“Don’t follow trends, start trends.”
— Frank Capra, American film director (1897-1991)
It’s gratifying to be part of a trend. It’s even more gratifying to be part of a trend before the media realizes it’s a trend.
Consider this headline on a story by David Kroodsma, posted Nov. 4 on the Huffington Post website: “The Future of Travel: Bicycles.”
Kroodsma cites eight indicators of the trend toward bicycling for travel and recreation, as provided by Adventure Cycling Association in Missoula, Mont. I’ve been a member of Adventure Cycling Association and a touring cyclist for the past 15 years. So I guess I can call myself a trend-setter — riding a bike before riding a bike was cool.
In the interest of full disclosure, Kroodsma wrote that he is “very biased” on this topic.
“I spent two years traveling by bicycle, and I think bike travel is the best way to see a state, country, or continent,” he wrote. “It appears that an increasing number of people agree.”
He and Adventure Cycling Association cited these indicators of a dramatic increase in the popularity of cycling:
1. Major cycling events continue to grow.
2. Commercial tours surge.
3. The economy is noticing bike tourists.
4. Accommodations are being offered specifically for cyclists.
5. Mountain bike-related travel expands.
6. New bicycle-travel websites are everywhere.
7. The possibility of a U.S. bicycle route system.
8. States highlight bicycle travel. (For details on these indicators, see Kroodsma’s story.)
Kroodsma has bicycled across the United States, as have I. But he has done it twice. And he also has biked “across the entirety of Latin America.”
“Not only are landscapes more vivid without a windshield, but it is easier to meet people if you are exposed and approachable on a bike,” he wrote for Huffington Post. “Bicycle travel is ecological, healthy, and most importantly, fun.
“The increase in bicycle tourists does not surprise me. What would surprise me is if the popularity didn’t continue to grow.”
The Adventure Cycling Association website adds:
“Bicycle touring is growing. This past season, we enjoyed more than a 1,000 visiting cyclists at our Missoula, Montana, headquarters, saw a record number of cyclists on our guided tours, and, as always, celebrated our fabulous members who continued to support our work through their membership as well as generous donations. Bike travel is truly blooming.”
By the way, the fanciful image accompanying this post, “Car free,” is by Japanese artist Tatsuro Kiuchi. His brief online bio doesn’t indicate if he’s a cyclist. But his illustration “Car Free” certainly captures the musings of many cyclists as they navigate a world dominated by cars.