Bikes for people not interested in cycling

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Bone idle laziness and a self entitled culture is why utility cycling had gone down the U bend here.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
The Dutch took the decision to cycle in the seventies. It was made easier by the flatness of the country and compactness of the towns and cities. The Dutch are by their nature relaxed, friendly and egalitarian whereas the British are xenophobic, selfish and ignorant, which is why we were so easily conned into voting to leave the EU.
 
The Dutch took the decision to cycle in the seventies. It was made easier by the flatness of the country and compactness of the towns and cities. The Dutch are by their nature relaxed, friendly and egalitarian whereas the British are xenophobic, selfish and ignorant, which is why we were so easily conned into voting to leave the EU.
I think if that was an advert, the ASA might ban it under the new rules about stereotyping, however there might be some truth in there about the differences in national outlook but it's always difficult to pin down exactly what they are and more importantly why they are. It has always struck me as pointless to advocate Dutch style cycling here in the UK though.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
A good article in many ways, but you can't really blame the type of bikes being available to buy for the decline in utility use in the UK though. Traditional roadsters were still in mass production during the 1980's, yet the decline in utility riding started long before that. The reasons are much more complex than simply saying people don't ride because roadsters aren't common bikes.
Many UK towns have become pretty grim places over the years, and become dumping grounds for the sort of anti-social scum no-one wants to live next to. Therefore a lot of people who could afford to, moved further way from where they worked and drove to work. That also meant they lived further way from things like shops and public services, so it became more practical to drive to get your shopping or visit the library, than to ride a bike or walk.
For cycling to ever once more become a mass transport activity, people will need to be willing to live near to where they work, so all the run down urban dumps will need to be cleaned up and all the antisocial behaviour stamped out. Until that happens, people are going to continue to live in what they perceive as "nice" areas miles away from work and shops and public facilities, and they are not going to return to cycling on any great scale.
 

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
I think the main reason why people moved out of towns and away from their work was the ever escalating cost of inner city housing. Driving it before that in forties and fifties they were dirty smelly places. Anyone remember the smogs?
Now with the advent of the clean up has heralded the rise of bikes for commuters like the Brompton. Completely different to the situation in Holland.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
There was an interesting thread going on UKClimbing about teenagers' apparent lack of interest in alcohol. I chipped in with a point similar to that of SkipdiverJohn above, that people now live so far from their place of work that the old "industrial drinking" days of their grandparents have finished, where people would stop at the pub on the walk home from work and neck a few pints then stagger off home. People live too far from work to cycle or drink. We are the poorer for it in so many ways.

Conversely many small towns and villages whose branch lines were axed by Beeching probably now have enough commuters to support a light commuter rail service, if only the line could be reinstated.
 
At the risk of incurring the wrath of people on here, I'd like to point out a slight contradiction common on this (and other fora) and that is when someone posts looking for a bike to start off on, maybe to commute a few times a week and the occasional weekend jaunt along a canal or the like.
Invariably, people are directed towards something new, minimum spend approx 500 and above.
I understand this is a cycling forum, populated by enthusiasts, but I think it should be remembered there is another category of cyclist too.

The Dutch language differentiate between a cyclist (wielrenner - think of a cycling enthusiast) and someone who cycles a bike (fietser - think utility). It is an interesting distinction.

At risk of getting into national stereotypes, the Dutch are a frugal lot (I've lived here for 20 odd years) and most would baulk at the idea of spending such money on a bike for that purpose.
The vast majority of bikes are very old, onetime excellent bikes, most neglected to an unbelievable level - so long as it works it'll be used.

People who are into cycling may well have a second or even a third bike, but for daily, utility use, most are in the former category.

People will invest in a bike for a specific purpose such as carrying children, or older people for their summer day trips.

