Going from a sport to just something basic
As many cities make biking more convenient, safe and comfortable (I’m in New York, seeing it first hand), a new responsibility is emerging for the bike industry and shops to start catering to one of the growing demands of the market: European style bikesand other simple, sit-up styles. These bikes are built for comfortable commuting and running errands, like getting groceries, carrying pets and taking children to school. You know, the stuff many people do everyday, typically by women. These bikes are also meant to be stylish. Some people think pulling up to a show in an Escalade is cool; the new cool is pulling up on a cruiser or Dutch bike.
What kind of bikes do women want? And whose’s selling them those bikes?
These are things MyWHaT has mentioned before, but until yesterday had I had never met someone so passionate about making it happen. George Bliss, owner of Hudson Urban Bicycles, is such a person. Bill Palladino and I visited The HUB to check out some cargo bikes & window shop. Bliss was in the entrance way, working on a bike. After we introduced ourselves, it didn’t take long for Bliss to begin to tell us what he thought about getting more people to choose to bike in our cities, particularly New York City. He also had plenty to say on what’s making the industry so one dimensional & holding us back.
Here is a just a short clip of the visit. When he said,”bicycle advocates ruined bicycling” we knew we had someone in front of us who had something to say. We started filming as he began talking about the Dutch bike culture.
It didn’t take much to get Bliss going and a quick search shows that he is gaining attention for the keeping it simple and stylish message. Last year, there was an article titled “The wheels are turning in bike pioneer’s head” published in the Villager Press that captured much of what he voiced when the camera was turned off.
This quote from the article shows some of his frustration with the focus on mountain bikes as bikes of choice. He said, “Only in America will you see businessmen in suits all hunched over a mountain bike(a position he described to us like being held in the stockade in a public display of humiliation)It’s ridiculous. There needs to be a market of practical bikes for the average consumer.”
He’s doing his part at 136 Charles St.
What do you think? Is there something to be said for taking the “sport” out of bicycling?
NOTE: Posted from the road, mostly on a cell phone, so my apologies for any typos. Also, be sure to check out tomorrow’s post by Bill Palladino, as he describes the economics of being car-free for the past year.