Friday, February 19, 2016
Simply Riding a Bike - Acknowledgement, Support, and Momentum
In 2012 I noticed a significant surge in bike riders in our community of 40,000 population. Today, it is nearly three-fold—by my unofficial observation—commuters dominating the increase more so than seasonal riders, though fair weather weekend cyclists have certainly gained traction since 2012.
Nationwide, I've noticed that bicycle manufacturers are creating more city friendly bicycles with a trend towards simple, efficient machines. Clean styling, lack of decals, promoting simplicity over complicated gear systems, packaging bikes with racks, fenders, baskets, bells, lights, etc. Linus, Public Bikes, and Breezers immediately come to mind.
I've also observed a flurry of bicycle bloggers rethinking what they want in a bicycle (including myself), re-imagining the perfect bike style that will suit their needs. Some folks are pairing down their fleet, investing in one or two bikes. It appears that functional, uncomplicated bikes are making a comeback.
In our region, the past two winters have seen a huge increase in year-round commuters, attributed to education, updating city infrastructure, the rise of the fat bike, and several bike loving organizations connecting through social media, pushing Burlington to take notice of projects that will help our city become more pedestrian and cycling friendly. If this kind of ridership and awareness happens in our cold environment, I can only imagine what's going on in milder climates.
Even with the drop in gas prices, I believe the rise in recreational and transportation cycling is here to stay. Simply riding a bike for exercise, errands, or commuting has wedged itself into the fabric of Burlington.
Are you seeing a similar boost of riders in your community and is it seasonal or year-round?