An Indoor Culture Emerges

As I continue my Global Search for ‘Pure Funk’ in bicycle design. I again marvel at how 4 of the hottest 5 designs I have seen lately are from foreign bicycle manufacturers. I am sure there is some simple, yet technical reason why European countries seem to be leading the way in innovative and funked out design. My opinion on this issue is simple, after researching American bicycle companies versus their European counter parts; I am of the opinion that bicycles are simply more important to their way of life than it is to ours. I read a statistic the other day that said the European bicycle market is growing more rapidly than any other in the world! NBC
Nightly News reported several months back that 1 out of 3 Americans are considered obese while 1 out of 4 of every child in this country is considered overweight. It isn’t hard to guess at the reason for this, ‘Lack of Exercise and healthy diets!’

It is a rare sight in my neighborhood to look out of the window and see a child or youth riding a bicycle or to see anyone (including me) running or walking to get exercise. Innovation tends to rapidly slow down or even halt as something, such as bicycle riding becomes less important to our society as a whole. When something is very important and economically lucrative, the opposite effect happens. To prove this point, there is no end to technological advancement in computer software, online start up companies, video games and systems and even automobile technology. These are all areas where American Business is strong worldwide. The flip side of that is all of these things take very little physical activity.

You can pretty much sit on your butt and do all of these things and you would have a very difficult time burning any calories doing any of them! And you wonder why we are a nation of fat bodies. I said all of that to say this, we are losing ground as a nation within bicycle industry innovation and funk because we are lazy. The companies who do have the lock on distribution to the stores which 73% of people in this nation buy bicycles, at Big Box Retailers are producing uninspiring designs which produce no emotional response other than “Oh, that is nice, I GUESS I can buy that.”

The companies that do have a little funk can’t possibly hope to get their designs in these retailers because they don’t have the purchasing power that the big companies do so they exist on the fringe. Each of them are so busy fighting for the scraps left by the likes of Huffy and Pacific Cycles that they never think about merging their companies to obtain the purchasing power needed to compete with the big boys! Unfortunately, the biggest losers in this drama are you and I, the bicycle buying public, and worst of all, the spirit in the marketplace that made this country great. We as a country can grab the innovation and funk back from Europe, but not until the emotion is put back into bicycle design.

Above Photo: Courtesy of Mzarek


Post a Comment 3 comments:

playalistic243 said...

give heartbeat props d!

December 15, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Brian D. said...

What for? Isn't the whole world doing that through the mass media and GREAT marketing campaigns. Marshall Taylor has to be recognized don't ya think?


To those of you who don't know,'Giving Heartbeat props' is am old school way of saying 'Let's recognize the living instead of focusing on those who have passed on.'

December 15, 2007 at 12:18 PM

gwadzilla said...

that replica is a beautiful bike!

February 1, 2008 at 9:56 AM

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