The Bike Boom of the 70s
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  1. #1
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    The Bike Boom of the 70s

    An interesting read regarding the bike boom of the early 1970s...

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlton.../#52cbffdf41cf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    An interesting read regarding the bike boom of the early 1970s...

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlton.../#52cbffdf41cf
    I dont remember this. OK, I was maybe 10 at the time, but I dont remember a bike craze.

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    I was in college then. I didn't know bikes were a craze. Bikes were just the most logical way to get around the large university campus and around much of Seattle. My "English sports car" was a Raleigh Grand Prix, sorta' lower end bike. 27" steel rim wheels, center pull brakes, Simplex derailers, cottered crank. And fenders, cuz, well, Seattle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I dont remember this. OK, I was maybe 10 at the time, but I dont remember a bike craze.
    Me neither. Waiting lists to buy a Schwinn???
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  5. #5
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    bought my first real bike in 1975...nice lugged steel Motobecane.

    knew a few folks who rode regularly, but don't recall people in far west TX being in a cycling frenzy....
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I dont remember this. OK, I was maybe 10 at the time, but I dont remember a bike craze.
    I'm about the same age and I don't remember a bike craze either (in NH). Not in the way the article describes it anyway.
    Pretty much all kids had a bike and used it a lot (I was under the impression that was nothing new) but I don't remember there being anyone who could drive choosing a bike instead or seeing any adults cycling around.

    If you saw an older person on a bike the assumption was they got pinched for DWI and couldn't drive.

  7. #7
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    Here's another article referencing the book the Forbes article sites:

    https://www.curbed.com/2017/6/28/158...sign-bike-boom
    Given his penchant for nicknames, and his aversion to reading, I've decided to shorten Donald J. Trump to it's essence: Dump*

    I was "social distancing" before it was cool.

  8. #8
    hfc
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    Bike Boom era is pretty common knowledge amongst folks who are interested in older bikes. Hi Ten steel, shoddy construction, low end parts. Not to say you can’t find bikes like this from just about any era, but there are a lot more of ‘em from the bike boom.

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    The bicycle boom of the 70s was followed by the bicycle bust of the 80s and beyond. The advent of the personal computer, the internet and video games kept kids inside. And mandatory helmet laws gave the impression that riding a bicycle was more dangerous than it really was, and the baby boomer helicopter parents went overboard trying to protect their precious progeny.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfc View Post
    Bike Boom era is pretty common knowledge amongst folks who are interested in older bikes. Hi Ten steel, shoddy construction, low end parts. Not to say you can’t find bikes like this from just about any era, but there are a lot more of ‘em from the bike boom.
    My username came from a boom-era bike. First road bike that I ever owned was a 70's Fuji Sports 10. Wouldn't say it was crappy; certainly it was better than anything I could find at Walmart. It was definitely "good enough." Good enough for a few miles round trip to work, good enough for riding around campus, and good enough to warrant the small investment in modern parts ($100 or so).
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  11. #11
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    In the 70's, nine out of 10 bikes sold were either Schwinn Varsity's, or something from Sears. After a year's occasional use, it sat on the garage floor for a year, and then was hung up on a hook for the next three years before being sold on a garage sale.
    Lots of bikes were sold....Not so many were used more than occasionally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY View Post
    In the 70's, nine out of 10 bikes sold were either Schwinn Varsity's, or something from Sears. After a year's occasional use, it sat on the garage floor for a year, and then was hung up on a hook for the next three years before being sold on a garage sale.
    Lots of bikes were sold....Not so many were used more than occasionally.
    I had a red Schwinn Varsity when I was in my early teens. This was a real bike, not one of those sissy 16lb toys we have today. 40lbs of indestructible metal. Steel frames, rims, bars and stem. Not chromaly either - pure steel. I rode it quite a bit until I got my driver's license at 16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hfc View Post
    Hi Ten steel, shoddy construction, low end parts. Not to say you can’t find bikes like this from just about any era, but there are a lot more of ‘em from the bike boom.
    The "10 speed" I got in high school was one of those and is what put me off cycling for 20 years.
    I loved riding a hybrid type bike back then. Then when I got the 10 speed I used it because I needed transportation but it was no fun at all. As soon as I got a car I was done with that.

    Of course I didn't know squat about bike fit, very rough ride, and despite being a high level hockey player in great shape I could barely make it up the steep hills near my house with the gearing. That thing just sucked. Wish I know then what I know now. I wouldn't have had a 20 year brake between rides.

  14. #14
    MAK
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    I remeber those days like it was yesterday, brothers and I grew up in NYC and bikes were the easiest way to get around.. Our 1st "real" bike was a Peugeot UO-8 cost($175) got them in either 67 or 68. my brothers rode them till the frames just gave out. We dreamed of the PX10 - it only weighted 23 lbs. - can you imagine only 23 lbs.
    Our cycling attire was sneakers, shorts; jeans and polo shirts, no helmet the BIG deal was getting pedal cages OMG we were big time now!

