The following is a commercial by Land Rover. Please watch it, as it is imperative to understanding the rest of this article.
The reason I wanted you to watch that video is because when I think about “bicycle touring” that commercial pretty much sums up how I imagine my travels. When I watch that commercial, I see Land Rover not as a car maker, but as the creator of a lifestyle. To me, that commercial shows a vehicle that not only gets you from one place to the next, but a vehicle that stands as a symbol of adventure, world travel, luxury, style and respect.
The reason I like that commercial (and Land Rovers) so much is because the image the company projects is very much how I wish to imagine myself – adventuresome, worldly, stylish, and hopefully… respected.
But as I shared in my previous article on the perception of bicycle tourists, this image I so desperately want for myself is usually not the way I (and other bicycle tourists) come across to the general public. Instead of being viewed as stylish and respected world travelers, we are often times viewed by the public in a manner that is less than appealing.
But Imagine This…
Imagine for a second that the perceived image of bicycle tourists was instantly and forever changed. Instead of being viewed as “crazy nuts” on bikes, imagine what it would be like if we were viewed in a similar light as Land Rover.
With this new image, bicycle tourists would now be viewed as classy world travelers. We would be respected and looked up to for our first-hand knowledge of the world. And we’d be seen as stylish and good looking members of our global society.
But most importantly, imagine what it would be like if the image we put out not only made us look good, but also made people so interested in what we were doing that they’d actually want to join our movement!
The Bicycle Touring Lifestyle
If you watch any Land Rover commercial, you will see that the themes of adventure, world travel, style and luxury are forever present. And while these themes are important to Land Rover’s marketing message, it’s the lifestyle of the Land Rover owner that is really being sold here.
People who buy a Land Rover are not just buying a car. They are buying a way of life!
Now imagine for a second that bicycle touring was not just an activity you did on the weekends or a one time thing you do over your summer break, but instead, a way of living! Imagine how bicycle touring, backed by a lifestyle brand, could forever change the way bicycle travelers are perceived.
For the last few months I’ve been discussing the bicycle touring lifestyle and I’ve been trying to show how bicycle travel does not just have to be a month-long cram session of day-long bike rides and fancy food. What I’ve been trying to show is that bicycle travel (for some of us at least) goes so far beyond “touring” that there isn’t currently a good word to describe what we do.
Bicycle Touring And Beyond
Bicycle touring hasn’t changed much over the years and I believe this is largely due to the fact that there is no lifestyle behind the experience. Most bicycle tourists take a single trip and then go back to their normal lives, forgetting about their tour just a few months later.
But what if there were a lifestyle behind “bicycle touring”? What if a new generation of travelers were to emerge and break away from the traditional bike touring world with a completely new, lifestyle driven form of bicycle travel?
Think of the current fixie revolution. Single speed track bikes are nothing new, but the young, hip people who are now riding fixies have brought the bikes into their lifestyle. The bike was nothing new, but the twist that these young riders have given the bike has brought it back in a way no one could have ever imagined.
Now imagine if something similar were to happen with bicycle touring?
What I’m talking about here is a new kind of bicycle touring. A form of touring that is so new and so modern, that we no longer call it “touring”, but something else entirely.
With the economy in a lurch, cycling more popular than ever, and travel still highly desired in our society, I believe a new form of bicycle touring is bound to emerge in the years to come that is both modern and lifestyle driven. In fact, I think we have an obligation to bring bicycle touring up to current times… to reinvent the sport… and to once and for all, get the public excited about traveling by bike.
Over the next few years, I predict that a new wave of bicycle travelers is going to emerge and these people will forever change the standards of traditional bicycle touring. These people will raise the bar, play a different game, and play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible!
This new “way of living” will not be for everyone… and that’s okay! But I think that for some of us, this new lifestyle driven activity will dramatically change the way traveling cyclists are perceived.
I plan to discuss this more in a future post, as this is something that has got me extremely excited at the moment. But in the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Do you agree with my perception of Land Rovers? Is the brand really built behind a lifestyle as I assume? And do you think it is possible for a bicycle touring lifestyle to emerge from the traditional bicycle touring world? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
But first, watch this one last commercial from Land Rover… and tell me you wouldn’t want to be a part of that “Lifestyle”.