What made the last big bike boom? The next?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Jeff Potter, Sep 18, 2003.

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  1. Jeff Potter

    Jeff Potter Guest

    I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:

    *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across the
    country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living downtowns,
    nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites

    What will inspire the next boom?

    *I don't know!

    --

    Jeff Potter
    ****
    *Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself
    culture... ...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies... ...rare books on ski,
    bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller about smalltown smuggling ... more radical novels
    coming up! ...original downloadable music ... and articles galore! plus national "Off the Beaten
    Path" travel forums! HOLY SMOKES!
     
    Tags:


  2. On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:44:20 +0000, Jeff Potter wrote:

    > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time

    Actually much of that boom -- depending on how you define it -- was populated by people riding
    Schwinn Continentals.

    > *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across the country'

    I was there during the bicentennial, and do not recall such an urge being suggested.

    > *high gas prices

    That was the big difference. This happened in 1973-74, and probably had a huge impact.

    > *low-traffic backroads

    Not really. Most riding, then or now, is on city streets.

    > *plentiful public culture: living downtowns, nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite
    > finding, cheap tentsites

    What country are you talking about? Downtowns NOW are much more vibrant than they were in the '70s
    in the US. Look at Boston. In the '70s it was a pit. Same for Philadelphia (still....) and
    Baltimore. Many cities have made huge progress in terms of livability and ridability. Property
    owners were just as litigious then as now; the acronym NIMBY came from the '70s. There were no
    multi-use paths then. I also question your idealized version of campsites and campgrounds from that
    time, but that really isn't anything beyond the noise in terms of general riding popularlty.

    > What will inspire the next boom?

    $4/gallon gas would go a long way. That would quickly empty the streets of all the big ego-boosting
    trucks, making it easier to ride -- and would give people an incentive. But if our general health,
    pollution, and the sheer hassle of trying to park downtown is not enough to get people to ride more
    and drive less, I have no real idea what _would_ be enough.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | The lottery is a tax on those who fail to understand _`\(,_ | mathematics. (_)/ (_) |
     
  3. Michael Dart

    Michael Dart Guest

    "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]Mcom...
    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:
    >
    > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    > the country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living downtowns,
    > nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites
    >
    > What will inspire the next boom?
    >

    When gas goes to 4 dollars a gallon.

    Mike
     
  4. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's.

    Ten-speeds in the mid-70's? I'd say the last spike in interest was when MTBs came into vogue.
     
  5. Tanya Quinn

    Tanya Quinn Guest

    Ken Kifer's website has an excellent article on cycling in the 70's:
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/lifestyle/70s.htm

    Its sad we won't get to read more of his thoughts.

    Jeff Potter <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:
    >
    > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    > the country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living downtowns,
    > nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites
    >
    > What will inspire the next boom?
    >
    > *I don't know!
    >
    > --
    >
    > Jeff Potter
    > ****
    > *Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself
    > culture... ...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies... ...rare books on ski,
    > bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller about smalltown smuggling ... more radical novels
    > coming up! ...original downloadable music ... and articles galore! plus national "Off the Beaten
    > Path" travel forums! HOLY SMOKES!
     
  6. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:
    >
    > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    > the country' *high gas prices
    >

    That will do it, if anything will. If we ever see European style gas prices, people will seek
    alternatives. Now, most people won't ride 20 miles one way, but plenty of people in small towns and
    cities can surely ride to work. Wishful thinking, I know...
     
  7. > When gas goes to 4 dollars a gallon.

    I doubt it. The pricing of gas is not nearly as important as its availability. It's possible that
    $4/gallon gas might bring on much greater demand for fuel-efficient cars (which would be a good
    thing!) but until people have to wait in long lines, they'll still drive.

