TCI Friday works best when you read and weigh in. Please comment below, so we can get a conversation going. For my sake, please save me from the echo chamber of my own thoughts and ideas. Thanks.
Jeremy said, when he bought his last road bike, he told the builder he’d be using it for 85% road riding, and 15% dirt road riding. Almost immediately, he reported, those numbers flipped, and he both didn’t see it coming, and can’t fathom it being any other way now.
Many of us have fled the roads in the last 5-10 years. What happened? Well, to my eye it looks like a perfect storm broke over the road market circa 2012. Late that year, the USADA’s reasoned decision came out, enumerating the multivariate and stomach-turning ways in which Lance Armstrong and his US Postal/Astana/Radio Shack cohort had been cheating at bike racing. This single, final reckoning effectively ended the Lance-driven-road-era in the US.
Simultaneously, people were beginning to ask just how wide a tire they could fit on their road bikes in order to ride not-paved roads. Purpose-built “gravel” bikes followed not too far behind, ushering in disc brakes and all sorts of tires that bridged the gap between 25mm road and 2.3″ mountain rubber.
Here we see both a negative and positive charge enter the equation. Cyclists stopped being inspired by Lance to ride road bikes and started being inspired by the possibility to get the hell out of traffic. I think 2012 was a sort of pivotal time in bike/road infrastructure too, a point at which the previous decade’s pressure to install bike lanes and to include cycling in urban planning projects finally began to pay dividends, although perhaps too late to save road cycling from going into decline.
It’s crazy to me to think that I have a beautiful custom road bike that I love, and yet I’ve been on it twice this calendar year. I was a road bike commuter, and I was a weekend roadie, but apparently my wool was not as darkly dyed as I’d thought. I switched to gravel riding eagerly, and that fueled a big time return to mountain biking too.
Do I miss road riding? Only a little. Occasionally. I guess I think these things always have cycles. I assume my road bike will come back into the mix again someday.
This week’s TCI Friday asks, how much to do you ride road versus what I’ll call “other?” Have you stuck at it, or have you followed a similar path to mine? Looking into the future, what do you think will cause the next road bike boom, or is there not one coming?
Here we are, another Friday. Hopefully, you’re already thinking about the weekend’s riding. I’m glad we all got this far. Before you go, please take a second to leave your comments below and maybe even to share this post with someone else who’s trying not to do anymore work this week. Thanks.