- Sprocket-Man-Bike-Comic (PDF)
Right now the prospect of infinite miles of Protected Bicycle Lanes is making some Urban Cyclists giddy. But I am old enough to remember when tennis was so popular that just about every municipality decided to install courts. Every adult over the age of 20 years was playing tennis and parents actively encourage their children to take up the sport to follow Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors into the record books. Before that every young kid in the inner city wanted to play baseball and later basketball.
These days African-Americans joining the ranks of MLB are so few that programs are being created to try and renew an interest in the sport. There was a time when the Social Engineers that are now busy building bike lanes just knew that building high-rise projects would solve all the crime problems and clean up the row housing that was falling apart. Now of course we are nearing the end of a stretch where showcase projects like Cabrini-Green have been torn down because we now know that concentrating poor people in a single area has just the opposite effect than that intended.
Bicycles are a similar sort of ebb and flow situation. Just a scant 20 years ago I was certain that the trajectory of the sales of recumbent bicycles would eclipse that of cruisers. But time has shown that despite the comfort of the recumbent not many people have moved to them. In fact what surprises me even more is that the lowly recumbent trike is the king of that market segment. When they were first introduced you could hardly find anyone that wanted one. Now they are hard to keep in stock.
Bicycling and bicycle lanes are not necessarily bound for uncharted growth. What will dictate the future is just how wedded we are to slogging through intense heat and bitter cold and drenching rain or howling winds to complete a years worth of commuting all to save the planet. People have short memories. Just a scant 20 years ago everyone was recycling soda bottles. Today that is long since passé. That is the nature of the world. Things come and go.
Take a look at the comic link is provided above. This was state-of-the-art in PDAs just a decade ago. Today some of the concepts presented here are no longer in vogue. We will have to wait a few years to find out how helmets actually fare in the minds of the general public. My money is on a car-like vehicle that allows transport in relative comfort and coverage but relies on some sort of quasi-renewable fuel source. What that will be we will have to wait and see.