Well guess what? You're not alone! Sure, the media treats us like a fringe group--and yes, we receive about as much respect as sex offenders, or those idiots who refuse to vaccinate their children against polio. Nevertheless, it turns out lots of Americans do in fact ride bikes:
The U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Report, commissioned by PeopleForBikes, indicates that 34 percent of Americans age three or older rode a bike at least once in 2014. For comparison, the same study found that 40 percent of Americans ran or jogged outside last year.
Previous studies had pegged U.S. bicycling participation much lower. The 2014 National Sporting Goods Association data indicated a bicycling participation rate of only 12 percent.
This is good news...I guess. Sadly, "rode a bike at least once" probably includes people who like to get drunk, go to Walmart, and joyride Kents through the seasonal decorations section. Furthermore, while over 30% of Americans may have ridden a bike last year, this percentage is overshadowed by the 85% of Americans who are raging assholes. This is why 52% of us (that's the sober half) are deathly afraid of getting run over by our fellow Americans:
However, the study also found that 48 percent of U.S. adults do not have access to a bike at home, and 52 percent worry about being hit by a car while riding.
“A lot of Americans ride bikes, but unfortunately from our point of view, most or many only ride occasionally,” Blumenthal said. “Thirty percent rode five days or less, and a pretty big number rode only once in the last year.
Worst of all, fully 93% of Americans fall under a category called "Too obese to ride."
So really, none of this is good news at all, and it's why our rallying cry here in Canada's impacted anal sac is "Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai."
Well, at least until you can be the Hyundai:
I'm old enough to remember when this was supposed to be our future:
Which is why everybody used to scream about nuclear war:
Now though the concept of nuclear annihilation seems positively quaint, and it's quite clear that in a generation or two we'll all be reduced to a bunch of R2-D2s instead:
Every so often, a malfunctioning Apple car will hit a bunch of us in an iCrosswalk:
"No criminality suspected"--provided of course the driver has AppleCare.
So where do bikes fit into this electronic future? Probably nowhere. It's only a matter of time before our government hands off our crumbling infrastructure to the corporations in exchange for highway naming rights, and why would those corporations want to encourage people to ride bikes when they can sell us their rolling suppositories instead? Well, that is unless the car companies start making bikes:
Though even the cycling layperson knows that buying a bike from a car company is like ordering sushi in a diner.
It's too bad Americans love cars but hate trains and bikes, because trains and bikes actually work really well together. In fact, did you know that bike cars on trains make passengers safer?
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The idea is to disperse the energy created by impact away from the areas of passenger cars where people sit. To do so, cars are engineered with crush zones that collapse unoccupied areas, such as brake and electrical service closets, bicycle storage areas, vestibules and stairwells, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report on the technology. Cab cars at the front of trains also have a collapsible nose cone, which helps absorb impact.
Sadly, bicycle storage areas on trains are few and far between, and here in New York when riding the commuter trains with a bike you're supposed to put it in the handicapped seating area:
Presumably if someone in a wheelchair boards the train you're just supposed to fight it out.
But yeah, as I alluded to earlier, I'm getting old. I used to see the Cro-Mags, now I see the dermatologist. (Actually, I think my dermatologist was in the Cro-Mags.) Still, I find myself growing nostalgic for the days when I used to ride skateboards and BMX bikes. Fortunately, a reader named Kevin tells me I can now experience the thrill of both--simultaneously!--by riding a Bikeboard:
With the Bikeboard, you can execute a groin-tearing footplant:
As well as "catch" a "massive" amount of "air:"
All thanks to the "goofy tiller effect" of the reversed quill stem:
Best of all, the Bikeboard is easy on the hips, which is why a Bikeboard crew looks less like a bunch of hooligans and more like a physical therapy class at a retirement home:
See? This duder looks comfy:
And check out Gramps:
(How the hell is it so sunny in Seattle?)
He hasn't had this much fun since he used to thrash on a scooter he made from a crate:
Yep, this is what it looks like when someone puts a GoPro on a walker:
And check out this sick cyclocross-style remount:
OH MY GOD THEIR NOT WEARING HELLMENTS THEIR GOING TO DIE!!!
Speaking of technological advancements, if your bike is slightly too wide to fit inside--and you use a quill stem--you may be interested in the FlipCrown:
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Can't I just loosen my stem and turn the handlebars sideways without the FlipCrown?"
Though this would come in very handy on my Bikeboard.
I know what else you're thinking. You're thinking, "If storage space is at such a premium, instead of rotating your bars all the time, wouldn't it make sense to take advantage of the convenience and ease of a folding bike?" Well, not if you're this woman:
Though after many years of training you might one day attempt to challenge the world record:
See that? The secret to quick folding is to use both hands at once:
Just ask Mario Cipollini:
In fact, spending time with Cipollini is exactly like being a Brompton: in both cases you wind up collapsed in on yourself and utterly without dignity.