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Fewer kids riding bicycles worries industry

Old 06-07-19, 09:38 AM
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oldgeezerjeff
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Fewer kids riding bicycles worries industry

Interesting story here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...=.6469ad8ac111
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Old 06-07-19, 09:51 AM
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Maybe the “American” bicycle industry should worry less about tariffs on their Chinese made bicycles and more about cycle advocacy and infrastructure. Common sense says that would be far more helpful to their industry than sweating over profit margins on near slave labour produced, wal-mart sold, junk.
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Old 06-07-19, 10:08 AM
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It could just be that more people are buying used bikes on Craigslist and Facebook, instead of new bikes at Walmart and Amazon.

Used bike sales don't show up in the market research.

Why pay $100 at Walmart when you can easily use Facebook to find someone in your neighborhood with the same gently used bike for $40.
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Old 06-07-19, 10:20 AM
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Parents won't let their children ride bikes on public roads because of motorists looking at and talking on their phones.

Half of them know first hand because they do it themselves, but that's the reason anyway.


-Tim-
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Old 06-07-19, 10:21 AM
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Fewer kids are playing outside or exercising in general, which worries healthcare professionals everywhere.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:11 AM
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It's a bummer to see rising prices due to tariffs and declining interest in biking among kids simultaneously affecting the industry.

Tariffs and macroeconomic factors are out of our control- those will continue to be factors that companies will have to contend with, but it makes me ask, what can I do to reverse the trend? This quote really stuck out to me:

“As busy professionals, it’s so challenging. Our parents left their computers at work. Now we’re constantly tied up. It’s hard to say, ‘I’m going to go ride my bike with my family for an hour.’”

As a parent of young kids, this quote is so depressing. The shift in mindset starts with parents! It is a CHOICE to be constantly connected to work, social media, etc. Put your phone in your pocket and take your kids for a ride around the block! I've had my kids on Striders at 18 months, and it planted the seed of interest- they ask to go for bike rides all the time now. They get to watch one 1/2 hour cartoon on weekdays, and maybe a movie on weekends. My wife and I both have demanding full time jobs, and we don't shove an iPad at our kids in our limited time together as a family.

"...kids and teens ages 8 to 18 averaged more than seven hours a day looking at screens."

What!? That's almost half of their waking hours, I can't even understand that much time spent in front of a screen.

I think these broad cultural trends are MUCH more concerning than the effect that tariffs have on bikes.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:16 AM
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The real reason is that even kids bikes are insanely expensive. Why buy your kid a bike when you could spend the money on a decent used car for him/her.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mpls85 View Post

"...kids and teens ages 8 to 18 averaged more than seven hours a day looking at screens."

I can't even understand that much time spent in front of a screen.
Describes my average workday.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Describes my average workday.
Ha, same here, unfortunately. I should have said I can't imaging that much time in front of a screen recreationally, without any financial compensation
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Old 06-07-19, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mpls85 View Post
Ha, same here, unfortunately. I should have said I can't imaging that much time in front of a screen recreationally, without any financial compensation
Totally OT, but are you a Mpls. ex-pat too?
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Old 06-07-19, 11:34 AM
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My daughter (11) was into riding when she learned a few years ago... But now to get to a "safe" (up and back the cul- de -sac isn't enough now that she's older) place to ride we have to throw the bikes into my truck. To ride beyond 300 yds. she has to pass a supermarket, Dunkin' D, Starbucks, McD, Wendy's, 2 gas stations & regular shops, banks and parking lots. Even I'm taking a chance with all the disengaged drivers in a hurry*... And it's not like riding to a friend's is easy anymore, like when I was young.
Can't really fault the kids, in this aspect.

* I've already had 3 VERY close calls of drivers trying to turn and squeak in front of me to get whatever... since the end of March, and I ain't going fast 12-15 mph. (I'm not counting the silly, annoying ones.)

Last edited by Last ride 76; 06-07-19 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Totally OT, but are you a Mpls. ex-pat too?
I am! Moved out west a couple years ago. Love riding year-round, but miss the dedicated bike infrastructure in Minneapolis.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mpls85 View Post
I am! Moved out west a couple years ago. Love riding year-round, but miss the dedicated bike infrastructure in Minneapolis.
I left in 1989, but grew up there. Even then, the biking was great.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:56 AM
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You want more children riding bicycles. Make it a felony to drive and talk on a cell phone. Get rid of the on rode parking. Enforce existing laws and take safety seriously.
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Old 06-07-19, 01:16 PM
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Well, I looked at that article and it made me wonder about the demographics for the country as a whole. The birth rate dropped during and immediately after the 2008 recession. Those unborn kids would be 10 or 11 now which is prime kid bike age. So that could explain part of the drop in numerical sales.

My kid went through 2 bikes and her current (fairly expensive) bike is probably a bit small since her most recent (and likely last) growth spurt. I doubt I'll get her a new bike now, since it's off to university later this summer. I might look for a beater bike on the used market given the college theft issue. Luckily, the campus is small and extremely walkable, so even that might not be in the cards.

Last edited by Altair 4; 06-07-19 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 06-08-19, 08:41 AM
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Well, my kid’s doing his part.

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Old 06-09-19, 03:28 AM
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What's he training for, a ride from Alaska to Argentina?! That doesn't look much fun, more like his mid-life crisis came 40yrs early.. Or he's having to live someone else's.

Don't tell me, he still goes out in jeans on a fun bike for a cruise about the neighbourhood with his mates every other day of the week..
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Old 06-09-19, 03:49 AM
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I think the article inadvertently put it's finger on the problem without understanding it. It claims that the issue is in part that parents don't find time to ride with their kids.