    The love affair with the auto is all about convenience, not expense. When it becomes less convenient
    to drive than to ride (as happens when gas is rationed), then they'll look to alternatives.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com

    "Michael Dart" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:
    > >
    > > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    > > the country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living
    > > downtowns, nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites
    > >
    > > What will inspire the next boom?
    > >
    >
    > When gas goes to 4 dollars a gallon.
    >
    > Mike
     
  8. David L. Johnson <[email protected]gh.edu> wrote:
    >On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:44:20 +0000, Jeff Potter wrote:
    >>What will inspire the next boom?
    >$4/gallon gas would go a long way. That would quickly empty the streets of all the big ego-boosting
    >trucks, making it easier to ride -- and would give people an incentive.

    Petrol is about $4 a gallon here and we have an ever-increasing number of land barges. Admittedly,
    they're not as silly as American ones, but they're still a lot sillier than cars.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  9. Don Demair

    Don Demair Guest

  10. Rosco

    Rosco Guest

    "David Damerell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:J4m*[email protected]...
    > David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:44:20 +0000, Jeff Potter wrote:
    > >>What will inspire the next boom?
    > >$4/gallon gas would go a long way. That would quickly empty the streets of all the big
    > >ego-boosting trucks, making it easier to ride -- and would give people an incentive.
    >
    > Petrol is about $4 a gallon here and we have an ever-increasing number of land barges. Admittedly,
    > they're not as silly as American ones, but they're still a lot sillier than cars.
    > --
    > David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?

    Based on the commonality of BIG SUVs here in the suburbs you would think we had no paved roads.
    Without going down the anti-SUV rathole, I don't think $4/gallon gas would be the end of this
    SUV/truck silliness. Lexus is planning to release a hybrid SUV in a year that will probably get
    between 30 to 40 mpg. This show what can be done if a manufacturer applies some relatively simple
    technology. The auto industry won't let high gas prices get in the way of selling these very high
    profit margin vehicles.

    In my mind, a better bicycle riding infrastructure could lead to the next boom, or atleast keep the
    sport from dying. In our small town this summer an elderly bicycle enthusiast was mowed over and
    killed on our narrow roads where motor vehicles travel MUCH too fast. We have had a couple of fatal
    car/SUV crashes on these back roads, and a pedestrian was also killed by a car. Frankly, I'm afraid
    to ride a bicycle on many of our roads, and choose my routes carefully (after the events of this
    summer, I decided to always wear a high visibility night-time vest when riding on the roads
    regardless of time of day). In my opinion, more bike lanes and trails would have a huge impact on
    the popularity of the sport.
     
  11. Bb

    Bb Guest

    Nothing. It will never happen. A Lance Armstrong here or a Greg Lamonde there may pump up
    recreational sales, but no "bike boom" ever. As prosperity arrives, every country abandons bicycles
    as transportation. Motor vehicles appeal to our sloth and the greed of the sellers and makers of the
    beasts. Nothing can beat sloth and greed.

    Be happy you ride. Be happy you will continue to ride while motorists will be slurping oatmeal after
    a plaque encrusted artery popped in their brain.

    It doesn't matter who you think you are. If you own a bicycle which you actually ride, you are
    counter-culture.

    bb

    "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It > What will inspire
    the next boom?
    >
    > *I don't know!
    >
    > Jeff Potter
     
  12. Mike Demicco

    Mike Demicco Guest

  13. Art Harris

    Art Harris Guest

    Jeff Potter wrote:

    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:
    >
    > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    > the country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living downtowns,
    > nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites

    The 70s bike boom was fueled mainly by teenagers and twenty somethings buying inexpensive ten
    speeds. You could jump on your ten speed wearing sneakers and cut-off jeans and ride. People liked
    the sporty look and feel of those bikes, but most ended up sitting in garages.

    In the '80s, mountain bikes became more popular because they were more comfortable and easier to
    ride. And they made more sense for the majority of casual riders. By then, road bikes were getting
    more expensive, and only the real enthusiasts were buying them.

    I think the drop bar road bike will remain a specialty item for enthusiasts. I hope that the
    overwhelming emphasis on speed, racing, and stupid-light everything will moderate, and people will
    get back buying stable, durable "sport touring" bikes. But I don't yearn for the days of toe clips
    and friction shifting.

