09 June, 2008

Photos from Le Cirque du Cyclisme

Despite oppressive Virginia heat and humidity, Le Cirque du Cyclisme was well attended and a lot of fun. I took a few photos, which are posted here. And here a few of my impressions:

There was a lot of talk about high-end city bikes, not only among average riders, but among frame builders and collectors. Obviously this is a type of bike that people are becoming more and more interested in. Of course, this is not a new trend, but it sure seems to be picking up speed.

Some very knowledgable insiders who have been in the bike industry for decades are guardedly optimistic that we may soon see a new bike boom like that in the 1970s.

I was amazed at how few people seemed to be discussing racing bikes. Or perhaps I'm just not in with the right crowd?

The lower photo is of Johnny Coast and Annette.


bikeville said...

it was great to see you guys and your line of products. Was a wee bit hot but we all got through it to see some awesome bikes and parts.

Schorsch said...

What's the nice leather bag on your Velo Orange bike? Is that a top-secret prototype?

lee.watkins said...

"There was a lot of talk about high-end city bikes" ... "was amazed at how few people seemed to be discussing racing bikes. "

Actually, I'm not suprised that this is the trend, although I expect the transition to be directly proportional to gas prices. People are starting to buy bikes as an alternative to driving - and these people are buying with a different set of criteria than athletes and enthusiasts. They want someting that is comfortable, reliable, and practical for daily errands. Average people are also going to spend more on something they use seriously every day, than they would on something they play with a few times a year.

Interest in cycling and transit will go up directly with gas prices, but transit lines are already pretty maxed out and under-funded in the US, and changes will be slow. Cycling and walking are pretty much the only channel of escape. What holds the US back from more cycling, besides sprawl, is both the sorry state of bike infrastructure, and the recreational nature of the bikes people own. In the short run, I'd expect frame builders will be a lot more responsive, but eventually collective forces will grow to where local goverments, and larger commercial bike distributors will also need to respond. As prices continue to rise, many will be forced to move closer to the city and take up biking because it will require far less time, money and political backbone than the alternative - massive investment in rail transit. A high-speed Copenhagen-style transition for urban areas would be much easier to implement than some massive light-rail and BRT system, but of course in the end we will need all of the above.

I don't think this is going to kill the recreational market. If anything, intruducing more cyclists will keep that market strong. However, people who get on bikes for the first time in decades because of the price of gas, can not be lumped in with the crowd who biked by choice when gas was cheap. These crowds just have different priorities and complaints. They want to haul groceries and run errands, and feel safe. They don't want sore back and bottoms, or confusing, unreliable products.

I woldn't be surprised if the big-box stores started to market those chinese e-bikes, and gas-assist cargo-bikes if things continue on this path. The 250cc motorbike catagory could really take off pretty soon as well.

Anonymous said...

That white and red Cinelli is gorgeous. Love the water bottle and the shifter brazed on the handlebar!

Anonymous said...

I see a fair number of single speed minimal city bikes in the sf bay area. I find it ironic that such simple, light bikes require such heavy locks. Woiuldn't a demontable frame with locking frame links be better?

Seth said...

Thanks for the photos from le Cirque du Cyclisme. I really liked the Motobecane's front rack. Was it front/back symmetrical?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see both kinds of bike nerds there--the younger guys with full sleeves and dreads and the portly old guys with the high-rise khaki shorts.
Also, I hope the photos of that Cinelli bar with the integrated shifter and brake levers will yield results in the VO Candyland of bike accoutrements.
M burdge

Cottered Crank said...


Perfect! Thanks M.

Steve said...

Seth said:
I really liked the Motobecane's front rack. Was it front/back symmetrical?

If you mean Peter Weigle's 1950s Motobecane, he told me that was a rear rack he'd fixed up and put up front.

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling over that Cinelli. Is it for sale?

Michael S said...

It was nice to meet Johnny, since I don't know if I would otherwise.

Mike C said...

tandem Moulton... ho-lee MIG thatsalotta joints!

I'm sitting ~3 feet from my AM2 parked behind my desk here at work and I can't even count all the brazed(?) joints that went into mine - looking at the tandem makes my head spin!

Anonymous said...

On an only partially related matter: I enjoyed the feature on Johnny Coast that appears in the current issue of COG magazine (#3). I thought that I would mention it because it gives a sort-of behind-the-scenes look at the builder of VO bikes that other readers of this Blog might find interesting.