Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bike shops peddling back-to-the-basics

Image of Trek Lime bicycleFrom the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 05.25.07:

Dr. Tom Mackenzie can wax poetic about his one-speed bicycle, a throwback to the bike he rode as a kid. He can go on at length about its sleek lines, whisper-quiet ride and easy maintenance. (When) it comes time to pedal from his home in St. Paul to the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, it's his one-speed that comes out of the garage.

"It's my commuting bike," he said. "It's a simple machine. It's the most efficient machine man has ever created."

With gas prices at record highs and fewer parking spots, urban commuters are turning to the bicycle as their vehicle of choice. And, like Mackenzie, they want bikes that offer ease and flexibility.

Complex mountain bikes that have dominated showrooms are being pushed aside for bikes with internal-hub gears (think of your old three-speed), bikes with computer-chip-driven automatic transmissions and fold-up bikes, some of which can be collapsed into a bundle not much bigger than a briefcase. (Read more.)
This is an excellent article, featuring interviews with several Minneapolis bike shop staff on the trend toward useful, simpler bicycles for the commuter market. Perhaps the message from bike industry leaders John Burke of Trek and Joe Breeze is getting through.

Image: Joey Mcleister/Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

1 comment:

clark said...

this is a healthy trend. someone i know who has biked for many years and doesn't own a car told me her next bike will have eight gears in back and none in front. and an unsuspended steel frame with 29 inch wheels.
full suspension never seemed necessary to me. i heard it's a problem to find parts after those shocks wear out, too. one bike shop owner suggests buying the replacement shock when you buy the bike.