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Toy bikes?

Miscellaneous 9 55

I like to receive comments and email from readers, so I it is not my intention to pick on anyone, but something in a recent email struck me as funny. I got a message from a reader who said he likes the blog, but not all the “impractical toy bicycles” that I have been posting lately. He suggests that I should stick to proven designs (read racing bikes) and cited a few examples. Huh? How can you refer to transportation-oriented bikes like the Coasting concept as toys? I hate to break it to you dude, but your $4,000 Orbea is really just a toy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that; I have a few high-end bikes that are primarily toys too. I really enjoy my expensive toys, but bicycles can be much more than just that. I think bikes are a great transportation solution, so I just thought the choice of words was ironic. Like I said, I am not picking on just one person. Since I started this blog, I have received several emails from readers who take issue with the variety of bikes that I post. In response to a filigreed plastic basket that I posted a while back, Robodobo jokingly left this comment:

“You are probably the only guy alive that is equally excited about a pink bike basket as a Cervelo P3 Carbon.”

Funny comment, and maybe it is true, but I don’t really think so. This blog is about bicycle innovation, so I try to cover all kinds of bikes and bike products. I have said before that I love road racing and fast bikes, but I don’t consider my blog to be the absolute best source for the latest race oriented road (or mountain) bike products. Khabar bike and the tech section of Cyclingnews are both excellent sources for that kind of information. I think most readers enjoy the Bicycle Design blog as it is, so I plan to continue posting whatever bike products catch my attention. Some posts will be about the latest, fastest, and lightest racing components and others will be about new products that are geared toward commuters or beginning cyclists. The more bikes out there the better, right? I think so and I am pretty sure that most of you agree. Now I have to run. I have an aerodynamic floral basket that I need to get mounted to the front of my time trial bike.

One more thing; if you live in Dallas, TX, don’t miss this event at the Design Within Reach Studio on McKinney. The folks from Uptown Cycles will be there Thursday evening to discuss bicycles designed for transportation. Sounds like fun. If any of you attend the discussion, drop me a line to let me know how it went.


  1. rigtenzin March 27, 2007 at 11:56 am -  Reply

    I enjoy the variety in your blog. You’re doing great. Otherwise, I wouldn’t read it so often.

  2. Fritz March 27, 2007 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

    James, I love the variety of stuff you post about here. I like my carbon fiber road bike, but I also like to tool around on clunkers and other ‘toy’ bikes.

  3. Anonymous March 27, 2007 at 7:54 pm -  Reply

    The Bicycles that can change the world are not made of carbon, do not have areo spokes, do not have 10 speed drivetrains. More likely, they are closer to the Atlas bike I road recently in India: Heavy, slow, indestructable. To a racer, might seem like a toy. To someone who cares about basic transportation, might seem more like the answer.

  4. Rocket March 28, 2007 at 2:22 am -  Reply

    I like the blog for the variety of bike you show… I love race fast my Trek Fuel but also go-slowly with a hybrid street(self-made) Cannondale. I read gladly your posts about carbon made bike and also funny or basic bike. I discovered nice Trek Lime project from this blog. Thanks for your great job!

  5. Anonymous April 25, 2007 at 1:29 pm -  Reply

    “The more bikes out there the better, right? “

    Uh, no. The more people riding bikes, the better. There is this idea in the bike industry that ‘everything is cool and acceptable’ as long as it is bike. Not so. Having 5 ti bikes hanging in your garage is not cool. Carbon… which is toxic as hell and can’t be recycled, is not cool. Young males jumping long travel toy bikes off of roof tops, and breaking way more than their fair share of expensive materials.. in terms of mining, refinement, production and shipping…. is not cool. The bike world, at least in developed countries, need to wake up.

  6. James April 26, 2007 at 12:11 pm -  Reply

    Semantics Anon. By more bikes, I meant more people actually riding those bikes. Maybe I should have been clearer, but he point of the post was that I like the fact that the industry is pursuing new markets.

    For the record, I own 7 bikes. Though I ride a bike to work, most of the bikes I have are for recreational purposes. I may not need them all, but I love bikes so I have them. I occasionally buy used bikes and sell some of mine. Other people can enjoy and use them after I do. You are correct that the industry has an impact on the environment and I suspect that impact will get more attention in the near future. Just look at the way John Burke’s recent speech has spread on the web. Still, I don’t think you can just imply that recreational cycling is wrong? I am a big proponent of transportational cycling, but I like road riding and mountain biking too. To me, they all go together.

  7. Anonymous April 27, 2007 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    No recreational cycling is great. It’s about consumption regardless of activity. Cyling and the recreation (retail) industry in general has been selling a false bill of goods for a while now *on the whole*. Resources are resouces, waste is waste, excess is excess.

  8. wert September 14, 2007 at 6:47 am -  Reply

    My friend at web design company read gladly your posts about carbon made bike and also funny or basic bike.

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