,
    reducing accident rates and increasing confidence among these groups]

    -Luigi

    (the above has been exclusively about my observations on transportational cycling in the suburbs.
    Cycling for sport and recreation (largely but not exclusively an elite hobby, I would argue) has
    been excluded, as I could attach to that discussion more digressions than can be fixed to a
    trailer-hitch bicycle carrier on a Suburban)
     
  9. Matt O'Toole wrote:
    >
    > "Stephen Harding" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Increasingly, destinations are not near by, nor easily ridable,
    >
    > One of the worst examples I've seen lately is a housing tract in Myrtle Beach, SC, which is
    > adjacent to a junior high school, separated by a narrow strip of wooded open space (maybe 100
    > yards). The housing is completely fenced in, with no breaks in the fence for kids to walk through
    > to get to school. This is a rather large tract, which takes a good ten minutes to drive from
    > entrance to deepest point. I can't imagine what the morning traffic is like (I hear it's
    > horrendous). Of course, the reason there are no breaks in the fence is that it wouldn't even occur
    > to anyone to walk.

    There are many similar examples within two miles of me, here in NE Ohio. For example, there are
    two adjacent housing developments with fences, etc. to separate them, because the less-expensive
    one features homes worth "only" $150,000. Can't have such rabble roaming the classier
    neighborhood, you know!

    We've also got a large neighborhood next to a large township park, but no entry to the park. Park
    officials actually want kids to be driven in via the five-lane strip-mall road, not bike in. The
    theory is that unsupervised kids in a park might cause vandalism!

    Our church is on a busy road, but backs up to quiet neighborhoods. No walking access through those
    neighborhoods - you're forced to deal with the busy road. Once there was informal access down the
    property line between two houses, but one house was sold. The new owner was horrified that people
    were walking to church only 30 feet from his house.

    I could go on. But the overriding idea is, anything but motorized access is not considered, or
    actively discouraged. Unfortunately, it would take a concentrated, dedicated effort to have any hope
    of changing this.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  10. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Luigi de Guzman" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    > The very poor bicycle-riders are largely recent immigrants from Central America, for whom the
    > bicycle is the only choice for transportation. I have seen groups of workmen riding surprising
    > distances on 20 year old bike boom relics in their work clothes. They ride on sidewalks. They ride
    > slowly. They are not "Effective Cyclists," they behave like pedestrians. They ride because tehy
    > can't afford to drive. They can't even afford to buy a new *xmart bike. But they ride.

    I see a LOT of those guys in Cincinnati and Newport News. Some have actually graduated to the *mart
    bikes. Full susp, 24" rims, ridden by an adult. But, as soon as they can, its into a car.
    Frequently, a clapped out SUV or Lincoln. Soon to have the cool rims, and dingleballs hanging from
    the mirror.

    The building I work in has maybe a couple thousand people. I've seen 3 bike commuters. One guy on a
    VW Trek(full commuter setup. lights, fenders, etc), one guy with a Bike E, and me.

    >
    > [This of course leads me to speculate that perhaps bicycle activism is misdirected--that instead
    > of being directed at the middle-class buyers of nice bikes (I include myself, as I enjoy my
    > half-kilobuck machine), they should rather be directed to speak to those people which necessity
    > compels onto two wheels. Education as to rights and responsibilities in traffic, safety, proper
    > lighting, and the like, *in the appropriate language(s!)* will do a great deal of public good,
    > reducing accident rates and increasing confidence among these groups]

    Not so sure about that. It seems to be working for those that do it. Riding slowly on the sidewalk,
    and its not actually that *unsafe*. Just a wheeled pedestrian. And the sidewalks are usually VERY
    empty. The trick is to ride very slowly. But it is faster than walking.

    If all the rider can afford is a $25 bike, shelling out more for lights and batteries is a no go.

