Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cycling loses popularity

Anyone who has lived in Taiwan for any length of time can name the fads that blow across the island, stoking everyone to a frenzy, and then fade away. Egg tarts, koala bears, crane machines, penguins -- the list is endless. Now add bikes to it, as sales are finally starting to fall off. The article says that while sales of high end bikes are stable, and low end (under $6000 NT) are steady, the market for folding bikes -- the chief ride of fad bikers -- has collapsed. The bike market as a whole is set to return to normal after its 2008 peak, it says.

My friend Drew observes on his new cycling blog (that's his pic of me to the left cycling to Guguan).

In a prestige culture, such as Taiwan's , cycling embodies the image of affluence, foreign knowledge and leisure. It embodies the value of technically advanced equipment and a smart looking kit. Cycling, if done right, looks clean, sleek and graceful and has its "Top Guns". Unlike current Taiwanese values, cycling involves hard, physical work and outdoor training to become a strong rider. Many Taiwanese do not value physical exercise and it is not promoted as a worthwhile past time for children when they could be in cram school or learning an instrument. Exposure to direct sunlight is discouraged and brown skin is still regarded as "ugly".

Drew is still tinkering and will probably move to another platform, so I'll make a formal announcement of the blog when he's settled. But in the meantime you can enjoy the pretty pictures.
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8 comments:

david on formosa said...

I am sure there was a fad element to all this. I know some people who went out and bought bikes just because everyone else was doing it. In reality they have little interest in cycling and a year later their bikes are gathering dust. However, I think there has probably been an overall increase in the number of people cycling.

The main obstacle to increasing the number of cyclists lies in cycling being seen as solely as a recreational activity. Governments are still unwilling to take the measures required to make the roads safer and more suitable for bicycle commuting. Another spike in oil prices might change this.

Anonymous said...

Those folding bikes are falling out of fashion so fast they're practically giving them away. ( Check The Blog Sidebar)

les said...

Suits me fine. The sooner these poseurs are off the road the better.

Anonymous said...

Drew's comment is only half correct. Only women prefer white skin. Males prefer to have a darker skin, not pale, and not guido-style toasted. Also, I would say if you took away jogging and meatheads (which actually isn't healthy), the West exercises very little also. So the biggest issue I think is the lack of good trails and roads to jog on.

In Taipei, biking is still a very strong phenomenon. I highly doubt that cycling has somehow subsided. Bike sales have ended because the market is saturated. But biking the activity is still very, very strong.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, I bet you're right about saturation. Wonder when folding bikes will resume....

Anonymous said...

Anon,

I don't think it was a comparative argument he was making. I have actually heard women in Taiwan refuse to date a guy because he was too dark. Men who are dark are teased about it and the skin color is an issue.

Anonymous said...

I avoid bicycles for the obvious reason--it's unsafe. I'm sure many riders who were made aware of this.

misterixhawaii said...

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