Saturday, October 15, 2005

Death of the bicycle

Normally I don't use news items here, but this one was a little different. Cycle-licious, ProCycling, Velonews, and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) cover the daily stuff much better than I can. But this story has a kind of quirky appeal. I like the idea of encouraging people to use a bicycle for that milk-and-bread-and-eggs run to the grocery store!

I use Google News and their news alerts to find cycling-related stories. It's a great service. I set up news alerts that send an email whenever certain keywords appear in a story. This is useful for far more than just cycling, and I use it for work related information too.

So I was curious when the following one appeared. If I'm not mistaken, the bicycle industry is enjoying near-record sales this year, mainly due to fuel prices. So a declaration of the imminent demise of the bicycle really caught my eye! This is from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and may require a subscription or registration for repeat visits, but I got to the article without any problems.

Excerpts follow:

Link to full article

SUVs, traffic and laziness sealed bicycle's fate

By Robert Ward
Published on: 10/16/05

I don't customarily write obituaries, but when there's been a death close to home, it's appropriate that you and I pay our last respects.

I hate to be the harbinger of such news, but the bicycle is dead.

What a shame, valiant mechanical wonder, we hardly knew ye — which is so sad on account of the price of gas, our clogged roadways and our obscene waistlines.

Admittedly, we've had our "biking" moments, a decade here or there when a good number of us rode bicycles, but it was just our sporadic foray into the use of the metallic stallion. Those ingenious transportation days are gone, much like the bicycle itself.

We've become incredibly lazy, immensely fat, and our time is excruciatingly limited because we're rushing around trying to finance our bloated lifestyles.

...Most of us jump into our venomous SUVs and charge off to destinations far, wide, and most of all, close to our homes. That's pathetic.

Don't we know the bicycle is much more economically feasible than the automobile for short trips? If you live within three miles of work, you could be commuting on a bicycle. If you live anywhere near stores, and you need to shop for something, you could be riding a bicycle. (At the very least, your household should have a beat-up, rusty "mini-mart bike" solely for those moments when you need to get a quick snack or beverage.)

If you're a basket case behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and you're sick to death of all the traffic jams, you could be riding a bicycle.

...I've been cycling for over 35 years, so let me be the first to write the bicycle's obituary.

"We the People have clearly voted with our right foot and have chosen the gas-sucking motor vehicle over the bicycle — and that bites."


Blogger Fritz said...

That's a goood article -- thanks for linking to it.

1:14 PM  

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