Monday, 19 November 2007

Bikes for non-cyclists

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My neighbor spent most of his working life as a long-distance truck driver. In the years we've lived across from him, we rarely saw him outside, except when he (maddeningly) parked his cab in front of our house on his weeks off. Then he retired, and a few weeks later, he bought a bike. Now I see him out on his bike every day, in every corner of town. He wasn't what a cyclist before, but he's proof that you don't have to be one to enjoy spending time on a bike.

Japanese bike manufacturer Shimano did some research to find out why non-cyclists don't like bikes. They found that, among other things, shifting gears while riding made some people nervous, as did intimidating bike shops. In an effort to turn these non-riders on to the sport of cycling, Shimano developed Coasting. Coasting is a line of low-maintenance bikes with auto-shifting gears and durable tires that urges people who have never rode bikes before to climb aboard and "lollygag" around town. No stress, no pressure, just try life on two wheels for a while.

These bikes remind me of souped-up versions of my grandmother's old bike. If they can get a whole new generation of folks out of their homes and cars and pedaling around, well then I say "Bravo."
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