If I landed up into the city I live in, I could get a Swapfiets https://swapfiets.nl/en/ for Euro 16,50 per month - including all repairs (& flat tyres!), or pick up a second hand bike for less than Euro100. If that has a puncture, I can drop it into the bike shop in the train station and have my puncture repaired while I work. There are a lot of people here who cannot fix a puncture!
I know an accomplished engineer who maintains machines in a large factory. He'll happily improvise repairs on his car, camper, caravan, but an issue with his bike? Down to the shop. He doesn't see himself as a cyclist.

Sometimes I think that the cycling activists forget that the only way they will get the infrastructure and respect they believe they deserve is when they realise that there are a large group in the middle of the extremes between "cycling is the only way forward" and "all cyclists are b******s". These people don't want to spend a lot of money on an idea before getting a decent chance to try it out, they don't want to get shouted at if they ask about wearing a Hi-Viz or a helmet, they don't want to be bamboozled by specs. They just want to get on a bike and ride.

I think when all those people start getting out on their bikes, clunkers or not, then there will be an attitude change and better infrastructure.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
At the risk of incurring the wrath of people on here, I'd like to point out a slight contradiction common on this (and other fora) and that is when someone posts looking for a bike to start off on, maybe to commute a few times a week and the occasional weekend jaunt along a canal or the like.
Invariably, people are directed towards something new, minimum spend approx 500 and above.
I understand this is a cycling forum, populated by enthusiasts, but I think it should be remembered there is another category of cyclist too.

The Dutch language differentiate between a cyclist (wielrenner - think of a cycling enthusiast) and someone who cycles a bike (fietser - think utility). It is an interesting distinction.

At risk of getting into national stereotypes, the Dutch are a frugal lot (I've lived here for 20 odd years) and most would baulk at the idea of spending such money on a bike for that purpose.
The vast majority of bikes are very old, onetime excellent bikes, most neglected to an unbelievable level - so long as it works it'll be used.

People who are into cycling may well have a second or even a third bike, but for daily, utility use, most are in the former category.

People will invest in a bike for a specific purpose such as carrying children, or older people for their summer day trips.

If I landed up into the city I live in, I could get a Swapfiets https://swapfiets.nl/en/ for Euro 16,50 per month - including all repairs (& flat tyres!), or pick up a second hand bike for less than Euro100. If that has a puncture, I can drop it into the bike shop in the train station and have my puncture repaired while I work. There are a lot of people here who cannot fix a puncture!
I know an accomplished engineer who maintains machines in a large factory. He'll happily improvise repairs on his car, camper, caravan, but an issue with his bike? Down to the shop. He doesn't see himself as a cyclist.

Sometimes I think that the cycling activists forget that the only way they will get the infrastructure and respect they believe they deserve is when they realise that there are a large group in the middle of the extremes between "cycling is the only way forward" and "all cyclists are b******s". These people don't want to spend a lot of money on an idea before getting a decent chance to try it out, they don't want to get shouted at if they ask about wearing a Hi-Viz or a helmet, they don't want to be bamboozled by specs. They just want to get on a bike and ride.

I think when all those people start getting out on their bikes, clunkers or not, then there will be an attitude change and better infrastructure.
To be fair, quite a large number of the newbies who sign up looking for bike advice say they have a budget of £500 and may be using cycle to work to fund or want new because they don't know what to look for in a used bike in terms of condition, or they don't want to have to spend money on maintenance (especially if it means paying a mechanic to do what might be required) and want the peace of mind that not unreasonably comes with buying a new bike wth a warranty or they are concerned about buying stolen (not an unwarranted fear in the UK when looking for a cheaper bike) . Thus, often advice is given to address that is requested. Also, plenty of people actually like to have a nice bike even for utility use and if they have the financial wherewithal then why not. Especially if it's the first bike bought in adulthood say
 
Dutch bikes are brilliant things. They really are simplicity x infinity. No oily trouser legs, not much maintenance required, if you use airless tyres then there’s even less. If it gets people who really don’t ‘do’ bikes, on bikes, that’s a good thing, because whilst they’re on a bike, they’re not driving, and that’s great news, especially in a city / urban environment.
 
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