When I was a kid, riding was something you did with your friends, not your parents. Kids just spend way less time actually hanging out together without some adult organizing the activity. When was the last time you saw a group of kids start a spontaneous game of kick the can or kickball, for example?
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Old 06-09-19, 04:38 AM
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All of these -

Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
It could just be that more people are buying used bikes on Craigslist and Facebook, instead of new bikes at Walmart and Amazon.

Used bike sales don't show up in the market research.

Why pay $100 at Walmart when you can easily use Facebook to find someone in your neighborhood with the same gently used bike for $40.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Parents won't let their children ride bikes on public roads because of motorists looking at and talking on their phones.

Half of them know first hand because they do it themselves, but that's the reason anyway.

-Tim-

And especially this one -

Originally Posted by JW Fas View Post
Fewer kids are playing outside or exercising in general, which worries healthcare professionals everywhere.
Air-conditioning has spoiled a lot of kids. They just don't want to get out side and get hot and dirty during the summer, or cold and wet in the winter.


Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
My daughter (11) was into riding when she learned a few years ago... But now to get to a "safe" (up and back the cul- de -sac isn't enough now that she's older) place to ride we have to throw the bikes into my truck. To ride beyond 300 yds. she has to pass a supermarket, Dunkin' D, Starbucks, McD, Wendy's, 2 gas stations & regular shops, banks and parking lots. Even I'm taking a chance with all the disengaged drivers in a hurry*... And it's not like riding to a friend's is easy anymore, like when I was young.
Can't really fault the kids, in this aspect.

* I've already had 3 VERY close calls of drivers trying to turn and squeak in front of me to get whatever... since the end of March, and I ain't going fast 12-15 mph. (I'm not counting the silly, annoying ones.)
I'm with you on this. The neighborhood where I live is large for the area (deep south, not many large neighborhoods but lots of open country). There is another such nearby neighborhood that is not as large, but that boast some hellish hills that I can easily get to after crossing a 4-lane. If I cover my flat neighborhood and then venture over to that one I can get a decent workout within 8 to 10 miles.

So for me to rack up true "road miles" (as opposed to leisurely hybrid miles in the hood) I have to get out on the rural highways and roads, which raises the risk factors exponentially. To wit: on the rural 4-lane that basically "cradles" my neighborhood at the north and west quadrant, a good friend was hit on his bike by a pickup truck in broad daylight. High viz jersey, flashing tail light, everything. He spent weeks in ICU and has never fully recovery physically - all because one doofus cager had to check his text messages.

That particular road does not have a wide shoulder, however, an adjoining road does. Even so, no thoughtful bicyclist will ride it more than once out of respect for his or her tires. Seriously, the nails, tacks, bits of glass, and other trash would guarantee a flat a mile.

America's love affair with the automobile and the advent of paved roads has some corollary down-sides that we all see, but very few local and state governments truly acts to accommodate the needs of cyclists. My answer to that is to limit my close to home riding to the neighborhood, and transport my bike to less risky settings in the nearby town where there are several decent paths.

Finally, I agree with livedarklions: as a kid I spent all day on my bike during the summers, but it was with my neighborhood gaggle of guy friends and not my parents.

And we lived in a different world in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The same in-town neighborhoods we worked our way through as older kids and early teens are now risky places to walk or cycle because of demographic changes, and the decline of morality and general decency. I wouldn't let my grandkids ride there for fear of an amber alert being issued and my family being the people trapped in the horror.

It may well be the answer to the challenge is not found in less expensive bikes, more effective marketing, or parents taking up cycling with their kids, but in a return to the traditional moral and community values that once made it safe for a kid to leave sight of the house and his parent's watchful eye.
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Old 06-09-19, 09:44 AM
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When I was in high school in the '60s, not one kid road a bike to school. It was that "uncool."

Now HS mountain bike racing is has the most participants of any sport in the local league, and my alma mater is the NorCal MTB champion.
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Old 06-09-19, 10:03 AM
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Why waste time biking when there's so much fun stuff to do on your iPhone?
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Old 06-09-19, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Why waste time biking when there's so much fun stuff to do on your iPhone?
Do both!!! It's why Zwift is so popular, right?
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Old 06-09-19, 01:47 PM
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I can believe this for the following reason:

Almost all of the bike riding I did as a kid was completely "unscripted" by my parents. It is what we did to entertain ourselves. Whether it was building jumps of questionable integrity or just riding around the neighborhood, we were just doing oru own thing.

When I look at most parents I know today, their kids' free time is almost completely scheduled, planned and scripted. Little to no "free" time.

So unless there is some organized biking class for them to be signed up for, they often just don't have any time for it. I don't think the issue is that kids are less active, it is that their activities are highly scheduled.
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Old 06-09-19, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BookFinder View Post
Air-conditioning has spoiled a lot of kids. They just don't want to get out side and get hot and dirty during the summer, or cold and wet in the winter.
I grew up with AC since I was born in 1965, yet most kids in my time as a youth went outside and played ball, rode bikes, rode skateboards, etc. Including myself.

Same for all the people I knew through the 80s and 90s.

I say the current level of video gaming, internet TV binge watching, smart phones, and personal devices have stopped the average kid from playing outside. Kids today can interact with all their friends without ever going outside.
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Old 06-09-19, 05:10 PM
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Many Kids and Parents can’t afford the prices of quality bicycles. It’s getting out of hand.

Big box stores are the savior of the bicycle industry.
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