    Will there be another bike boom? Not likely. I suspect that most people under 35 grew up not using
    bikes for getting around. They were driven or bused to school and other activities. If they rode a
    bike at all, it was probably to go a few blocks to a friends house, or to hang out at the local
    convenience store. They can't conceive of riding a bike even 5-10 miles. And they're probably not
    comfortable with riding in traffic.

    If there is to be another bike boom among the general public, it will likely be driven by some sort
    of hybrid bike that's easy to ride, comfortable, inexpensive, and can be ridden in ordinary clothes.

    Art Harris
     
  14. Jeff Potter <[email protected]> writes:

    >I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:

    >*cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    >the country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living downtowns,
    >nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites

    >What will inspire the next boom?

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. In the late 1960's and early 1970's we had a bike boom because :

    * The average Baby boomer (born 1945-1960) was 10-30 years old.

    Therefore, the "echo boom" from the baby boomers, which will take roughly 37 years to occur (25 for
    baby boomers to reproduce, 12 for the average echo boomer to reach the midpoint of bicycling
    childhood) has already occured. It happened in :

    1952 + 37 = 1989.

    America has always been founded on the following idea : goose this pyramid-scheme of a country by
    allowing smart, hard-working immigrants into the country with nothing, nil, nada, in order to
    compete for all the existing capital and land owned by the existing fatcat citizens.

    Because of this principle, in the 1990's we more or less smoothed over the population bulge (and
    subsequent population vacuum) that came from the baby boom generation. In the 1990's we had more
    immigrants as a % of population than in any decade of the 20th century. These immigrants were
    allowed into the country specifically to screw the Gen-X'ers, who were moaning about being poor
    because all the boomers had houses and wouldn't sell. The huge mass of immigrants in their 20's and
    30's was very effective at drowning out those moans.

    Ergo, the next bike boom will appear 20 years after world-war III.

    - Don Gillies San Diego, CA
     
  15. Jeff Potter <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's. It happened because of:
    >
    > *cheap light 10speeds hit US shores for 1st time *US bicentennial, with its urge to 'ride across
    > the country' *high gas prices *low-traffic backroads *plentiful public culture: living downtowns,
    > nonlitigious property owners, generous campsite finding, cheap tentsites
    >
    > What will inspire the next boom?
    >
    > *I don't know!

    While the Schwinn Varsity may have contributed to a boom in the 1970's, it wasn't the last boom. The
    last boom was mountain bikes, used as street bikes, because they weren't as prone to breaking down
    as "racing bikes," and the riding position was more comfortable. Everyone just had to have a
    mountain bike. Then people who didn't go off-road decided to go to "hybrids," though this was more
    of a shift in sales, not new sales.

    A gasoline shortage will inspire more riding, simply a price increase will not. I probably save
    $1.75 in gas every day that I bike to work, but I don't notice my net worth going up. I do it
    because I enjoy it, not to save money. I think the next boom or boomlet will occur when the
    manufacturers take steps to make bicycles that are more practical as an occasional substitute for a
    vehicle, while also being usable for recreational rides.

    Hence, the next boomlet may be in what are called "Trekking" Bikes in Europe, which are like a fully
    equipped city bike or commute bike. Trek has introduced them to the U.S. for 2004, though almost no
    dealers are even willing to take a chance in trying to sell them yet, especially since Trek has
    priced them extremely high (I found one dealer in the Bay area who had one in stock, but it was
    already sold, and they weren't ordering more).

    Fuji is thinking of also selling their trekking bikes in the U.S., and hopefully Trek's move will
    spur them into action. If Giant would also do so, it would drive prices to more reasonable levels.
    Kettler sells them as well. These are good bikes for college students, suburbanites, and city
    dwellers, who want to reduce their car usage. Chainguards, lights, racks, kickstand, sometimes even
    locks, are all standard (no skirt guards yet). Thing is, these should sell for $150 more than an
    equivalent quality hybrid, not $400-500 more.

