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Wednesday 23 July 2008

Attitude towards bikes [Slim]

I'm on a bit of a consumer mission to buy a new bike (bicycle, not a broom broom). I've been walking to work for the last year or so, but now that I'm close to me target weight, I've been cycling a bit to increase the range and get a change of pace and scenery. Typically UK male, I can't just buy a bike, I have to buy mags, search websites, read reviews, find the very best price, agonize over the decision, change my mind, read forums, blah blah. Realistically, my 10 year old mountain bike is probably fine, it's a bit heavy, and a lot rattly, but it does the job. I want a carbon fibre grippy screaming fanny magnet though, with all the gear!So it amused me to read this thread:Commuting tipsWacky innit? They use bikes like a million percent more than us, the bikes are absolutely everywhere, but seem to care not a jot about the machines, they just get on with it. Wonder what happened to produce such a significant shift in attitude? Is it because they're workhorses rather than sports/recreation items? Could be, but then you could say the same about cars, and people buy flashy cars to commute in.


  1. there's a bit of an interesting article in cycling plus. Cycle commuting here died in the 50s with the rise of the cheap motor car & cycling was seen as poor man's transport. Ironically these days, middle classes are more likeley to cycle more (iirc reading, may be completely wrong :))

  2. With any bit of consumer kit, you'll have the people who get by with the basics and the loons like EED who spend far too much money for not much benefit. That said, some of it is simply down to different usage patterns. Doing 150 miles/week, I notice the difference going from a hybrid to a road bike; the ride is less effort, it requires less maintenance overall, etc.Regarding takeup of cycling in the UK, I think that Spiny has hit the nail on the head here. Cheap cars led to the bicycle being stigmatised in a way that seemingly didn't happen in continental Europe. That said, things are improving - the number of people on bikes in London is noticeably up from even a year ago; rising fuel costs combined with a public transport system that is probably the most expensive of its kind in the world mean that more people are looking for cheap alternatives. The venerable pushbike fits this niche nicely; hopefully with the amount of money being invested in dedicated cycle lanes, bike rental schemes, etc. this trend will only continue.


  3. The Dutch attitude really is different. When I was over there a lot, I was amazed by the bike racks outside the station - thousands and thousands of identical black Mary Poppins bikes, none of them locked up. I think the attitude is that if everyone has the same piece of shit, then no-one will nick them. And if they do happen to get stolen, so what, just get another €30 piece of shit.


  4. The major thing about countries that use a LOT of bikes, is that no one wants a flash bike. If you have a flash bike it'll be stolen. That's the thinking behind the whole thing. The amazing thing is that they seem to get those old bikes that are simple, no fancy gears, shit that has little to break.

    I often wished I had a bike like that myself so I didn't have to fucking piss around aligning deraileurs and shit like that. I mean what is the fucking POINT of having these 30 gear stupid things anyway? It's like a fucking arms race innit. You need something like five tops. I'm also somewhat nostalgic for the way my ancient old pushbike did brakes. You back peddled and it locked on a braking mechanism. It was fucking great, it never squeaked, it never needed pads replacing and it would lock the wheel up in a fucking hurry if you wanted it to.

    Bring back old shitty bikes!


  5. There's a thriving singlespeed sub culture in MTB and road


  6. When I was last looking, these gears-inside-hubs sounded fab.

    It's a sealed unit, it gives you the same spread of gearing as a 3 chain ring x 7 sprocket cassette deraileur but with a lot less fannying about.

    A fair number of bikes from Specialized, Giant etc. offer the Rohloff hubs as an extra.

    Anyway, as this is an EED equipment blog I'm surprised to see no discussion on the correct number of fans. What's going on?


  7. Shit, another comment, more on topic too.

    The West is concerned about once proud cycling nations (poor) like China who are ditching their bikes for cheap, inefficient cars and consequently their fuel requirements are predicted to rocket. China want to be seen as a progressive nation and view the car as a sign that you've 'made it', it's very sad.