Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What's Next for High-Powered Bicycles? Little Motors?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What's Next for High-Powered Bicycles? Little Motors?

Article excerpt

Pedaling his Schwinn Stingray as fast as he could, my friend

came down the driveway, across the street, hit the ramp and went

skyward. Seconds later, after accomplishing what is now known as

an "endo" (end over end), he was face down in the ditch and

covered with mud.

That was our idea of extreme biking back then. Building a ramp

in the back yard, finding someone gullible enough to test it out

and then seeing how close to outer space you could get on 3

speeds and a banana seat.

Now, however, the days of coaster brakes and sissy bars are

long gone. Today there are mountain bikes. Today, if you're not

riding a titaniumframed, 21-speed, fat-tired rig with front and

rear suspension, you're eating someone's dust.

While there is some debate over where the first mountain bikes

emerged, the general opinion is that they are a result of a

national effort. As more people began to take up the sport,

manufacturers developed technology to remedy the problems bikers


Whether it was better brakes to avoid becoming part of a pine

tree halfway down a mountain or better gear systems to climb

higher hills, each new advance brought the bikes closer to

today's technological wonders.

"The biggest development, so far, is the durable, easily

operated gear systems," said Stan 'the Bicycle Man' Sanford,

owner of Champion Cycling and Fitness. "It allows more people to

enjoy a greater variety of terrain."

What's next in bicycles? "I'll stick my neck out and say power

assisted bikes." said Sanford. "Again that's something that will

help more people enjoy the sport, even if they're not in top

physical condition." This would involve using an electric motor

to help riders up hills and on long rides. While purists may

scoff at such an idea, there seems to be no lack of a market for

anything that makes riding easier.

Endurance rides, like the annual MS150, are becoming more

popular also. Champion Cycling and Fitness is organizing seven

training rides prior to the September event. The rides range

from 15 to 50 miles for cyclists of all levels. …

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