Over the last couple of months I've been observing my fellow bike riders and have come to a startling conclusion. Most of them are aged 40 plus (including myself) and a few are in their thirties. I've seen one teenage roadie out training and the odd commuter and roadie in their twenties.
This observation was reinforced this morning when I was mountain biking in Eagle Park. None of the riders I crossed paths with were under 30. Of all the different disciplines I would have expected the mountain biking crowd to be younger but it doesn't appear that way.
There could be a few things at play here. The main one is time of day. In Winter I leave for work when it is dark so I don't see the faces of the riders doing their morning climb up Norton Summit. I also do most of my weekend recreational riding early in the morning to fit in with family commitments and am therefore likely to see those doing the same thing.
Is it just the time I'm riding that prevents me seeing all the younger riders? Are they getting out of bed after I've arrived home and started my weekend chores? Or are we suffering from a lack of younger bike riders around Adelaide?
Yep, fully agree with this. I am 30, and have been riding for the past 9 or so years.....only one of my friends cycles, the rest think I am nuts!
It is interesting though that a few of them are now in a dilemma about their health....they can see the beer gut starting to grow, and are looking at all of the options to stop it. Maybe this is a reason for many cyclists being older - younger people tend not to think about living a healthy lifestyle, and cycling doesn't fall into the traditional range of sports like cricket, tennis, football, soccer and netball.
I do occasionally see younger riders, but the vast majority of cyclists i come across fall into the 30-55 age bracket. Maybe its that we all know something that younger people haven't realised yet......
And as for cycling being the new golf???? Please, we have much better legs :-)
I am not so sure that there is really a lack of young people riding, but maybe less of them riding road-bikes... but I am not even convinced of this.
First, there is the number of pushbikes in the bike shed at the Girl's Primary School each day: even during winter there can be up to 10 or 15. Granted, none of these are road bikes, but it is just primary school and it is winter.
Second, it is not uncommon for me to see young people (both girls and guys) on road bikes out and about after school times and on weekends. I know that there is at least one private school that has its own "squad" as I saw one lad with his school's coat of arms emblazoned on his jersey one afternoon.
Third, I have seen bunches of young riders (one of about 20 riders) in two neat rows like my kids have to line up in when they are waiting to go in the classroom. They were headed down Goodwood road around the time of the TdU in 2009 and being lead and trailed by a half dozen adults who were either teachers or trainers.
At the time (pre my re-birth into cycling) I was pretty peeved that they were taking up a whole lane, but now I fully understand why. Shocking bit of road down through the underpass on Goody Rd!!
Anyway, I don't think there is anything in it, apart from that they are riding at different times.
We have one high-school aged rider (of a very nice roadie) who has recently joined this community and I ride each Saturday with another young guy who would love to have a road bike, but for now is riding a MTB like I started on.
So, keep your eyes peeled and make sure you say hi to them when you do see them on the road... make them feel included. Best way to keep them on a bike I reckon.
On my way home tonight I took notice of the other people I saw commuting on bikes. My guess is that 3 out of 5 were thirtyish or younger. I stopped at one set of lights and there were 5 other cyclists there and only one was anywhere near my age.
Maybe the younger generations are more commuter orientated and not into long rides and training.
I worked across from the bike/skate ramp at seaford yesterday. Lots of kids riding BMX bikes, they just don't ride on the road much. My son and his mates ride on the jumps they have made behind the school oval.
Alas its true..... Although I have seen quite a few younger riders in Amy's Ride and The Mutual Community Challenge earlier in the year.These rides give a goal to strive for but unfortunately I have witnessed nudging from fellow riders to advance in the events. This puts a grey cloud over their impressionable minds rather than encouragement. My daughter is 12 and has only started riding ring distances greater than 20kms and she is already having doubts about doing the same events in the future..What the ....I quite often ask myself " Should I wait until she is older before entering such rides ?" Its a shame that some cyclists dont consider the younger ones in such rides.
My kids are 13 & 15 and they like to get out there and ride as a family with us....but my hubby and i tend to go for our ride first, then they ride along the western bike way to glenelg and meet up with us there for a coffee/ice cream. But if it was up to them...they would be happy to sit at home and play the bloomin playstation......ah the idiot that invented them.......
Remember not all cyclists are roadies, most of the young kids we deal with ride down hill or dirt jump bikes. Last time I counted I think Inside Line had more kids racing Under 17's than there were adults in Open and Elite Men combined (not to mention that last year a 16 year old took out the Elite series and and the State Titles) We know a few kids that race road, track or XC, but in general any school aged person who rides "seriously" is a 1000 times more likely to be doing shuttle runs on the Mitcham train/ trails than they are to be doing reps on New Norton Summit.