Friday, February 1, 2008

WANTED: Bikes For The Rest Of Us

Sometimes I wish Greg Lemond never won the Tour de France in 1986.

At the time, in the excitement surrounding the first American win at Le Tour, there was talk of a “renewed interest” in bicycling. As it turns out, there was a renewed interest in the sport of cycling, but not in building a real, pervasive bike culture here in the United States.

In fact, bike shops across the country began putting aside their single speeds, 3-speeds and cruisers to make room for expensive, lightweight, “high-end” racing bikes. In other words, bike shops lost interest in selling regular bikes to regular people.

We need a bicycle industry that pays attention to people who bike as a means of basic transportation, instead of focusing solely on roadies and mountain bikers.

We need bikes that you can hop onto at any moment without putting on spandex or special cleats.

We need bikes with wider tires and more comfortable saddles. (The kind that don't exert pressure where you’re most sensitive, increasing the likelihood of erectile dysfunction among male riders).

We need bikes that can carry stuff.

We need bikes that are fun to ride.

We need bikes with function and style.

We need more bikes like this Velorbis (via cycleliciousness):

My hope is that higher gas prices will not only change the way Americans think about bicycles but also the way the bicycle industry thinks as well, so that we can finally have bike shops selling bicycles designed for regular folks who just want to ride from point A to point B and aren’t interested in paying a fortune.

Or winning the Tour de France.

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Dr. Leslie Brown said...


Great blog you have here.... I'll check in now and then. I've placed a link to it from my website.

John B. said...

I want to second Dr. Brown's comment. I found your site yesterday and I'm back for another visit.

On my own cycling blog, I like to think I'm an advocate for the same principles you espouse here--it's nice to find a kindred soul out there.

Thanks. I'll be linking to you as well.

Renato said...

Hi, I can't find your e-mail so I'll use this space to ask you something simple: could you update my blog url? I've moved from wordpress to my own domain:



Freewheel said...

Dr. Brown, John B., and Renato: Thanks for stopping by! I've added links to your blogs.

Renato said...

Thanks a lot!


Kristi Benedict said...

Hi Freewheel, I couldn't find an email either, so I'm posting this as a comment:

We've listed your blog on our links page at:

Would you mind listing "" on your blog list? Thanks, and feel free to send any interesting links or posts to "" and we'll post it if we can.

Happy Trails,

339 MLK Jr. Dr.
Greensboro, NC 27406
509-694-3300 fax

ethan said...

LOVING this blog!

Peter said...

Hey friends at BFROU:

Thanks for producing a truly useful blog. Lots of effort and I'm grateful.

Recently, I ran across a bike line called Cadillac.

Any thoughts on the quality of these bikes?

Zach said...

I got attracted to this blog searching for city bikes.

Please help my effort to make City Bike a Wikipedia page. Now it links to European City Bike, but readers and contributors to this blog know there's more to city bikes than Europe.

City Bike.

Tim K said...

Sheesh! How on earth have I missed you for more than a year? I've just spent an hour of the "man's" time catching up here and added you guys to our blogroll at Car Free Days. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...


Did you already have a look at the blog of the World Carfree Network ( It is a new space to share information and discuss issues relevant to eliminating car dependency, exploring alternatives and to celebrate carfree living. We hope to provide a rich and diverse content and that you will enjoy following it.

Would you like to consider a link exchange between your blog and our to facilitate the exchange of information and the navigation of people supporting the carfree movement from one blog to another. (We may have already add your link)

We also invite you to blog with us if you are interested - please send your letters, articles, news, pictures and videos to

Greetings from Prague! All the best,


Tom said...

Hey, maybe you could post a link to the Torker Graduate on Urban Velo today.
Also, do you have a "contact us" form so readers like me can suggest bikes for your post?

Freewheel said...

Tom, suggestions are always welcome. Email me at

Blanaid said...

Great blog - We're trying to make the exact same point here on the other side of the pond...

Irish Cycle Chic

Beginner Cycling said...

After not riding a bike for 20 years I got started again this past summer. Now, I can't ride enough or read enough about bikes! I really enjoy your blog, and have added it to my blogroll.

Best regards,

Michael said...

My message is very similar on my blog,

I’m proposing that riding a sit-up on your normal clothes, sends a very different message to that of the Lycra look. It flies a different flag,namely, “Come ride with me”

My blog often delivers via film, shorts, which I make as elegant as possible. Bike it or Not, for example is about Gill who rides different bikes for different hikes.

This is my attempt to reach out to the Lycra crowd and show them that they can “cross bike,” as it were.

Also take a look at, Councillor on a Bike. It features a professional local Pollie, Jackie Fristacky on her sit-up E bike.

