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Whatever happened to the laid-back days of old?

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Whatever happened to the laid-back days of old?

Old 05-13-19, 07:29 AM
  #26  
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"that cutthroat, weight weenie, aero-everything world of today" is what percentage of the actual market for bicycles?

You're confusing marketing with reality--the margin per bike on the low end of the market is so low that spending a bunch on advertising and promotion doesn't make much sense, so advertising and publications whose primary job is to get you to look at the advertising are heavily skewed towards the high end of the market, which is probably a low single-digit percentage of the overall market.

Where I ride, the weight-weenie aero riders are a very small minority, and they tend to cluster. They apparently don't even see the other 98% or so of riders, and think they're the bike universe, judging by the OP and posts like it.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:30 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Maybe "laid back" cycling (i.e., riding in street clothes) will make a comeback some day.
It's alive and well in many cities. I ride in street clothes for my short commute and when I ride for general transportation around town. I wear cycling clothing only when I do my 18 mile round trip commute.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:36 AM
  #28  
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Ca. 1985 all the laid back people stopped buying Varsities and instead bought mountain bikes, and exited your field of view.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:44 AM
  #29  
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Times, people, attitudes and perceptions change. Everything has changed. The rapid pace of technology and the benefits it brings will change all of us no matter how resistant we are or try to be.

Back in the 60's when I got my first Schwinn Super Sport, about the only options were color and size. And you know, that was enough. Now, almost anyone that's worth their salt realizes that there are hundreds of options when buying almost anything. This is not a bad thing, it just raises the bar. I can remember my early days of backpacking. I was lugging around an aluminum framed canvas backpack that really had only 1 quality, it held my stuff. What I would have given to have a modern day backpack with load bearing waist belts, adjustable straps and the like.

I look back at all the rides I went on when I was in my early teens (late 60's). We would just jump on our bikes and go. Sometimes for a couple of hours and sometimes overnight. We never compared ourselves to anyone. We were too busy with our adventure. But now, for good or bad, I check the traffic and route on my phone. I bring along nutrition bars, hybridized water and try to make sure I'm at my riding peak. I ask myself if I should have lubed my chain before this ride. I wonder how good a new set of quality wheels might actually feel. But after playing all those games in my head, I just ride. It's really that simple.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:57 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Ca. 1985 all the laid back people stopped buying Varsities and instead bought mountain bikes, and exited your field of view.
I like this post. Well written.
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Old 05-13-19, 08:12 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The past is always seen through rose colored glasses . . . The good ol' days were never as good as we remember and the present isn't as bad as some people think. At a minimum, the present is as bad for you as you let it be.


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Old 05-13-19, 08:21 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by streetstomper View Post
Saw an auction for these magazines on eBay. It feels so stereotypically 1980s and even 1970s, when bicycling (and especially Bicycling magazine) wasn't all about performance and competition. How did we get to that cutthroat, weight weenie, aero-everything world of today? I look at these covers and can almost imagine myself cruising at a relaxed pace on back roads, enjoying stunning vistas of natural beauty.

Considered bidding on them since the price isn't bad, but I bought a couple of issues of Bicycle Rider back then and frankly was not all that impressed with it. Nice photography, I seem to remember, just like these covers, but the articles were short. Also seem to remember I was turned off because they didn't use standard terminology, like the reviews saying a bike had "forks" instead of a fork. Basically, seemed like the magazine was mostly style, not substance, and the staff was neither serious cyclists nor professional writers. That would explain why it didn't last as long as Bicycling, Bicycle Guide or Cyclist (US, not UK magazine). But even still, I miss the magazines of past decades, when the page layouts weren't so busy, busy, busy that I have a hard time telling which are the articles and which are ads.
totally reject your narrative.

