Re: [CR] transport vs. sports cycling


Example: Books:Ron Kitching

From: "kohl57@starpower.net" <kohl57@starpower.net>
To: jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net, samclingo@hotmail.com, pariscyclesuk@hotmail.com, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: Re: [CR] transport vs. sports cycling
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 10:15:50 -0400


Original Message: ----------------- From: jerrymoos jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 08:18:26 -0500 To: samclingo@hotmail.com, pariscyclesuk@hotmail.com, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org Subject: Re: [CR]Peter Kohler's remarks onAmericanbikebuilder'squalitybeingajoke

" So even if the working man could affort to purchase a car, the cost of fuel was a further barrier, and many continued to use bicycles as their primary transportation, which maintained a base of support for the cycling industry and sport cycling."

Excellent post.

The only thing I'd add is that in most countries where there was heavy transport use of bicycles, there was often a converse lack of cycle sport or even leisure cycling. The obvious examples are Third World: China, the Indian subcontinent, Africa. But this is skewed by other factors: lack of good roads, culture (women being excluded from cycling in so many countries), leisure time etc.

During the Second World War, France was SO dependent on cycles (there was practically no petrol or tyres for civilian use) that I suspect the average Frenchman by 1945 was thoroughly sick of cycling! Although some, including Steven Maasland, may refute my contention, I think it's fair to say that even in France and Italy there is/was a lack of leisure cycling of the sort we are used to the USA/UK. There is professional cycle sport and then basic transport. The essential middle crowd, amateur sports/leisure cycling, that created the mass markets for lightweight sports bikes, was just not there. In all my travels in Europe, I just don't see the average Frenchman or Italian out there on weekends for a bike ride like you do in the UK or North America.

Only in Great Britain did you find heavy transport use of cycling and an estimated 7 millions (c. 1950s) who said they regularly used bikes for sport and recreation. This reflects in production figures. Petrol prices, road taxes and the cost of new motorcars saw entire British families take to the road on lightweight tandems during the immediate post-war era and club riding exploded in popularity. This continued until the mid 1950s when there was a dramactic fall-off. But there were still far more folks riding for leisure and sport in the UK than in Europe. This is precisely why British lightweights from this period (c. 1946-1956) are so plentiful as opposed to Italian and French ones.

Peter Kohler Washington DC USA

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