An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The sucky bikes we love to hate: Boomer beware!

Just as we were commenting on the "mainstreaming" of bikes, it turns out that cycling may actually be in decline in the US. At least according to this well-reported article on the broad sweep of the bike scene nationally. Apparently, bike sellers are coveting babyboomers.

As many baby boomers look to improve their health and stay active in retirement, bicycle-store owners hope to attract more of them with models suited for the recreational rider.

Store employees said that's a challenge because so many bike stores are geared to road racers and mountain bikers, rather than casual riders.

That's news to me. Just about every bike store I've ever been in carries 10 cheap cruisers and old ladies' bikes to every carbon racer. Course, if you're looking for a $100 bike, then you should go to Wal-Mart.

Anyway, according to the article, bike ridership peaked in 1995 at around 50 million riders, and bike sales have been steady or slightly declined since then.

I guess I would surmise that the world does not need more Magnas, Verticals, or Nexts-- the extraordinarily sucky $300 bikes you find at department stores. Nor does it need Shimano Coasting (the equivalent of an automatic transmission for a bike) or couch-sized gel-seats.

Bike riding is inherently fun, but sucky bikes actually make cycling suck. So do yourself a favor, Boomer: You sold out in order to be able to afford the fine things in life. Don't scrimp on a bike, because if you do, it'll gather dust in your garage. Spend $1000, and you'll lose 20 pounds and feel like a hippie all over again.