Saturday, April 24, 2021

Are Practical Bicycles on the Rise?

2020, with all it's failings, has at least jumpstarted a cycling revolution! Inventory for almost every bike has sold out, or is non-existent. Bicycle companies are taking pre-orders (think Velo Orange, Rivendell, and quite possibly your local bike shop). Every business associated with cycling, from bike parts, to clothing, to cycling accessories, (like Po Campo and Terry Bicycles) has seen a phenomenal uptick in sales. Not to mention, e-bike riders that had been growing exponentially pre-pandemic. Just try and get a reasonable priced e-bike today! Folks are flocking to two-wheels.

Where are all the new riders coming from? Just take a look at your local rail trails. A three-fold increase in use! Enough to make most regular riders uncomfortable in unvaccinated heavy breathing crowds. It's obvious that cycling is a wonderful family activity. And at least one family member needs a new bike or service on existing bicycle. I also think more people are commuting, or if not, are squeezing in a fitness ride post home office hours (like myself).

Speaking from experience, pre-pandemic regular riders are also responsible for rising bicycle sales. I bought a mountain bike to get away from crowds, while my husband also purchased his own, in his case, to do future extended backcountry touring. I think many folks are treating themselves to new bicycles, because it's instant gratification, they make us happy at a time when travel is non-existent or unsafe. What better time - if you can get one - to add that unique plus one bike to your collection?

As the title of this blog post suggests, it appears practical bicycles are selling fast. Are there more people riding to the office? I'm not sure, considering how many people currently work from home. I wonder if people are buying what they can get their hands on. Does that explain why folding bikes have become extremely popular? Or are city dwellers escaping city crowds, heading to parks on a practical bicycle that's easily stored in limited spaces? At any rate, I'm fascinated with Dahon's limited stock and their new pandemic-inspired venture, the HIT, a low cost bicycle to meet the rising demand. The Marin Larkspur is also intriguing, and what explains the instant (15 minutes) near sell-out of pre-orders for a more expensive option, Rivendell's Platypus? And that's only the frame...

What has been your experience? Did you buy a new/used bike in the past year?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Great 2021 Terry Clothing Experiment!

a pile of Terry Bicycle cothing
What's a girl to do with all these choices?

For a long while I've preferred multifunctional garments over bicycle-specific clothing. But that wasn't always the case. I've tried to like padded shorts, however I wilt in heat and humidity, therefore wearing the least amount of clothing possible has been my preferred choice. I've had saddle discomfort for years, but I didn't know what to do about, short of taking periodic breaks from riding, and trying various saddles. 

I eventually settled on thin t-shirts, rayon button-down tops, or Hawaiian shirts - loose garments that allowed airflow, were quick drying, and virtually odorless when worn multiple times. For bottoms, I preferred stretchy cotton, yoga-style shorts. When the bottoms became threadbare and not easily replaced, I added cute Terry skirts for better coverage. It was a wonderful solution, whether shopping or riding to work - a presentable option for strolling inside until changing into business casual attire.

Enter the pandemic, and unemployment. 

I eventually found a new opportunity - of all places - at Terry Bicycles! Georgena Terry sold the saddle and clothing business 10+ years ago. Since then the office/warehouse has been in Burlington, Vermont. In a home office for the time being, I'm having fun trying various padded shorts, knickers, skorts, and breathable synthetic tops on evening rides. It's equally a personal experiment and professionally the best way to understand products. I suspect that riding in chamois-lined shorts during the summer heat will be the ultimate test. Couple that will testing saddles and I just may be the best dressed commuter rider out there!

I don't know where this journey will take me - I'm a creative soul - but I'm willing to go along for a short ride. 

In the meantime, let's all get on our bikes. :)