Thursday, February 5, 2009

BFROU, One Year Later

About a year ago I posted a rant on Freewheeling Spirit about how the bicycle industry was not really committed to building a pervasive bike culture here in the U.S., but instead was content to make their profits off high-end racing bikes and mountain bikes. This was my bikes for the rest of us (“BFROU”) rant, which you can read here or here.

The great thing about blogs is that you get immediate feedback. Just the other day, when I was complaining that DC has no DIY bike repair shops , commenters quickly responded: what about x place or y place? There was a similar reaction to the BFROU rant: What do you mean there are no bikes for the rest of us? What about Breezers? What about Electra? Duh, Freewheel, there are plenty of bike manufacturers who are building utility bikes.

So I looked into these companies and the models people were telling me about and did some posts about them. I soon found enough “commuter bikes” and “townie bikes” that I started a whole new blog, BFROU, to talk about them all. Actually, all I did, and still do, is put up a picture of the bike, list the specs, and invite people who know about the bike to comment.

BFROU might have died off after about 6 months were not for David, aka The Practical Cyclist . He offered to contribute, and he’s done a great job. Among other things, David brought his interest in cargo bikes to the blog – certainly an important bike to consider if you want to go car-free or car-lite.

Another reason that this blog has continued is your comments. BFROU gets about 200 hits a day, many of which come, interestingly enough, from people googling their own bikes. I was not previously aware of this phenomenon, but it has worked out well. The best information you can get about a particular bike is from someone who actually owns it and rides it.

So here we are a year later. Maybe I’m just stubborn, but I still believe that the bicycle industry could do more to promote a pervasive bike culture in the U.S. And I won’t rest until my capital city, Washington, D.C., ranks among the “World’s Cycling Capitals,” to steal a phrase from Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

This has been a fun project. Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting.


David said...

Right there with ya. I could have said "on your wheel," but I don't ride fast enough these days to pick up a draft. Besides, it's hard to chat in a paceline.


Bike Jax said...

I too am right along with you in your thoughts about the cycling industry. I also have done my share of rants on this very topic even going so far as calling Trek and their president out.

The biggest issue I find in our region is not that BFTHRU are not manufactured. It is that our local bike shops for some reason refuse to stock the ones that are. They seem content with the pushing ill-fitting hybrids and non-functional mountain bikes they do have in stock instead.

Hell, I live in a city of a million people with about 30 bike shops and not one of them carry the Breezer or Biria line. Ok, I'm done. I can feel my blood pressure rising.

Anonymous said...

Happy one year blog anniversary! I just stumbled on your blog, and couldn't agree more about the importance of building a bike culture. Here in New Orleans 40% of the population doesn't have cars and relies on bikes for everything, and yet there is little attention to making the area safe for bike riders. Very frustrating.

Freewheel said...

Thanks! Don't give up ... keep fighting the good fight...

Dottie said...

Great blog! Glad you kept it up. I have a habit of googling my own bikes, too :) I agree on bike companies - most of them are a shame.

Kilpatrick said...

Love the site, it's turning out to be a great source of where to find cool BFTROU, like the Nirve or the Linus. Both are straight up classy rides, and I am so glad this site exists to help me develop a real set set of bikes as options to buy. But I agree, as these bikes for the rest of us see street time, people will come, ask and buy more of them. thanks again