What if bikes were marketed as tools? Like all those ads for Ford F-150’s barreling through a construction site or hauling A$$ up a mountain road, do you think of your bike as a tool? Well there is in fact a category called utility bikes that comes closest to being labeled a tool. But, here is the rub. All bikes are tools and labeling utility bikes as a tool is a superfluous message to non-riders. To increase bicycle use for Americans means simplifying the message. Every bike is a tool!
Bikes aren’t cars or trucks nor should the marketing take that template. In another post I mentioned that Trek has over 450 models and styles of bikes. How can you effectively market this iceberg? On the surface a buyer is confused by what is really lying beneath. The marketing campaign by Truck manufacturers is on point it sends the message to the American male that your truck is a tool. Cars are marketed any number of ways by demographic but never as a tool like a truck.
Every bike is a tool. A tool for racing. A tool for Mountain Biking. A tool for grandma to ride around the cul de sac. So when 90% of Americans don’t ride what message is being communicated? Well, in the halls of bicycle advocates there is a buzz calling for more transportation use. But, increased bike use has been sidetracked by advocates who are convinced to increase bicycle infrastructure on the one hand. On the other it is known the prescience of more bicyclist on city streets is safer for bicyclist.
We cannot rely on our government that does not have an energy policy to send this message. The bicycle industry could commit to bicycles as tools but it hasn’t happened yet. What would a Republican do? Here might be the answer or at least a stab at a solution. When we start to think like Michelle B….. A Republican would slash all benefits, eliminate taxes and insist that trying as hard as you might there won’t be any hand outs coming your way. Apply this to bicycling in America for a solution to more ridership.
So what happens if bike paths are not being built? More bikes on streets. What happens when less taxes are collected? More pot holes in roads and broken cars that owners can’t afford to fix. More bikes on streets. What happens as the price of fuel and food rise and there are no hand outs? More bikes on streets. Maybe the Republicans are doing something good for a change. Less is more this time around.