Bike Boom Redux

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Since joining this forum a few weeks B.C.(Before Covid) I've seen conversations by many members about the current and future state of this bike boom.

Timpo, Byunbee, PDoz, Mr. Coffee, Mike's eBikes, FlatSix911, Ahicks, Jaxx, Ebiker01, Stefan Mikes and others I've missed are thinking hard about it. Me too ... when I can't sleep, anyway. So for you guys a link to a long but revelant Forbes piece.


TL/DR: History may not repeat, but it sure as h..l rhymes.
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the article - an interesting read.

One thing really sticks out to me as a difference between the '70's bike boom and the current situation:

"BUT THE boom did not continue. Why? The reasons are complex but include the fact that the bikes sold at the height of the U.S. boom were poor quality imports, deflating the desire to ride. "

In other words, they were not enjoyable to ride, and if one is not getting enjoyment along with their exercise, they will head in other directions (or back to their old habits).

With all the recent publicity about (acoustic) bikes flying off the Target and Walmart shelves, I pulled my old, dirty GT Avalanche 1.0 out of the shed. It felt so light and lively compared to my e-bikes. I cleaned it up, lubed the chain, derailleurs and shifters, aired up the tires and took it for a test ride. The bike was functioning perfectly, and after 3/4 mile I was through with it. I headed home and put it back into the shed.

What went wrong? Well, it is a mountain bike (albeit with slick tires), and I have always appreciated the true efficiency of road bikes on the street over mountain bikes. Also I was probably trying to ride it too hard, more like an e-bike where I normally casually cruise at 15-18 mph. So riding it just wasn't at all fun to me any more.

Even though my wife and I ride our e-bikes in the lower assist levels (going higher than half assist always seems too much like cheating to us), riding our e-bikes is always fun. We ride daily for exercise, enjoyment, errands and sanity. We never dread a ride, but always look forward to it. If we are tired before the ride, we always feel better afterwards.

At even our fairly young age (she: 58, me: 62) we would no longer enjoy acoustic bike rides and that would overall eliminate or "deflate the desire to ride." E-bikes bring back that desire in spades.

So maybe with the e-bike as the new secret weapon the current bike boom has the potential of continuing?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
There are the benefits of the e-bike that make it special: no fear of upwind or hills. Honestly, I have given my traditional bike to a friend because I could not ride it anymore. I got used to the speed and distance the e-bike gives me.

I recollect I was riding at maximum speed of 21 km/h when I was already 52, and my average speed was 14-18 km/h depending on the weather. Now the slowest of my e-bikes takes me at 25 km/h. My brother has recently made this remark: "Riding with you offroad at 23 km/h seems a little too fast to me..."

Yes, the history may turn. I don't care. I'm riding on 😊
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Thanks for the article - an interesting read.

One thing really sticks out to me as a difference between the '70's bike boom and the current situation:

"BUT THE boom did not continue. Why? The reasons are complex but include the fact that the bikes sold at the height of the U.S. boom were poor quality imports, deflating the desire to ride. "

In other words, they were not enjoyable to ride, and if one is not getting enjoyment along with their exercise, they will head in other directions (or back to their old habits).

... bike was functioning perfectly, and after 3/4 mile I was through with it. I headed home and put it back into the shed ....riding it just wasn't at all fun to me any more.

So maybe with the e-bike as the new secret weapon the current bike boom has the potential of continuing?
TMH I seriously hope you are right. True enough for us, but there are real issues with some of the ACAP (as cheap as possible) ebikes on Amazon, Ebay and such places. Also real political resistance to anything that threatens cars, drive up fast fooders, and long commutes to the burbs at least in the USA.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
There are the benefits of the e-bike that make it special: no fear of upwind and hills. Honestly, I have given my traditional bike to a friend because I could not ride it anymore. I got used to the speed and distance the e-bike gives me.

I recollect I was riding at maximum speed of 21 km/h when I was already 52, and my average speed was 14-18 km/h depending on the weather. Now the slowest of my e-bikes takes me at 25 km/h. My brother has recently made this remark: "Riding with you offroad at 23 km/h seems a little too fast to me..."