There are tons of people who ride recreationally in plain clothes. There are tons of people who ride for transport out of choice. There are tons of people who are buying comfort hybrids to enjoy riding as a family and aero, carbon, etc arent at all on their minds. There are tons who tour in plain clothes and bring everything but the kitchen sink- so you know they arent concerned about weight, aero, or being cut-throat.
Entire genres such as mountain biking and gravel/adventure have large followings where the primary driving force isnt to be aero and light weight.

nope- i dont accept your interpretation of things.
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Old 05-13-19, 08:42 AM
  #33  
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Aren't you old enough and experienced enough to ride your own way?
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Old 05-13-19, 09:46 AM
  #34  
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those laid back days are still here, you just have to ride that way
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Old 05-13-19, 09:48 AM
  #35  
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80s - The Ronald Reagan “it’s all about ‘me’” generation started things downhill.
60s - ‘Think not about what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’ attitude.

When working together it’s always more laid back than when you are on your own, proving yourself to all you think are watching.

YMMV
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Old 05-13-19, 10:30 AM
  #36  
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1. You're cherry-picking the past. Racing was always the focus of both Bicycling Magazine and Velo News back in the day. Racing was, if anything, bigger in the early nineties than it is now. I remember going to crits with hundreds of spectators.
2. The last couple of years have seen a huge surge in the popularity of bike-packing, gravel, adventure riding... the less racy side of things. Steel frames, supple tires, handlebar bags, casual sunglasses, "underbiking", casual clothes, sandals-while-cycling... all very chic these days. In fact, I'd say the carbon wonder bike / full lycra days are in full wane at this point.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:46 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Ca. 1985 all the laid back people stopped buying Varsities and instead bought mountain bikes, and exited your field of view.
People who post stuff about ow everyone is wearing spandex and riding $10k bikes are either riding in some strange places or never looking up from their Strava screens to see who else is riding.

I probably had my slowest run ever on the Minuteman path last Saturday because of all the people riding with their kids--first decent weekend weather in a while. That's not a complaint, I love seeing that. Neither the kids nor their parents were "aero".
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Old 05-13-19, 10:47 AM
  #38  
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Let's not forget that to get to these laid back days of old somone in our family had to live through WWI, The Great Depression and WWII. And before that there was the ice age.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:49 AM
  #39  
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What was the perceived quality of those Schwinn bikes back in '68? Adjusting for inflation (using BLS' calculator) the most expensive bike on that spread (the varsity Sport 10 speed at $80 then) comes out at $585.78.

M.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:55 AM
  #40  
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To me, it almost seems like we're in a golden age of mellow cycling. Bike camping is now a thing, there seems to be more interest in randos, etc. Even the gravel racing fad is somewhat laid-back -- last gravel race that I did had beer at some of the aid stations. And they ALL have beer at the finish line.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:56 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
What was the perceived quality of those Schwinn bikes back in '68? Adjusting for inflation (using BLS' calculator) the most expensive bike on that spread (the varsity Sport 10 speed at $80 then) comes out at $585.78.

M.
A good reliable street bike that was nearly impossible to screw up, and heavier than just about any comparable bike. Among the non-racing types in those days, heaviness often denoted quality because it meant they were solidly built. Hard to believe now.

Schwinn was the brand you bought if you wanted it to last forever.
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Old 05-13-19, 01:45 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
What was the perceived quality of those Schwinn bikes back in '68? Adjusting for inflation (using BLS' calculator) the most expensive bike on that spread (the varsity Sport 10 speed at $80 then) comes out at $585.78.

M.
"Quality" of these Chicago Schwinns is tough to define.

On one hand, the Varsity is likely one of the most durable bikes ever made. The electro-forging techniques used in the frame are both an amazing advance in mass production techniques and an engineering milestone. The resulting frame is (almost literally) bombproof while being extremely easy to manufacture by the truckload. The electro-forging process was so capital-intensive that no brand has tried anything similar since. The components Schwinn selected for the varsity were similarly practical, functional and tough. The bike was far more durable and reliable than similar offerings from other department store brands. If you see a bike as a mode of transport, a 70's Schwinn Varsity is tough to beat. You still see lots of them in daily use today. Let's see where a modern carbon wonder bike is in 40 years.

On the other hand, the Schwinn Varsity weighed 50 lbs, was not particularly stiff, handled atrociously, didn't shift very well, didn't brake very well, all of the parts were proprietary and in weird sizes, it wasn't comfortable for long rides etc. By any "performance" standard, the Varsity isn't great. Compared to a Campagnolo-equiped European racing bike of similar vintage, the Varsity is a dinosaur.

