Steel is back, Part II
Two weeks ago, I posted on how the bike industry has (re)discovered steel as the next big thing in design. Over in England, Nick Foulkes opines in The Guardian that this turnaround has gone even further, particularly among the well-heeled. Here is an excerpt:
Some years ago, the acronym Rub enjoyed a certain currency. It stood for Rich Urban Biker and was usually applied to a 50-year-old advertising executive who spent weekends astride a Harley-Davidson recapturing the youth he never had.
Now the Rub has been replaced by the Muc (Middle-class Urban Cyclist). Whereas the ageing professional used to have his legs wrapped around a large, shuddering piece of American metal, today those limbs are pumping up and down as he pilots his bicycle through the city traffic. The middle classes used to cycle, but somehow, as affluence increased and the two- or even three-car household became usual, cycling waned; seven years ago, Raleigh was in receivership.
On Thursday, the rude financial health of Raleigh made news on the Today programme. The same afternoon, I collected my younger son from school: all cycling helmets and rear-mounted infant seats and not an SUV in sight.
This month has also seen the resurgence of the prototypical 21st-century Muc: David Cameron pedalling to the House of Commons. Smythson, where Mrs Cameron works, has come out with cycling stationery, a 'rider's journal' that allows cyclists to record their 'training and racing goals', terrain, distances, gears used, weather conditions etc. Perhaps it should launch a volume to tally the number of red lights jumped, pedestrians knocked over, hydrocarbons they haven't used and so on.
The surest indicator that cycling has sunk its teeth deep into the middle-class psyche is that I have bought a Pashley. For those few who do not know what a Pashley is, imagine a two-wheeled, rider-powered version of an old Bentley.