Kill the Bicycle Experience

Any bicycle that calls itself all-purpose or hybrid is a gimmick and should be considered a “no buy.” I’ve mentioned in this blog that a bike should fulfill a purpose. What better way to kill the bicycle experience than to handicap inexperienced riders from the start with gimmicks. Hybrids are marketed as comfort bikes to new riders.  These bikes were created by marketing people who believe more bicycles can be sold if they can convince uninitiated consumers that bike riding can be comfortable. What the consumer doesn’t know is the bike industry has no scientific evidence or testing that these bikes are more comfortable. Comfort and pain are subjective.  Who hasn’t experienced some pain from physical exertion? Why should it be different on a bike? The bike industry continues to push junk onto naive consumers. What is the logic for heavy suspension, a pogo stick seat post and a relaxed frame geometry? These three elements reduce rider energy. The flexible body of a rider is more efficient when riding on rigid forks and seat post. The relaxed geometry is counter intuitive for the rider that might be looking for a bike for short trips when the need is for a compact frame not a stretched frame that is meant for longer distances. 

I came across this ad copy for an inexpensive hybrid. The red flags should go up if your main concern is inexpensive. There are no inexpensive new bicycles in America, only cheap, shoddy and heavy with mediocre components. Would you buy a new bike that cost less than an I Pod and expect it to last as long?

The LandRider Hybrid bicycle is the perfect choice if you are looking for an inexpensive all-purpose bicycle.

The softly padded seat with the double suspension system and two-inch tires provide a perfectly smooth ride on the well worn trail. Read ….heavy fork and seat post.This is the same bicycle you were riding while commuting to work through sidewalks read..don’t know any better than to ride on sidewalk   and city streets just two days ago carrying your laptop in the saddlebags that hang from the rear bike rack. It is also the same bicycle with the Shimano gears that you took on the 12 mile road trip read a couple of weeks ago. read.. this is not a road trip, the range is within the capabilities of anyone 8 to 80.  You are riding your LandRider Hybrid bicycle.

Ok, the scenario above does not make a bike all-purpose but, it creates a picture of a fictional rider that uses a bike for many short bike rides. If a 12 mile bike ride is considered a road trip and contrast that to the two miles to the lighthouse we could assume that a commute might be four or five miles at most.  The hybrid becomes an albatross on trips this short. Experienced bike riders might ride a beater bike, a single speed or a three speed internal hub for short trips, all of which can be found on Craigslist or garage sales. A good single speed from the bike industry is hard to find. Very few “first bikes” are offered as single speeds. This is bike marketing brain surgeons making every effort to capitalize on a trend that appeals to young men of a certain tribal leaning. A trend that has seen it’s highwater mark and is dying. What’s next? An actual bike that people can ride?

This bit of ad copy from the UK is so full of what is wrong with trends. Bike experts want your money but, please don’t give them your sense. If you know anything now come prepared to the world of bike riding. Do your homework before buying something that someone else says you should. “Be your own expert” Bike ride more and drive your car less.

 The fixed gear is very much an experience;read…not for the inexperienced.. it helps maintain the momentum of the bike via constantly rotating pedals;read…if you remember your tricycle rolling out of control as a three year old and the horror!  this encourages the cyclist to keep pedalling. It also allows the cyclist to both accelerate and brake with their feet which allows more control when braking in wet or icy conditions. We ride on snow and ice in Minneapolis and would never consider a fixie as having more control on ice let alone dry pavement.This is because your feet are in complete control read….if your feet are in control then where is your head in this equation? of the rear wheel rather than the brake pads potentially slipping (due to water / ice) or the wheels potentially locking due to the over application of the brakes.

Is this what they meant by complete control on ice?


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