Yes, the history may turn. I don't care. I'm riding on 😊
Srefan, you are a rolling advert for ebikes. Keep up the good work, please. Maybe history will just rhyme this time.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Yep, riding for my entire life - 4 ebikes in the past year - all the pedal-only bikes are sold. 😇
I would never have considered a mech bike at my age. I'm another boomer.And there are millions of us worldwide.Lifelong riders who accept/embrace ebikes like you are quite rare and we need to encourage that. Thanks for your reply.
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
...but there are real issues with some of the ACAP (as cheap as possible) ebikes on Amazon, Ebay and such places. Also real political resistance to anything that threatens cars, drive up fast fooders, and long commutes to the burbs at least in the USA.
Agreed. But... even if someone gets a cheap e-bike and ultimately has issues with it, they will have gotten at least a taste of what an e-bike can provide, as compared to the old acoustic bike which they gave up riding years ago. And hopefully they will make the decision to get and use something of higher quality as opposed to giving up on e-bikes completely.

Also, since the '70's most intelligent people have have accepted the fact that 'militancy' actually alienates more folks (especially those who have the power to actually change things) than it brings in to their causes. Hopefully the current attempts to bolster bike commuting infrastructure will be done in a more sophisticated manner, having learned from the failed militancy of the past.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Hah! Another remark told by the older of the brethren Mikulski to me:
-- My little brother was not very much happy to ride with you off-road. You've been a vanishing point to him, he said. What pedal-assist level did you use on your Trance E?
-- Well, PAS 2. I wanted to be respectful to your little brother by not riding too fast...
:D

Now, he's borrowed my touring e-bike from me. I can bet he'll start saving for his own e-bike soon...
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I have a hunch that "militancy", nice word BTW, is part of the old BAU paradigm that failed "bigely" ... except on twitter and facebook.

But well thought out positions and polite suggestions may work. Catch flies with honey not vinegar, as they say.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Agreed. But... even if someone gets a cheap e-bike and ultimately has issues with it, they will have gotten at least a taste of what an e-bike can provide, as compared to the old acoustic bike which they gave up riding years ago. And hopefully they will make the decision to get and use something of higher quality as opposed to giving up on e-bikes completely.

Also, since the '70's most intelligent people have have accepted the fact that 'militancy' actually alienates more folks (especially those who have the power to actually change things) than it brings in to their causes. Hopefully the current attempts to bolster bike commuting infrastructure will be done in a more sophisticated manner, having learned from the failed militancy of the past.
My response is below. Tablet burped again.
 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
I have an e-bike and have kept three traditional bikes. I'm in my 60's and can't ride as far or as fast on a traditional bike as I once did, but I still enjoy them for rides under 20 miles with up to moderate climbs (we happen to live in a fairly flat area). Still, it's nice to remind myself that I don't absolutely need the motor. At the same time, riding the traditional bike adds to my enjoyment of my e-bike by giving me a kind of benchmark. I have noticed that I'm tending to ride my e-bike with the motor turned off a bit more (4-5 miles or so) as a kind of compromise between the two. My Trek Cross Rip Plus is maybe a generation behind. It's not as light as a Creo and I wouldn't say that pedalling without the motor is frictionless, but it's reasonably enjoyable.

In some ways, the e-bike is a cousin of the hybrid car. The electric motor is the non-traditional side of both propositions, but in one case it's the lower speed alternative and in the other it's the high power alternative. I suspect there's a market for both those who see an e-bike as something just short of a motor scooter/moped and those who see it as a kind of booster mode for people who still love riding bikes as bikes. It's showing up in the looks: one is trying to look even more like a traditional bike while the other is embracing 1000 watt motors and giant batteries. I wouldn't be surprised to see a split in the nomenclature fairly soon for the two approaches to e-bike design, maybe e-bike vs. E-bike.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I have an e-bike and have kept three traditional bikes. I'm in my 60's and can't ride as far or as fast on a traditional bike as I once did, but I still enjoy them for rides under 20 miles with up to moderate climbs (we happen to live in a fairly flat area). Still, it's nice to remind myself that I don't absolutely need the motor. At the same time, riding the traditional bike adds to my enjoyment of my e-bike by giving me a kind of benchmark. I have noticed that I'm tending to ride my e-bike with the motor turned off a bit more (4-5 miles or so) as a kind of compromise between the two. My Trek Cross Rip Plus is maybe a generation behind. It's not as light as a Creo and I wouldn't say that pedalling without the motor is frictionless, but it's reasonably enjoyable.

