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Poll: Ideas on how to make cycling popular in the US?(33 posts)

Poll: Ideas on how to make cycling popular in the US?853
Jan 14, 2004 11:03 AM
I have two:

1. Velodrome racing on the Vegas Strip!
A huge velodrome w/ stadium seating!
Lots of gambling - Keirin racing, 6 day racing, and match sprints. Were cyclist would actually be able to win big money on an almost everyday basis and give the audience something exciting to watch and gamble on. I think it would catch on and start showing up everywhere - like horse racing.

2. Start up teams at the High School level, w/ the opportunity to get scolarships to join a college team.
Just like in any other popular american sport.

These are just a few that I've had, any other cool ideas?
Somehow convince Joe public that exercise combinedDave Hickey
Jan 14, 2004 11:36 AM
with a healthy diet is the BEST way to lose/maintain weight. Fad diets don't work long term. As the population get's older, running is too painful on the joints so they turn to cycling.

Of course if that doesn't work, pay Paris Hilton or some other star to start riding a bike...
one word: cheerleaders! (nm)gregg
Jan 14, 2004 11:38 AM
podium girls!!! - nmbenja15
Jan 14, 2004 8:54 PM
I was kinda thinkin' XFL style cheerleaders! (nm)gregg
Jan 15, 2004 8:39 AM
protect young kids from nintentendo/gamecube/xbox,/ps2 etc. - nmmdehner
Jan 14, 2004 11:39 AM
re: Poll: Ideas on how to make cycling popular in the US?Bruno S
Jan 14, 2004 11:42 AM
For the next 5 years have all mayor networks cover the pro races in primetime.
Do you mean the "Sport of Cycling" or "Cycling"Scot_Gore
Jan 14, 2004 11:59 AM
Not sure, so I throw out an answer for both.

1) Sport of Cycling
The retired pro sport cyclist Lance Armstrong spends his time energy and resources building the infastructure for a Tour of America stage race. A multi day race that moves around the country holding stages in different spectacular venues in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Monday night PBL (Pro Bike League). Lance is more interesting to the Joe Public than Paris Hilton over the long haul.

2) Cycling
Build non-motorized transportation infastructure that allows people to travel between desiried locations and not mix freely with motorized transport. I think people would use a bike as transportation for many things if they didn't have to mix with cars to do it.

My thoughts
Scot
tax credits for bike commuters & the employers who support themcmgauch
Jan 14, 2004 12:19 PM
You gotta appeal to the wallet.

Coupled of course, with roadway modifications to accommodate all of the HPVs(human-powered vehicles). It should be part of the alternate fuel agenda, to provide proper incentives for mfgs to develop HPVs.
Double the price of gasoline. Gas guzzler tax pays for paths.nmSpunout
Jan 14, 2004 12:21 PM
Double the price of gasoline. Gas guzzler tax pays for paths.nmUcannotBsirius
Jan 14, 2004 12:46 PM
Do that and you would still be paying less for petrol than here in the UK!!! Fuel prices here are extortionate (mainly due to taxes) but does it deter people from driving everywhere and using their cars innapropriately? Ummmm...no, 'fraid not.
A gallon of gas costs less than a gallon of drinking water.dzrider
Jan 14, 2004 1:36 PM
It seems a little silly to call it extortionate. I liked my life just fine when I lived car-less. It's nowhere near impossible.
Near impossible?HENRY K
Jan 14, 2004 3:10 PM
It's pretty hard when you are a Bricklayer/Stone Mason and you need to carry several hundred pounds of tools with you every day.
Been there...Andy M-S
Jan 15, 2004 8:47 AM
My experience (admittedly limited) when I was in the UK for a few months, was that people do, in fact, drive less than they do in the US.

There was a lot more walking, a lot more of taking trains, that sort of thing going on. I saw people routinely walking distances of a mile or two to get someplace...in the US, it's rare to see people willing to walk more than a quarter mile, and that's uusually only in a covered mall.

Granted, some of the places that I was hanging out were campuses or campus cities (Oxford and Cambridge), but I also noticed this in other places I visited.

I'm not sure all of the difference can be attributed to the price of fuel, though--there are some cultural and geographical-organizatonal differences that factor in.
Draft SUV drivers first!PT
Jan 14, 2004 12:25 PM
That's the slogan on a bumper sticker given to me this past Xmas. Clearly the only thing that moves the masses is monetary issues, so I concur with the person above who talked about tax breaks for cyclists and the employers who support them.
re: Poll: Ideas on how to make cycling popular in the US?PEDDLEFOOT
Jan 14, 2004 12:28 PM
Build wide shoulders/bike paths on ALL roads to make commuting and bike travel less dangerous and more accessible to everyone.Most people are understandabley frightened of riding a bike on the road.If people had a designated bike lane on a road I think they would be more likely to start riding.Also get police and law enforcement to become more aware of cyclists rights.
Bike racing and riding a bike to commute...Dwayne Barry
Jan 14, 2004 12:44 PM
will never acquire anywhere near the popularity here that it has in Europe because of how we distribute ourselves in the environment. In Europe people live in densely populated cities and towns (even small ones) with "rural" areas around them. This makes it both more practical to commute on a bike (because you probably live close to your work) and safe to ride between towns or to train because of low traffic on secondary roads.