The E bike motor, as you'll find on my blog, I see as the perfect addition to the sit-up style, in that it compensates for the extra weight, greater wind resistance, and the need to arrive sweat-less and un-puffed at meetings, etc.

I'm going to link to your blog to mine.

Cheers, Mike rubbo

Grant Marsh said...

Hi guys,

I've been reading this blog for a while and i like it!
Question: Have any of you more information about this new brand which is currently sold in UK? This is the link:
I like those bikes, could any of You Comment about the price/quality of parts ratio, i would be grateful.

With Regards

Tom said...

@Grant Marsh, the bike on your link looks exactly like this series that Nirve is selling in the US. I just found them this week and I'm planning to do a write-up shortly.

The shimano rear internally-geared hub and Shimano front dynamo are consider to be of good quality for the bike's price range. The lugged steel frame is pretty unique.

Grant Marsh said...

Thanks for the comment, Tom!

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Jesse said...

Paul Goodman Bike Contest

Hi Bike For The Rest of Us,

My name is Jesse Florendo and I work with a documentary called Paul Goodman Changed My Life. We’re sponsoring a contest to encourage people to reduce global warming and improve transportation options in their own communities. Winners in the US and Europe will receive new bicycles from Breezer Bikes and Biomega, respectively. The contest is co-sponsored by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, the World Carfree Network, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and Dissent Magazine.

We’d love to get the word about this contest to Bikes For The Rest of Us’s readers. This is a really cool opportunity that we think they’d be excited about. There’s some more info about the contest below, or you can check out The contest launches tomorrow and runs through October, so if you’re interested in posting about it, today or tomorrow would be great. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the contest, the film, or Paul Goodman.

Jesse Florendo
JSL Films

To honor 20th century philosopher and social theorist Paul Goodman’s legacy, JSL Films, producer of the documentary Paul Goodman Changed My Life, is holding a contest to help encourage transportation alternatives.

Paul Goodman, a writer, a radical, and a renaissance man, was the co-author of “Banning Cars from Manhattan,” a 1961 proposal to improve New York’s streets by eliminating private auto traffic. Nearly half a century later, his ideas are now heralded as being before their time, with limiting traffic in city centers becoming more and more common.

Paul Goodman Changed My Life is honoring Goodman’s legacy by inviting people to propose change in their own communities. Anyone who submits five proposals to their local government (mayor, city council, etc.) can enter a drawing to win a new bicycle. One winner in the United States will win a bike courtesy of Breezer Bikes, and one winner in Europe will win a bike courtesy of Biomega.

Harry said...

Dear Webmaster,

I came across your blog recently. I wanted to ask if you would please consider placing a link to my website called  

It is a resource for anything and everything bicycling, cycling and trail riding.

If you think it would be of use to your visitors, would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. We are happy to offer you a 10% discount to our Biking Store if you do so.

Here is the HTML link you could add: - the complete biking resource.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Harry Roger

Mr.S. said...

I have been impressed with the 2011 Torker bikes. Take a look at the Interurban, Cargo and T2.

Tom said...

@Mr S. -
I've been commuting and errand-running on a Torker Cargo T for the last year. Look for a new blog entry about it this month!

Creer une societe a Hong Kong said...

I'll be visiting your site again to get some information. Thank you!

richelieu said...

When will we see the return of steel?
Ninety per cent of bikes are alloy-framed hideous looking and uncomfortable. Does modern have to mean ugly and prone to cracking? Is durable and reliable old-fashioned? Light-wight steels, even mid-range chromoly now is expensive and reserved for a niche market. But there are plenty of good quality second-hand machines out there even twenty years old or more which are still in good condition and are far better quality then some of the cheaper bikes available today. Many are excellent for converting to a sit-up style bike, with quill stems and shifters which don't require an entire change of handlebars and brakes. Take, for example, one of the 1980s era roadbikes with alloy rims and Japanese chromo frames. At a pinch, the handlebars can be rotated upwards to give a more upright position or some Dutch style bars and a longer stem can be fitted, along with mountainbike brake levers. The gears are usually located, either on the downtube, or better still, on the stem, so the conversion need not be expensive. Such a bike can be had for around $250 and parts for the conversion around another hundred, maybe. You will then have a very affordable, durable and fairly lightweight transport bike. A partial chainguard to keep your trousers out of the chainrings can also be fitted by a bike shop. If you're lucky, you can also pick up a an old three-speed in good working order, but you'll have to look. The Raleigh Sports is a good choice, but may need wheels replaced as caliper brakes and steel wheels aren't a good combination, especially in the wet. But these are durable bikes, and stylish too.