If the number of folks that I'm consulting on building their first real transportation bikes is any gauge of trends in culture then good times lie ahead for cycling!!!
In the last 3 months, I've mostly designed new bike builds for 5 people here in Colorado, (the CTO of the company where I work, a co-worker on my team, two co-workers from other teams, and my father-in-law).
Each has somewhat different reasons for going this route, which has been rather interesting. I suppose their builds are almost as diverse as their reasons for starting this up.
The environmentally minded co-worker went the route of a Surly KM with disc brakes, Brooks B-17, SRAM I-motion 9, and skinny 700c Schwalbe marathon plus tires.
The guy who wants to lose weight, save gas over driving his Dodge Hemi, is building up a Kogswell P/R with a SRAM P5 with drum brake and sturmey drum brake dynamo front hub, Brooks B-72, with Schwalbe Marathon XR's.
The CTO who's doing it for mostly for health, fun, and a little bit of environmentalism has gone the route of a Surly LHT, with 26" wheels, barcon shifters, v-brakes, Brooks Champion Flyer, Schwalbe Marathon Supremes.
The last co-worker is an environmentally conscious fellow who wanted a bike for toting his kids, picking up groceries, and taking trips to park/zoo etc. An xtracycle was in order along with going to disc brakes and new wheels. His whole family is now quickly getting hooked on bike lifestyle.
My father-in-law wanted something comfortable that rolls pretty quickly, but reminds him of the joy of cycling as a kid (which is about the last time he rode). I took his old hardtail mtb and built a new rear wheel with a Nexus 8 coaster brake version, put a riser stem, and Soma Oxford bars on it with Ergon's, plus some 2" Schwalbe slicks we donated to the cause. We've been suggesting and I think it wont be long before a Brooks saddle makes its home on his bike. He loves it and it totally accomplished the goal.
At least two of these 5 people were folks that I thought would start riding bikes when hell froze over, and both are now totally on-board with cycling and just want to go further with it. So if these examples from just the last couple months are any indicator then I think we might really be starting to see some changes in perspective regarding bikes as transportation :)
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I just might start hunting down recent "conversion" stories. Cycling really can change one's whole perspective.
Really I've always been a facilitator by nature, so since I'm passionate about bikes as viable transportation and most around me know it, I'm happy to help as much as possible with getting them the right bike for their purposes and tastes.
I do however charge a case of beer when actual labor gets involved. 1 case per wheelbuild and another case for helping with bike assembly. :)