    Bicycle manufacturers should learn from car makers on how to create new markets. You don't introduce
    a new product category at high prices and then give up because you think there is no market for the
    product. You seed the market with products at attractive prices, create the market, then upscale.
     
  16. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >$4/gallon gas would go a long way.

    Gas was what, about .25/gallon back in 1958? I think I was paying .27 at the Hickam AFB BX
    station in 1962.

    My dad paid $4,800 for his fully-loaded Ford Galaxy - and the consensus at the time was that he got
    hosed pretty badly.

    In 1958 I peeked over a guidance counselor's shoulder and saw that in a survey, my parents had
    allowed that if their son made $6,000 per year (at some undetermined period after graduating... I
    forget...) they'd consider him a success.

    In 1963 in Hawaii I bought a top-of-the-line two-cycle power mower for $27.00 at Sears and was
    clearing $97 per week - union wages - working as a baggage masher at the Honolulu airport.

    Based on those anecdotes I'd guess there's been 600% inflation - absolute minimum - maybe 800%
    since 1958.

    So, bottom line, gas right now (I think I paid $1.72 last weekend) is dirt cheap. $.25 * 6 =
    $1.50. Certainly less than bottled water last time I priced it at the same Seven-Eleven that I
    bought my gas at.

    Maybe 4 bucks a gallon would do something....but I'd think it would have to be more like six
    or eight...
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  17. Bfd

    Bfd Guest

    "bb" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Nothing. It will never happen. A Lance Armstrong here or a Greg Lamonde there may pump up
    > recreational sales, but no "bike boom" ever. As prosperity arrives, every country abandons
    > bicycles as transportation.

    This is so true! When I was in mainland China in 1997, I saw thousands, no make that hundred of
    thousands of people riding bicycles as transportation. However, I also noticed that there were alot
    of cars too. When I asked our tour guide about this, he said that people are starting to earn enough
    from their ownership of restaurants and stores to be able to afford cars. (Yes, "communist" china is
    slowly transitioning into capitalism, they just don't want to rush things like Russia did). The
    problem is when these people get cars, they drive like they're riding their bikes, look out!

    However, I don't think its so much sloth and greed, but convienence that gets people off their bikes
    and into cars. People just want to get to places now. A car helps you do that, a bicycle doesn't. If
    you think China's pollution is bad now with all its coal burning stoves and fireplaces, just wait
    10-20 years when their billion people population has a "car in every garage".....
     
  18. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Mike DeMicco" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Jeff Potter <[email protected]> wrote in
    > news:[email protected]:
    >
    > > I think the last big bike boom was in the mid-70's.
    >
    > You're forgetting about the mountain bike boom.

    There seemed to be a roadie boomlet in the 80s, at least in southern CA. All of a sudden, there were
    fancy road bikes everywhere, and boutiquey little bike shops in wealthy neighborhoods. All gone in a
    few years, until MTBs came along.

    Matt O.
     
  19. Thu, 18 Sep 2003 02:09:29 GMT, bb:

    >As prosperity arrives, every country abandons bicycles as transportation.

    This seems to be not the case in the Netherlands: A rich country (at least compared to the UK) but
    lots of bicycle use (at least compared to the UK). Most people there own a car and also drive too
    much. But using a bicycle is an obvious alternative to car-use.

    In Germany there are also some medium-size towns with nearly the same modal split bike and car. It
    has to do with tradition, geography (no too steep hills) and town design (good tight mixture of
    living and working instead of business areas and suburbs separated). I have the pleasure to live in
    a town, where new quarters with "short ways" as the most important design rule are planned.

    Andreas
     
  20. bb <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Nothing. It will never happen. A Lance Armstrong here or a Greg Lamonde there may pump up
    >recreational sales, but no "bike boom" ever. As prosperity arrives, every country abandons bicycles
    >as transportation.

    Actually, many Continental countries have seen a significant increase in bicycle use over the
    last decade.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
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