    After the UO-8 stopped riding - marriage, kids but mostly work till I hit 60 - When I got Colnago ACR swapped out OEM equip. with Campy gear and wheels it weights in at 16/17 lbs - now have over 5000 miles on it.

    Not a racer, no desire to go there - just like riding my bike like I was 16

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    The boom was pretty strong here in upstate NY. My first real job was at a small hole-in-the-wall bike repair/retail shop in my neighborhood, at a time when most neighborhoods still had one. We only sold certain bikes (even today, when I see a classic Ciocc from the era, chances are it was one we built), but mostly we repaired bikes sold elswhere; Sears, K-mart, and sporting good stores. One ski retailer locally got the local Fuji franchise, and sold TONS of low-end road/touring bikes locally (but didn't to squat for repairs).
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    I probably said all this stuff in a long-ago post, but I became stark, crazy nuts for bicycles when, as an undergrad at UC Santa Barbara in the early 1970's, my Berkeley dropout buddy showed up with a Simplex-geared, 531 tubed, sew-up tired Gitane Tour de France. One ride and I was hooked. I bought a Tour de France in a flash. 250 bucks? Yeah, it took me a couple more years before I got the cleated shoes and padded shorts...I'd climb the San Marcos Pass in bluejeans...but the seed was definitely sown.
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    I got my first bike in 1978 when I was 10, but it was a Schwinn. My older brother worked at a bike shop, and he always had higher-end Merciers with Campy stuff IIRC. I guess for poor kids like me a cheap bike was the way to get out and see the world, or at least our town, and we were able to roam pretty much unhindered as long as we were home before dark.

    I don't remember a bike craze, but I do remember being crazy on a bike. My first real drop bar bike was a Fuji Berkeley or something like that, I honestly don't remember, because it was a hand me down and heavy.
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    Had a Schwinn 10 spd in high school that at the time I thought I was really doing "long distance" cycling. In college at Wisconsin in early 70s bought a cheap C.Itoh -- all I could afford. I think around junior year it got ripped off and I didn't replace it, just walked or bummed rides. It did seem like everyone on campus had a bike at the time. After grad went into the navy and didn't really have a way to keep a bike, plus I got into the backpacking craze of the late 70s and then running craze. But in 84 had a place to keep a bike so got back into it with a Fuji Touring III. Been riding ever since, and when the knees couldn't take the pounding of running any more bike became my main interest.

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    The bike craze that I remember in the early 70's was more about having a Schwinn Stingray and roaming the city streets, and building jumps. In the mid 70's we moved out of the big city to rural area that was 10 miles from the nearest town. It was fate that it happened to be a great area to ride, with quiet country roads and undulating terrain. I "discovered" the love for riding the road on a Sears C-Itoh 10-speed. At first it was adventure to ride into town, but very soon I was going for "speed records".

    Wouldn't say that the 80's a downturn, rather quite the opposite. It was the rise of the 7-Eleven team and then Greg LeMond. I was definitely inspired after college (did absolutely nothing for exercise then) to take it up again. Got my first decent road bike in the mid 80's, and my first mountain bike in '88. Haven't really stopped since.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GearDaddy View Post
    Wouldn't say that the 80's a downturn, rather quite the opposite.
    agree with this.

    it's when I recall cycling really coming into focus for me and my peers...bought my first padded shorts, 3-pocket jersey, clipless pedals.

    did mass-start citizen rides, centuries, a few crits, even tried touring (yuk).

    yeah, riding in the 80s was when I got totally hooked on the sport.
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    Thought I'd drop this here.

    Pre dates the '70s, a Canadian race from '65. Any dialog is French with a dated but good musical soundtrack, worth the watch.

    Too old to ride plastic

  22. #22
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    I was in the bike boom--I started touring in the late '60s, entered my first race in the fall of 1969. Then it was more racing, a first job outside my dad's shop assembling bikes for a local department store--Sporting Goods a lots of bikes put together in a hurry. Many different brands (a lot from Japan, later China), but also some Euro stuff including Peugeots and others.

    Later, because they were selling more bikes than they could manage, we were getting deliveries of 20-30 bikes at a time at home, and we'd assemble them for a flat fee. I also did production wheel building for a flat fee for a time...

    Racing continued, bike shops boomed (including the shop that ended up sponsoring several of us in a local racing team), and there was a burgeoning circuit of really interesting races in the PNW--we raced all the way from California/Oregon/Washington, even the occasional foray going east. It was out this that you got the Red Zinger classic and the early tours, and some of the hard men that I raced with were the first Americans to go overseas and race with the Euros... One of my racing pals was a founding member of the 7-11 team--we came up together as Juniors--he kept at it, and I ended up quitting after a broken leg skiing...

    I ended up going to work for NORCO as a regional sales rep and traveled all over western Canada--the two staples while I did that were bikes for summer, and skates/hockey for winter--and the two segments complimented each other. A lot of the stores were family-run independents then--and they moved a lot of bikes, even in unlikely/remote places.
    Last edited by paredown; 4 Weeks Ago at 03:24 PM.
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