In some ways, the e-bike is a cousin of the hybrid car. The electric motor is the non-traditional side of both propositions, but in one case it's the lower speed alternative and in the other it's the high power alternative. I suspect there's a market for both those who see an e-bike as something just short of a motor scooter/moped and those who see it as a kind of booster mode for people who still love riding bikes as bikes. It's showing up in the looks: one is trying to look even more like a traditional bike while the other is embracing 1000 watt motors and giant batteries. I wouldn't be surprised to see a split in the nomenclature fairly soon for the two approaches to e-bike design, maybe e-bike vs. E-bike.
We are already seeing the split you mentioned on this forum... think 20 inch wheel, hub motor, throttle vs full sized peddal asist only middrives. AFAIK they they are all ebikes, esp. when compared to cars.
And I agree totally with turning the boost off much of the time . But when facing hills, headwinds, and hauling groceries the assist matters. A lot.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
The current boom was caused by the epidemic: transit users have turned to cycling, those on forceful vacation also turned to cycling, having nothing to do and nowhere to go - gyms are closed. Kids tag along, they are also on "vacation", schools and daycares are closed.

This will end when the epidemic ends.
Most of those who were taking transit, will go back to transit because it's faster and more comfortable. Most of those who used to drive to work, will resume driving as soon as they resume working. Some will stick to newly discovered cycling but I doubt there will be many.

I don't see new bike lanes being build in my town in Canada or restrictions imposed on cars like in some countries of Europe. Without pressure people won't change their ways, this is easy to see when you look at coronavirus rates in Australia, New Zealand, Korea and China on the one hand, and the US on the other hand.

It is of course possible that the epidemic will never end - vaccine may never come, increased antibodies doesn't mean it protects from infection, and the "pressure" may not come until death rate everywhere will rise to NYC levels. And then, there is the 3rd world where there is not enough government resources to exert any control.
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
The current boom was caused by the epidemic: transit users have turned to cycling, those on forceful vacation also turned to cycling, having nothing to do and nowhere to go - gyms are closed. Kids tag along, they are also on "vacation", schools and daycares are closed.

This will end when the epidemic ends.
Most of those who were taking transit, will go back to transit because it's faster and more comfortable. Most of those who used to drive to work, will resume driving as soon as they resume working. Some will stick to newly discovered cycling but I doubt there will be many.

I don't see new bike lanes being build in my town in Canada or restrictions imposed on cars like in some countries of Europe. Without pressure people won't change their ways, this is easy to see when you look at coronavirus rates in Australia, New Zealand, Korea and China on the one hand, and the US on the other hand.
Very much the author's view, I'm afraid. But far from a done deal IMO, as many people in cities noticed the clear skys and cleaner air fot the first time in their lives. The economic pressure is enormous, as is the environmental and "quality of life" issues. The virus will probably spike again, more folks will be jobless, and stocks will shoot up even as main street suffers. Once the blame game subsides a bit, and folks decide that lifestyle changes can help protect them, public opion and pressure can change faster than politicians can change their tweets.
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
The biggest potential 'benefit' out of the current pandemic is that more people are trying e-bikes for the first time. Before the pandemic, many of these folks wouldn't even have bothered looking at them, much less test riding.

The hook will be set in some. The e-bike will immediately cause some to forget why they gave up (acoustic) biking. They will find renewed joy in 'biking'. They will continue to use their e-bikes for recreation and maybe even some commuting and errand running.

There won't be an immediate widespread dumping of cars or total failure of mass transit systems. An aging population and folks who live in less favorable climates will continue to have a need for both. Others will just prefer them to biking, and others will not have the infrastructure available to them to make an e-bike commute safe or effective.

But at least there should be some level of a "steepening of the curve" (notice what I did there? 😆) towards alternative commuting, including the use of e-bikes.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Further thoughts ... Have ebikes really changed the equation or another fad of boomers?

 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Since joining this forum a few weeks B.C.(Before Covid) I've seen conversations by many members about the current and future state of this bike boom.
Timpo, Byunbee, PDoz, Mr. Coffee, Mike's eBikes, FlatSix911, Ahicks, Jaxx, Ebiker01, Stefan Mikes and others I've missed are thinking hard about it. Me too ... when I can't sleep, anyway. So for you guys a link to a long but revelant Forbes piece.
TL/DR: History may not repeat, but it sure as h..l rhymes.

Great article on the '70s bike boom... I remember it well in 1970 when we all rode our 10-speed bikes on Earth Day to celebrate Ecology! 😉

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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
10 speeds, wow. Had a Schwinn something or other in college. Rode it to work for years in what became Silicon Valley. My youngest sons cut it up (with permission) for a physics project; a human powered generator as I recall.