In the US we live in urban sprawl, increasingly everywhere. This means high traffic volume not only on primary roads but secondary, etc. roads and long commutes to work, etc. Riding a bike is simply impractical for most people. Not to mention we don't have the cultural heritage of riding bikes here either for work or play (probably can ultimately be traced all the way back to the Model T).

If you want bike racing to be big it's got to be a party, so drinking and betting are definitely heading in the right direction.
Bike racing and riding a bike to commute...bbalka
Jan 14, 2004 4:14 PM
I would have to agree with Dwayne on the urban sprawl and add one more. The US is too fast moving. We work ourselves to death and are always running here and there. Unless we can change society the automobile will almost always get you somewhere faster without having to clean up when you get there.
One Word: TelevisionGregory Taylor
Jan 14, 2004 12:49 PM
A track/velodrome series on ESPN would be a start. You need something flashy, fast, and just flat out cool looking. Bill it at NASCAR-style racin'. Get the announcers to talk about how the riders try to draft and then squirt past on the last corner, just like Richard Petty at Talladega.

Interesting historical note: the number one spectator sport in the US during the 1890's was -- track racing. Before baseball, before football, there was track racing. Madison Square Garden started life as a velodrome (and hence the name "Madison" for the tag-team event).
Throw out, UnPlug your televisions....and get out and ride! nmSpunout
Jan 15, 2004 4:42 AM
Yes, Television is EVIL, but if you want to catch fish...Gregory Taylor
Jan 15, 2004 6:49 AM
...you have to go where the fish are.

Most kids and adults watch a lot of television. If you want to make cycling popular, then one way to do it is to show cycling on TV. They get drawn in, some of them catch the bug, and the TV hopefully fades as a major part of their lives...

Hey, all of you shop guys out there: was there a surge in bike sales when OLN was showing the Tour and the Giro?
Maybe like dog racing instead of horse racingbimini
Jan 14, 2004 12:52 PM
And to combine a few ideas here. Instead of using the bunny on the rail system they use at the dog tracks, use a podium girl or cheerleader on the rail. The horn honks, the gates go down and a bunch of cyclist chase the podium girl around the track while they are yelping and foaming at the mouth. The crowds could drink beer, bet on the races and watch the podium girls.

Maybe they could even make it more of a contact sport by offering primes for taking out another cyclist. Kind of a combination roller derby / dog racing kind of sport.

Drinking, gambling, sex and violence now thats the ticket to catch the attention of the American public. Could be as big as pro football.
Racing after podium girls-where do I sign up?-nm-tmotz
Jan 14, 2004 8:40 PM
GamblingFender
Jan 14, 2004 1:16 PM
Turn it into a gambling sport, and allow Indian Reservations to build velodromes where people could gamble on it. Throw in a couple of million in corporate dollars, executive suites, and valet parking, and cycling will once again become a main stream sport.

Another idea is to make a reality series based on a nationaly based team. Mix it up with some romance/drama between one of the riders and a podium girl, and you've got the whole country hooked.
Raise the price of gasoline to $10/gal. (nm)Chen2
Jan 14, 2004 1:26 PM
Raise the price of gasoline to $10/gal. -- or $20collectorvelo
Jan 15, 2004 4:25 AM
the higher the price of gasoline
the more commuters
the more commuters; the more popular cycling would be as a sport

number one sport in USA is NASCAR
tells you something
LEGALIZE GAMBLINGterzo rene
Jan 14, 2004 1:40 PM
I think the criminalization of gambling is really what killed track racing in the US. Keirin is popular in Japan largely because of the gambling, and for that matter who would give a crap about all the mediocre NFL games if it weren't for bets they have riding on the games?
One word: Ain'tgonnahappeninourlifetimes (nm)Crankist
Jan 14, 2004 1:55 PM
A new TV reality show--"Nudist Criteriums" (nm)NEIL
Jan 14, 2004 2:08 PM
Poll: Ideas on how to make cycling popular in the US?JohnnyCat
Jan 14, 2004 9:17 PM
Not gambling, not upping the price on Gas. While these are funny, not the answer.

If you motivate people to like something based on greed or by force people will never like it.

