Continental is developing their own belt drive system, indicating this technology is here to stay.
by Kathleen Banville
Aug 28 demo day
Aug 29-31 Eurobike
Urban cycling is a relatively new movement in North America. In order to predict trends and consumer needs, the bike industry will often look to Europe. Cities like London and Amsterdam have large cycling populations that are a good indicator of what works for cyclists, and what doesn't in urban centres.
This year Urbane Cyclist worker co-op (where I work) decided to send two delegates to the Eurobike show in order to increase our understanding of the market and maybe even pick up new brands. Our focus is on utilitarian cycling and long distance touring which are both very popular in Europe
On August 28th we started out at the demo day in the hills of the German countryside. Eurobike takes place in a hops producing region, so we saw many fields full of the climbing plants on the shuttle out. My colleague, Reba Plummer, and I test rode a few recumbent trikes from HP Velotechnik that we sell in the store. It was a huge thrill going up and down hills and around the test track on the new 26-inch rear wheel model. Then we grabbed a tandem recumbent from Hase and I rode stoker while Reba took us off-road over some hills. These specialty bikes are made by a small company in Germany and are only available on special order in Canada.
Once we arrived at the trade show (August 29-31) I immediately found my new favourite line of women-specific cycling clothing: Ana Nichoola. Her jerseys, dresses, shorts, jackets and accessories have feminine touches but also practical features that make it easy to ride a bike and not look like a spandex-slathered sporty type.
I'm not sure what you would do with an iPad while you ride your bike, but accessory designers seem to be obsessed with attaching as much stuff as possible to your handlebars. Thule won a design award for their handlebar bracket with modular bags called Pack 'n Pedal (below). Continuing the trend of cockpit add-ons, Tout Terrain's The Plug II was on display all over the show. It is the sleekest way to hook up an USB charger to your dynamo hub (which sells at Urbane Cyclist for $200).
If we had more bike infrastructure here and less bike theft, I bet that large cargo bikes would be more popular. Due to their length they are less maneuverable than a traditional bike so riding one works best in a bike lane, and they're hard to carry up the steps to your apartment for safe storage. They are incredibly popular in cities like Copenhagen and are very practical for a car-free lifestyle.
Many cool things we saw in Europe are not approved for use in North American due to safety standards. Neither the Helt-pro helmet (a helmet that looks like a hat), the folding helmet or the “invisible helmet” are approved here. The same goes for the child seat for bigger kids made by Yepp. I think if these companies can figure out how to meet our safety standards they will find there is a market waiting here for them.
Looking forward to next year!
Thule's Pack 'n Play system won an Eurobike award.
Demo day in the German countryside.
Think Bike is a campaign by Selle Royal to support community based cycling initiatives. [www.worldwidecyclingatlas.com]
BELOW: A fully loaded touring bike at the Ortlieb booth.