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Which Direction Are Bicycles Trending?

by Josh Lipton

When I launched in 2006, I had great timing. While the economy was about to head off a cliff, I somehow got myself into a nice little area of opportunity that was very likely buoyed by the residual impacts of our collective economic shit-storm.

It was very exciting how excited everyone was about using bicycles for more than just fun. It felt as if we were on to something fresh and new, discovering that people in North America were interested in bicycles as something other than toys and racing machines.

But alas, that excitement has begun to fade some it would seem. And if I’m wrong about this, somebody please tell me.

So what now? Oh yeah, bikepacking is what now. Seriously, bikepacking is it right now if you haven’t heard.

So how long will this trend last? Is bikepacking not the be-all and end-all of life on bicycles?

I am sure that whatever comes along next will in its moment be just as if not more exciting than using our bikes and then bikepacking with them has been. But at the same time I would appreciate some stability and focus. Some Dutch infrastructure and mind-set would certainly help with that.


BOB Trailer x 2

7 Responses to “Which Direction Are Bicycles Trending?”

  1. Bob Sponge says:

    I’d love to tell you there will be some focus when it comes to cycling here in the states but if the past is any indicator of the future – not happening. Infrastructure is making some progress in some areas, but one thing going against getting some stability vs. trends is the bicycle industry itself. Look at the big manufacturers, constantly trying to invent new categories. We have so many niches within niches and it appears to only be getting worse in that regard. Combine that industry pressure to constantly reinvent the wheel (applies literally in this case) with a collective attention span of about 12 seconds and you have a market that is driven on fast moving trends. And, yes, there is a difference between forward progress and what we’re seeing in the bike industry right now. Forward progress makes strides to improve and innovate, while the bike industry does some of that, the bulk of “innovation” appears to be creating more proprietary products that splinter an already splintered market. We’re all still riding our fixies, right? But only in the city. Once we make it past the city limits, we have to get on our road bike – but which one? Race, endurance, time trial? And after that, we might hit some rougher road, in which case we’ll need a gravel grinder. Not to be confused with a cyclocross bike, which we may need as well. Then we’ll start hitting the really tough stuff and need to pull out the mountain bike, in which case we need to decide on about 3,000 variations there…aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

  2. D'nardo Colucci says:

    Why anyone kept designing bicycles after the Raleigh 3-speed is beyond me. From that point on all efforts should have been spent commuting infrastructure.

    But to answer the actual question, I see no decline in the number of cyclists in Milwaukee. In fact every year the number increases. What I do see is a decrease in the number of fixed gears.

    PS. I had no idea how many carbon fiber roads bikes have been sold to aging hippies until I recently did a century ride. Wow!

  3. Locus says:

    If you’re lucky enough to live in a urban area with sufficient density and progressive transit policy, things are pretty good.

    Over the last five years or so in DC, we’ve developed an insanely successful bike share system which have added thousands of new riders to the mix. Our local transit authorities (rightly) see cycling as a great way to move people around the city. Bike shops are expanding their footprint and have diversified to meet niche markets (roadies/mtn bikers/commuters).

    While the growth in DC can be seen in a few other urban communities, I don’t see it happening broadly across the US.

  4. Papa Tom says:

    I felt a lot of energy around cycling when gas was pushing five bucks a gallon here in NY. Now that it’s dipping toward $2 or less, the noise has subsided considerably.

  5. Silvia Taiè says:

    Hi! Do you know any urban bikers community in Europe?? Thank you!! 🙂

  6. Tadasimha says:

    Have personally seen a slow but steady growth in the quad cities area of the Midwest and this is despite infrastructure or advocacy.

  7. Ron Bell says:

    Personally, as a cyclist for all my life now it has always been a little frustrating having to “explain” cycling to the general public. Basically, people are lazy, look around! The fact that I enjoy a variety of cycling, road, mountain, touring, tandeming, and commuting, well that should state how much fun I am having! Also, bike shops and road snobs do a lot to discourage the beginner. My experience has been that a lot of shops only stock mid to higher end products, leaving the beginner to “search for bargains” at other retailers. They miss out on a sale, and the customer often times misses out on a decent bike! A good beginner bike can be had for $500 in almost any category. I am amazed at how well the lower end components work and hold up if properly maintained. That customer will probably come back for an upgrade bike, if like me they fall in love with the experience. Biking is not just a sport, it is an alternate and healthy means of transportation. Ride on and be happy, maybe more will follow!

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