You don’t have to dope to ride this bike

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Bike content in design magazines is becoming a recurring theme here on Bicycle Design. The July/ August issue of Metropolis Magazine has an article about how bicycle manufacturers are being influenced by the design of traditional Dutch city bikes as tranportational cycling continues to become more popular in North America. Check out the article here. Incidentally, even in already bike friendly Holland, bicycle sales are on the rise. Very interesting.

Recently, I mentioned a House and Garden article about bikes. Apparently, I missed an earlier article in that magazine about Joe Breeze. I like this quote from Breeze about the future of bike transportation:

“The everyday bicycle lifestyle movement doesn’t even have a name yet, but someday we’re going to look back and be amazed at how few people were routinely using a bike to pick up groceries or visit friends.”

Great quote! It reminds me of this one from Jim Caple at ESPN that I saw not too long ago on Cyclelicious.

“Bicycles are the new SUV. I’m way ahead of the curve on this one, but bicycles are poised for a quantum leap in popularity. Continuing concerns about global warming, rising obesity, diabetes and traffic snarls will prompt more people to ride bicycles in the coming years.”

Yep, the market for transportation-oriented bikes, in the U.S. at least, is still in its infancy, but I expect that to be the next big growth market for the bicycle industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love racing bicycles and I am always going to be a fan of the sport of cycling, but I would love to see a shift away from the general perception that bicycles are just recreational products. Maybe a greater focus throughout the industry on utilitarian designs will be the silver lining to the current mess that the sport of cycling is in the midst of.

By the way, don’t take the title of this post too seriously; it was just an attempt to get your attention. I am not down on racing…really. I am glad that those involved with cycling are making an effort to clean up the sport. That is a lot more that can be said for the governing bodies of other professional sports that are popular here in the U.S.

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6 Comments

  1. Dave July 26, 2007 at 1:35 pm -  Reply

    There are two ways I think of looking at the current problems in the TdF. One way is that the race is fundamentally flawed and basically everyone’s idea of cycle racing is that it is nothing more than a sport where everyone dopes and it’s like Russian roulette as to when the cheats eventually get caught. My point of view is that the stance the cycling authorities are taking in regards to the more complex checks to weed out the cheats is only a good thing. If Rasmussen and Vinokourov do get their deserved two year bans then basically it’s the end of their careers, and the length of the ban alone should act as a good deterrent to any more cheats in the sport.

  2. Mo July 27, 2007 at 4:09 pm -  Reply

    I didn’t take your title amiss, however it probably would be a good idea to start racing commuter/utilitarian bicycles. Racing gets people’s attention. Bicycle advocates in my town have run a few scavenger hunts pitting bikes against cars at midday–they’re always a rout for the autos. I’m thinking of events similar to the old porteur races, set up rules that exclude racing bikes, and require the competitors to dress in ‘business casual’ and they have to transport a briefcase and lunch.

  3. Fritz July 27, 2007 at 5:40 pm -  Reply

    Speaking of racing utilitarian bikes — that would be like NASCAR on bikes, right? It wouldn’t be long before people would stretch the rules as far as possible to get their commuter bikes and business casual clothing as race-ready as possible.

    And there’s those goofy British tricycle races — do those count?

  4. NZ Dave July 30, 2007 at 5:18 am -  Reply

    Just an opposing view to previous posts. If the racers insist on “doing the drug thing” why not have a tour de ‘free for all’ where you may do what you please, you could even compete under the sponsership of your chosen drug company. Might even remove the users from the legitmate racing and end up like ameteur VS pro situations. just a thought.

  5. SueJ August 2, 2007 at 4:28 pm -  Reply

    I just wish the take-offs on the Dutch bikes would actually *have* the features (tho’ they’re getting closer). I love my enclosed chain (as in all the way, not “sort of most of it”), the inside hub and the drum brakes on my Gazelle.

  6. SueJ August 2, 2007 at 4:29 pm -  Reply

    (and yea, as soon as it gets “pro,” no matter how you structure it, the ‘gotta win’ attitude is going to mean stretching the rules.)

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