    Pete
     
  11. On Thu, 23 Jan 2003 12:21:52 -0500 in rec.bicycles.misc, Stephen Harding
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Increasingly, destinations are not near by, nor easily ridable, and the rise of "organized
    > activities" in place of ad hoc play for children, has resulted in bicycling being dropped in favor
    > of soccer or peewee football, etc.
    >
    the way to counter this is to start bike clubs in middle schools and carry them over into
    high school. some of my club's members did that, with after school training rides and weekend
    trail rides.

    quite a few of them started competing in our club's mountain bike races, and were beating adults in
    races by the time they entered high school. some of them are still riding their bikes a lot even
    though they drive, but our school board sends the wrong message: they provide no secure place to
    park bikes.

    our new high school will have hundreds of car parking places, but they aren't planning bike lockers,
    though i have testified at a number of meetings, urging them to do so. kids riding full suspension
    MTBs are *not* going to ride them to school if they can be vandalized.
     
  12. On 23 Jan 2003 15:30:23 -0800 in rec.bicycles.misc, [email protected] (Matt J) wrote:

    > Well then maybe we should do something? I'm only 15, and I've got a speed-skater friend who rides
    > with me. Any way to get bike racing back into the mainstream? I remember the race scenes from
    > Breaking Away, and wonder why that can't still happen. What is there to do? Get cycling events on
    > network television? In starting a "bike club" at my high school, it's hard to get people to join -
    > what can we do in a situation like that?

    not that he's not busy enough already, but i wish lance armstrong would spend a little more time
    promoting junior racing, since that's where he got his start.
     
  13. Matt J

    Matt J Guest

    [email protected] (Hunrobe) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > >[email protected] (Matt J)
    >
    > wrote:
    >
    > >Well then maybe we should do something? I'm only 15, and I've got a speed-skater friend who rides
    > >with me. Any way to get bike racing back into the mainstream? I remember the race scenes from
    > >Breaking Away, and wonder why that can't still happen. What is there to do? Get cycling events on
    > >network television? In starting a "bike club" at my high school, it's hard to get people to join
    > >- what can we do in a situation like that? Matt
    >
    >
    > What to do: 1- Ignore the lack of mainstream interest in cycling. Nonconformity is not illegal or
    > immoral.

    > 4- Instead of starting a cycling club from scratch, look into joining an existing club. Just
    > because those clubs don't generally meet at the local HS, that doesn't mean you won't be welcome.
    > Yes, you may have to ride with some old farts but you *can* always bring along a peer or two.
    > Three HS students would have a tough time starting their own club but they could have a blast
    > riding with a larger group- if they can keep up with those old farts, that is. <g>
    >
    > Regards, Bob Hunt

    Thanks for the encouragement. It's not the noncomformity I'm worried about -- that just makes things
    harder. We've sort of tried to integrate the bike club with a group of "old farts" that two of the
    teacher-sponsors ride with on weekends. The problem, however, is that we're not sure how to
    introduce someone without intimidating them. 20 mph seems fast to new people... We'll keep working
    on it as the weather getswarmer though. Matt
     
  14. > > [This of course leads me to speculate that perhaps bicycle activism is misdirected--that instead
    > > of being directed at the middle-class buyers of nice bikes (I include myself, as I enjoy my
    > > half-kilobuck machine), they should rather be directed to speak to those people which necessity
    > > compels onto two wheels. Education as to rights and responsibilities in traffic, safety, proper
    > > lighting, and the like, *in the appropriate language(s!)* will do a great deal of public good,
    > > reducing accident rates and increasing confidence among these groups]
    >
    > Not so sure about that. It seems to be working for those that do it. Riding slowly on the
    > sidewalk, and its not actually that *unsafe*. Just a wheeled pedestrian. And the sidewalks are
    > usually VERY empty. The trick is to ride very slowly. But it is faster than walking.

    Granted. What they are doing, however--riding on the sidewalk--may in actual fact be unlawful,
    depending on the jurisdiction.

    My interest in this is not entirely altruistic. If motorists see that the only people who are riding
    bicycles can't ride them on the road--where they have a legal right to be--it will perpetuate the
    fiction that bicycles do not actually belong with normal traffic. This of course means more people
    yelling at me to get off the road.

    >
    > If all the rider can afford is a $25 bike, shelling out more for lights and batteries is a no go.

