Posted by Michael Andersen (Contributor) on October 17th, 2014 at 2:25 pm
It was once true that people who bike and like bikes were mostly young. News flash: this is no longer true.
That was the message of reader Anne Hawley, responding this week to our coverage of a Northwest Examiner newspaper article about a white-haired auto repair shop owner named Frank Warrens who sees a bike lane on Northwest Everett as part of a campaign to ban cars from downtown Portland.
Hawley’s short, sweet reply:
There’s a lot to be annoyed with here, but as a bike-rider with gray hair, approaching 60, can I just head off any tempting ageist remarks (based on that unbelievably stereotypical photograph) with a quick #NotAllOldFolks?
I’ve been using every opportunity over the last few months to talk up a fact I noticed in June: biking is still growing a bit among people ages 18-24. But almost all the growth in the last decade actually comes from older people. American biking rates are now almost identical among people aged 25 to 54, and (this really knocks my socks off) almost identical among people aged 55 to 84.
It’s some combination of healthier bodies, changing lifestyles, safer streets and (maybe most important) the aging of Baby Boomers who grew up free of the notion that adult-sized bikes are shameful marks of poverty. But however it happened, it might be the most important demographic force behind the modern biking movement. Thanks for the reminder, Anne.