Of course, competing with (rare at the time in the US) European racing bikes wasn't the Varsity's intent at all. That comparison is meaningless. For its intended market: a durable bike you could use to get around, never maintain and leave out in the rain without issue, it was just about perfect.
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Old 05-13-19, 01:47 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
To me, it almost seems like we're in a golden age of mellow cycling. Bike camping is now a thing, there seems to be more interest in randos, etc. Even the gravel racing fad is somewhat laid-back -- last gravel race that I did had beer at some of the aid stations. And they ALL have beer at the finish line.
My thought exactly. Road racing numbers are down. Gravel and cross are way up. Totally different vibe. Much mellower.
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Old 05-13-19, 02:11 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
My thought exactly. Road racing numbers are down. Gravel and cross are way up. Totally different vibe. Much mellower.
Yep. Gravel got me back into racing after a ten-year hiatus. Road racing was just too serious, even in the Cat 4 and 5 events. Although gravel does have some of that: in a race last year, I saw a rider toss his water bottle into the ditch a couple miles from the finish. I guess he thought that losing those two ounces might make the difference between 21st place and 22nd place. (Out of 81, if I recall correctly.)
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Old 05-13-19, 02:47 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
I look back at all the rides I went on when I was in my early teens (late 60's). We would just jump on our bikes and go. Sometimes for a couple of hours and sometimes overnight. We never compared ourselves to anyone. We were too busy with our adventure. But now, for good or bad, I check the traffic and route on my phone. I bring along nutrition bars, hybridized water and try to make sure I'm at my riding peak. I ask myself if I should have lubed my chain before this ride. I wonder how good a new set of quality wheels might actually feel. But after playing all those games in my head, I just ride. It's really that simple.
You're a little older than me, but we had similar attitudes towards bicycling then. I look at how much more involved things are now compared to then and wonder how much is due to my being more aware as an adult and how much is due to selective remembrance. I fondly remember some of those adventures when advance planning and nutrition involved having enough money in my pocket to buy an ice cream cone at the A&W Rootbeer stand at the end of the ride, and how now I think about tire pressure, chain wear, headwinds, cars, if my batteries are charged enough for the round trip and snacks stored with all the stuff stored in my rack trunk. It's still fun, but sure not as fun as it was when I was in second grade.
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Old 05-13-19, 03:24 PM
  #46  
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The simple answer is nostalgia. Period. And nostalgia is never an accurate account of how things actually were, but simply how you want to remember them. Bicycles of all kinds are still around, people still ride them. Hell, people even still commute on them. So in the most basic description, not much has actually changed in 100 years.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:45 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I dunno, I guess the 80's happened. People became go-getters, and dressing like the Brady Bunch dad while out on your bike was no longer enough, you had to look like Bernard friggin' Hinault.








The Schwinn catalogs document the era well. Maybe "laid back" cycling (i.e., riding in street clothes) will make a comeback some day.
This is how the world should look. Changuards, fenders, decent geometry. The absolute worst thing that befell cycling was becoming a sport.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:52 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by PaulH View Post
This is how the world should look. Changuards, fenders, decent geometry. The absolute worst thing that befell cycling was becoming a sport.
Cycling became a sport the moment the second bicycle was created.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:53 PM
  #49  
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James Bond in the latest reincarnation is now a ****sexual so things are chaning bruh.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I don't know.

I don't see a simpler, more laid back time when I look at most of those photos. I see heavy, incorrectly set up bikes, uncomfortable clothing and racism/sexism/ageism.

Concussions waiting to happen without helmets. I would not be smiling in sweaty cotton shorts. Almost all the bikes look like the saddles are too low.

The photos in the first post show one token older guy and one token female, riding a bike in a dress. The rest are young white guys who look like they may have just graduated from the Hitler youth. I'm sure there wasn't a single black guy, Asian or Latino in America in the 60's.

It's all very disturbing, actually.

Fast forward to 2019. Seems pretty chill.

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Old 05-13-19, 06:57 PM
  #50  
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Bicycle Times was a really chill publication. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be what people want to buy.
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