1. Convince Americans that huge upper bodies are dumb and the new cool is powerful lower bodies. The reason this is true is because everybody walks and the truth is you should lift with your legs if you do happen to lift heavy objects a lot. I often look at people with these huge upper bodies and think "idiots." The reason is they are carrying all this mass and aren't using it one bit, just an unneeded strain on the heart. They only have it because they think it looks cool. Well I think it looks dumb. What purpose does a huge upper body serve if you are a typical office worker: none. Shouldn't women have the big chests not men.hahaha I've always believed that feeling lighter is more empowering than heavier! The way to achieve this is through trim fit legs and a reasonable upper body. I would rather walk and have a spring in my step than clunk around with huge man boobs. What body would you rather have Lance/Jan or Hulk Hogan/Arnold. Which do you think represents more class?

2. ESPN for God's sake: Billiards and Bowling over Cycling!!! Unfreakinbeleavable!!! More televised cycling events explaining all the strategies. People not into cycling pretty much feel that the strongest person always wins and nothing else is involved. WRONG! There needs to be an explanation of aerodynamics, drafting, equipment, fatigue, bluffing, attacking, climbing, sprinting, descending, team participation... No other sport combines human effort, human skill, and machinery like this. The variables for improvement are infinite. People just do not think cycling is a complex sport. The best thing about professional cycling is that mostly everybody can do exactly what the pros do. Ride their bikes, ride the same courses, experience the same speeds. Compare that with other sports. You feel like there is a greater chance you could be a professional over these other sports.

3. I don't believe a lot of people have tried road biking. They think it must be similar to running. I was immediately hooked when I started riding. Went down my first big hill and forget about it I was an addict. They don't realize the fun and freedom. The ability to be outside feeling the air rushing at you, putting 100 miles behind you if you so choose, watching the scenery in an unobstructed way that you simply can't experience in a car. The sense of accomplishment you gain when you realize it was you that made yourself propel down the road at 25 miles per hour(with the help of wheels). You realize you are much stronger than you could have ever imagined. When you ride its like you are creating your own personal movie in front of yourself based on your efforts. There is always constant change: the road, the wind, the sun, the grade, the smell of the air. Knowing that a bad experience might get better with a few more turns of the crank. You are constantly leaving and arriving. The great motivator when biking is the speed. Part of your brain says it hurts and you should slow down while your other half is screaming even louder keep pushing because the faster you go the more you get to experience. Think about other forms of exercise (weight lifting). Always the same scene, the same place, the same pain. And after all this drudgery what do you have to show for except big man boobs. Price on bikes needs to be lowered! This is also a major problem why people don't try cycling. I bet if you knew the profit margins on the retail of bikes it would make you quite pissed.

I always say to people give road biking a try and watch a few events. You might be pleasantly surprised.
re: Poll: Ideas on how to make cycling popular in the US?Saddle_Sore
Jan 15, 2004 4:27 AM
An interesting thread!

There are a few ideas there with real merit, particularly:

1. make it a High School sport that could actually take you somewhere. This could be a valuable avenue for many to get them into higher education and get them a career.

2. legalize gambling on cycle race events and this would draw in some major dollars and help in raising its profile - people would want to see what all of the fuss was about.

3. tax breaks for cyclists and cycle-friendly companies is very laudable but the American love-affair with the motorcar is such that this would at best have only a limited impact. When you mention "Detroit" you don't automatically think of steel roadframes.

4. influence city planners to design / zone areas specifically for cyclists. You have so much land in the US it is ridiculous that you haven't done a pilot community where access is restricted to pedestrian / cycle modes of transport. It has already been done successfully in the Netherlands (you cannot move for bikes in Amsterdam!). Your schools need to be closer to homes, and your work areas need to be closer or integrated within residential areas.

5. get the health benefits across much more vigorously than is being done at present. I watched a programme on Channel 4 here in the UK called "The State of Texas" and was amazed at how much of the population in this state was clinically obese. Less of the burgers and more of the bikes would reverse this trend...

6. have lots of celebrity endorsement because this is a surefire way to get lots of copy-cat and fashions related to cycling started. Paris Hilton seems a bit lame (she's just a spoilt slapper anyway) so you'd need someone you could actually picture on a bike without an Armani saddle and Prada cycling shorts.

7. introduce really punitive fines for motorists involved in accidents with cyclists where it is proven that they (the motorist) is at fault. Triple the fine if the vehicle involved is an SUV because these gas-guzzling pieces of pig-iron on wheels do nothing more than pollute the planet for the rest of us, and force the driver to cycle to work for the next 3 years (mandatory - no right of appeal)... awareness of cyclists on roads will go right up

8. Tour de Americas would be fantastic. The distances involved and locations available could easily outstrip those of the TDF, and whilst it would not have the heritage of the TDF, as a spectacle it would be wonderful (hill climbing in the Rockies, street sprints through Vegas etc.)
No question...wider shoulders, bike lanes, safer streets(nm)SpecialTater
Jan 15, 2004 7:52 AM
Change the minimum age for driving...torquecal
Jan 15, 2004 11:37 AM
... to, say, 'bout 50.

Anticipated side effect; NASCAR top speeds decrease dramatically. ;-)