Trends in Bicycle Design and Use: Associated Press

Passing by

In the minds of many people there are just two categories of bicycles; road and mountain. A few know of a third category, the hybrids. And that’s about it.

The problem is that each of these categories present a barrier to visualizing bicycles in everyday use, and in fact they don’t even address that bicycles can be and are used daily as a method of transportation.
For example:
Mountain bikes are seen as weekend use, off-road only, daredevil tools.
And road bikes need to be accompanied by a matching spandex outfit, solid abs and massive quads.
Fortunately, neither of these beliefs are true as there are dozens of styles of bicycles and any one of them could help you get where you’re going, deliver your groceries and take the family to school in the morning.
The Associated Press helps explain the newer trends in bicycle design and their use:
Where bikes are heading: a look at the trends
By MEGAN K. SCOTT (AP) – Oct 6, 2009

Bicycle technology doesn’t stand still.

Bike makers keep tinkering to give us a smoother, more convenient, more stylish ride: bikes long enough to carry another passenger and groceries. Bikes with batteries so you don’t have to break a sweat. Aerodynamic bikes with little wind resistance.

“In the bike world, there have always been a bunch of trends going on at once,” said Loren Mooney, editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine. “It’s because a bike is such a multipurpose tool. It’s a toy. It’s a piece of exercise equipment. It’s a mode of transportation. And so really it’s very common to have many trends at once.”

Some bike trends on the horizon:

STYLISH UTILITY BIKE: The biggest trend is casual city riding, said Mooney, “where the person doesn’t look like a spandex-clad cyclist, but rather like a normal person. And his or her bike looks like a cool, often retro object of design and casual fun — maybe it even has a basket.”

FITNESS BIKES: An evolution from the hybrid bike — a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, which was “too cumbersome for true fitness riding,” said Mooney. (Fitness bikes are sometimes referred to as flat-bar road bikes.)

PEDAL-ASSIST ELECTRIC BIKES: A bike with a boost. Pedal-assist bikes combine battery power with pedaling so you can ride farther and faster without getting as tired.

It’s an ideal bike for someone who rides for transportation, as opposed to fitness, and when the distance is far, the terrain difficult or the rider short on endurance.

ECO DESIGN BIKES: Bike manufacturers are coming out with eco-friendly bikes. For example, Trek’s Belleville and Atwood models have grips on the handlebars, a saddle and a steel frame that all can be recycled. The bikes also come with front and rear lights that are generated by pedaling, not batteries, said Trek spokesman Sam Foos.

FOLDING BIKES: These have been around for years but the technology is getting better. Traditional folding bikes, which have small wheels, were better for folding than riding, said David Montague, owner of Montague Bicycles in Cambridge, Mass. The company introduced SwissBike TX earlier this year, a full-size bike that folds in half.

XTRACYCLE: a kit that makes a bike 15 inches longer so you can carry a passenger, groceries, books. Some people use it to carry camping gear, said Nate Byerley, president of Xtracycle, in Oakland, Calif. He said he knows a home inspector who uses his Xtracycle to carry equipment including a 10-foot ladder.


Does your bike fit in to any of these categories? Share your ride in the BikingToronto Forum.