    Lights need not be expensive, just visible. a cheap clamp to attach a flashlight to the handlebars
    for the front. Even a super-cheap old-style D-cell rear bicycle light--with a bulb rather than a
    LED--would be an immense improvement in nighttime safety for all concerned.

    -Luigi
     
  15. MattJ wrote:

    >Thanks for the encouragement. It's not the noncomformity I'm worried about -- that just makes
    >things harder. We've sort of tried to integrate the bike club with a group of "old farts" that two
    >of the teacher-sponsors ride with on weekends. The problem, however, is that we're not sure how to
    >introduce someone without intimidating them. 20 mph seems fast to new people... We'll keep working
    >on it as the weather gets warmer though.

    This and some other comments bring up an issue that I would like info on
    - How many local bike clubs (other than BMX or MTB) actually have programs or rides that welcome and
    encourage kids to ride with them? My experience has been that the average club tends to ignore
    teenagers and younger kids, other than lamenting the fact that kids don't seem to ride anymore. My
    12-year-old granddaughter, who has been riding with me since she was old enough to stay upright on
    a bike, has done her centuries, group rides, cross-state rides, etc., but complains that she is
    usually the only person on most rides who is under 20 or so.

    So, what's to be done, other than wringing hands about suburban design, the lack of school
    facilities for bikes, and that the culture doesn't encourage it? So far I've seen little in the way
    of realistic, constructive suggestions.

    Alexander Gilchrist
     
  16. Responding to Matt O'Toole:

    I more remember the banana seat bikes then the BMX bikes (were they even called BMX in the 70's? I
    don't recall). But yes, children if you noticed played a lot more outside back then. How things have
    changed. I also can't recall remembering an adult riding a bike in the 70's.
     
  17. Luigi de Guzman wrote:

    > [This of course leads me to speculate that perhaps bicycle activism is misdirected--that instead
    > of being directed at the middle-class buyers of nice bikes (I include myself, as I enjoy my
    > half-kilobuck machine), they should rather be directed to speak to those people which necessity
    > compels onto two wheels. Education as to rights and responsibilities in traffic, safety, proper
    > lighting, and the like, *in the appropriate language(s!)* will do a great deal of public good,
    > reducing accident rates and increasing confidence among these groups]

    There are two make/break areas in promoting bicycle or alternate transport to my mind. These are
    land use policies which you mention, and road design.

    Land use policies of the post WWII years are beginning to be questioned. The concept of tract
    housing, tract malls, and the entire design of suburban communities is undergoing some real change.
    Newer ideas of mixing business and domicile areas, thus reducing or at least spreading out motor
    traffic has potential. Development of communities where all citizen's household food/supplies,
    social, and entertainment needs are within reasonable walking or bicycling distances is quite
    attractive, and well recieved by people living in them, albeit usually at higher price.

    Design of roadways allowing alternate means of transport better access is also very important.
    Whether it be a clearly marked bike lane, just a wide road shoulder, or even a separate path, such
    routes are more inviting to pedestrian or bicyclist (skateboarder, scoot, et. al.). You may argue
    about the desireability of separate paths or lanes, but the roadway must become more "inviting" to
    people choosing not to use a car.

    In realist terms though, nothing is going to change until driving becomes more demanding in time
    and/or money. Either taking your car out means hours of waiting in traffic and enduring the idiocy
    of others stuck with you, or a day trip in the car clearly will take $100.00 out of your pocket due
    to high fuel and insurance costs.

    SMH
     
  18. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Matt J" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Thanks for the encouragement. It's not the noncomformity I'm worried about -- that just makes
    > things harder. We've sort of tried to integrate the bike club with a group of "old farts" that two
    > of the teacher-sponsors ride with on weekends. The problem, however, is that we're not sure how to
    > introduce someone without intimidating them. 20 mph seems fast to new people... We'll keep working
    > on it as the weather getswarmer though.

    20mph is too fast for new people! (Or even a lot of old people!) The key is to have a couple of
    riders who are patient enough to wait for everyone, and bring up the rear. This is how large group
    rides are (or should be) organized. It's always someone's job to make sure everyone is looked after.

