Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Next Generation Of Bicycle Tourists

The latest e-newsletter from the Adventure Cycling Association directed me to an archived article by Willie Weir titled "Endangered Species." I have read a number of articles by Weir, particularly about his travels in Turkey, and he is much more adventurous than I'll ever be. Anyway, in this story he ponders the future of bicycle touring. He notes that when he was young, lots of kids rode their bikes to school, but nowadays relatively few do.
Most are driven to school in SUVs until they reach the age where they can buy their own cars... For the generation growing up today, the bicycle is something you put on top of your Ford Explorer until you reach a recreational trail. It is a toy, not a viable means of transportation.
Then he tells a great story about a class of third graders who were fascinated by his bike trip through India. Weir says that we are responsible for inspiring the next generation of bicycle tourists by sharing our stories. He's right. I have been pleasantly surprised by how my cycling web site has motivated others to start riding again. Interacting with these people has been almost as rewarding to me as touring itself. So after you read his article (a heartwarming tale that even non-cyclists should enjoy), check out my cross-country bike trip.

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