    When I started mountain biking, I rode a bit with a group that met once a week. One of the riders,
    who was particularly strong, would ride ahead with the fast group, then head down the mountain again
    and bring up the rear, offering encouragement to the newbies and slowbies, making sure they felt
    included and welcomed.

    Seems to me you're doing a great job already. Keep plugging away -- your enthusiasm *will*
    attract others.

    Matt O.
     
  19. Isaac Brumer

    Isaac Brumer Guest

    [email protected] (Dennis P. Harris) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Thu, 23 Jan 2003 12:21:52 -0500 in rec.bicycles.misc, Stephen Harding
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > Increasingly, destinations are not near by, nor easily ridable, and the rise of "organized
    > > activities" in place of ad hoc play for children, has resulted in bicycling being dropped in
    > > favor of soccer or peewee football, etc.
    > >
    > the way to counter this is to start bike clubs in middle schools and carry them over into
    > high school. some of my club's members did that, with after school training rides and weekend
    > trail rides.
    >
    > quite a few of them started competing in our club's mountain bike races, and were beating adults
    > in races by the time they entered high school. some of them are still riding their bikes a lot
    > even though they drive, but our school board sends the wrong message: they provide no secure place
    > to park bikes.
    >
    > our new high school will have hundreds of car parking places, but they aren't planning bike
    > lockers, though i have testified at a number of meetings, urging them to do so. kids riding full
    > suspension MTBs are *not* going to ride them to school if they can be vandalized.

    Question:

    Besides the already mentioned causes for the decline of cycling among young people.
    - The relative cheapness of cars
    - The way our suburbs are built
    - The "regionalization" of schools
    - Competition from other activities (e.g., video, internet, organized sports)

    Compared with other industries (e.g., auto, video...) HOW MUCH MONEY AND EFFORT HAS THE BIKE
    INDUSTRY (those who profit from manufacture and sale of bikes) SPENT IN THE PAST 12 YEARS TO PROMOTE
    ITSELF, PARTICULARLY TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND NEW CYCLISTS? (i know that upper case means shouting, i'm
    screaming. PS. Ads for dual-suspension-carbon-fiber bikes don't count. They're for already committed
    cyclists. Selling one-size-fits-some machines through mass markets without any pre or post sale
    support doesn't either. Pushing for TEA funds doesn't count. A child rides a bike, not a TEA fund.)

    Case in point: Schools offer driver ed? Yes. Guess why. Schools offer cycling ed? No. Guess why.

    Isaac
     
  20. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Isaac Brumer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Compared with other industries (e.g., auto, video...) HOW MUCH MONEY AND EFFORT HAS THE BIKE
    > INDUSTRY (those who profit from manufacture and sale of bikes) SPENT IN THE PAST 12 YEARS TO
    > PROMOTE ITSELF, PARTICULARLY TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND NEW CYCLISTS? (i know that upper case means
    > shouting, i'm screaming. PS. Ads for dual-suspension-carbon-fiber bikes don't count. They're for
    > already committed cyclists. Selling one-size-fits-some machines through mass markets without any
    > pre or post sale support doesn't either. Pushing for TEA funds doesn't count. A child rides a
    > bike, not a TEA fund.)

    Bike companies *do* spend a lot of money in this area, but probably not like you're thinking. Mostly
    they're involved in racing and other major cycling events, but that's like preaching to the choir,
    not evangelism. I do think they would benefit from real evangelism and lobbying.

    The biggest obstacle I see is 20 years of gonnagitcha television having convinced parents their kids
    are always in danger. Convincing parents their kids should ride bikes to school is a tough sell.

    > Case in point: Schools offer driver ed? Yes. Guess why.

    Not too many even do that anymore, at least not like they used to.

    > Schools offer cycling ed? No. Guess why.

    They used to -- we had several days of bike safety instruction every year when I was a kid.
    Lectures, skills "rodeos," etc. Of course, kids rode bikes a lot then too, so it was a major
    community concern.

    I do believe that training kids in cycling and traffic skills from a young age makes them better
    drivers later on. I'd like to get some statistics on this, but I'm not sure of the best way to
    collect it, or even if it could be done.

    Matt O.
     
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