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”.
Range Rover photo by Bbaunach. Fixie photo by Solo, With Others
0 thoughts on “How Land Rover Could Forever Change The Way Bicyclist Tourists Are Perceived”
I don’t know if we really need to reinvent the sport. Bicycle touring is what it is. People will get out of a ride what they want. Just because you have a Landrover, it doesn’t mean you’ll going to cross the sahara desert one year then cross the fire trails of the rockie mountains. It sounds cool, but a majority of landrover owners are not doing these adventures, and I think its the same with bicycling. Most people have or did own a bicycle in thier lives. They got what they needed out of thier ride. Its only a handful of us that take it to this extreme. In reality what we do most people would not call fun or a vacation. Yes bicycling is getting more recognition as an alternative way of transportation. Maybe as more people start to connect with the joys of riding, we will find some more people joining our ranks. Somehow, I don’t think a bicycle commercial for the long haul trucker would appeal to the majority of people in the US. Most of my friends admire what I do, but in the same breath say I’m crazy. No matter what I say to assure them that anyone can do this, it falls on deaf ears. On the other hand, a car is as easy as pushing the gas peddle with the AC on, with your only worry is where is the next gas station.
In general, I feel, bicycle touring will never become main stream and I really don’t mind. I enjoy touring. Communting is a much easier battle to win.
Nice try, Darren, but I don’t think they’re going to send you a free Range Rover!
It’s the old, “I may never do these things, but I like to know that I could,” approach. No, I may never drive across the Sahara, but I could!
Anything in those Land Rover commercials can be done in one way or another on a bicycle (I don’t recommend riding a bicycle across hot coals), and it won’t cost you $80,000 to do it!
On one hand, I hope you’re right. If touring really came into vogue it would lead to improvements in infrastructure, routes and maps, and, if we’re lucky, a decrease in equipment costs. But I suspect tourers will remain oddities for the foreseeable future. And, frankly, I think there’s a certain appeal to most tourers in being seen as some kind of wingnut.
On another note, I think there would need to be a paradigm shift in the way we think as a people, especially here in the U.S. We are very focused on time. If someone has two weeks for vacation they have this idea that they must get there fast and make the most of it and then get home fast. We’re too focused on destinations and not journeys. If more people realized there’s at least as much enjoyment in getting there as there is in actually being there, we’d all be better off. Nowadays we’re so used to traveling in a shielded bubble we’ve come to view travel as an obstacle to get through before we can “have fun.” We’re working on an entire generation that will probably never even know what it’s like to take a family vacation in a car driving a thousand or more miles and stopping at all the little roadside oddities. If they do drive everyone is wearing headphones and watching DVDs and might as well be in suspended animation. Kind of sad, really.
I agree with both Robert and Chris. I think bicycle touring is an oddity because it’s supposed to be, because it only appeals to certain types of people. It’s possible that if bicycle touring was popular or stylist then I may not even have tried it. I think we can be cool in our own way without trying to induct people who don’t “get it.”
Darren, why not make your own video, get people who have filmed their travels to give you footage to make clips from, get some nice music score, some catchy phrases, and then post it. Ever see the Nike commercial with Lance Armstrong looking as though he’s biking across the country? Something like that.
I think that Land Rover is selling an ideal. “If you buy this vehicle, your life will be like our commercial.” Yet, to afford the vehicle, insurance, gas, etc. you must maintain the lifestyle that you are trying to buy your way out of.
I think people want the idea of the adventure, but are scared of it. We love to romanticize it, but fear the unknown of actually doing it. It is much easier to get the equipment and pretend to have the adventurous lifestyle, than to actually live it.
I feel compelled to get other people into bicycle touring due to the enjoyment I get from it. Most will not try it, but the ones that are considering bicycle touring, websites like this one greatly helps overcome the logistical ignorance associated with bicycle touring neophytes. I think it would be great if more people would realize the joy and ease of bicycle touring. Unless there is a large paradigm shift, I don’t foresee a large influx of bicycle tourists.
The world is very small. One can travel across the ocean in hours. Why would you take days to bike the distance you can drive in one day? If the journey became as important than the destination.
Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycles, proposes a new category of bicycles “country bike” to try to change the perception of touring on a bike. With the new emphasis on “Green” everything, the perception of touring may slowly change. I think a lot of people just aren’t that interested in changing to a bicycle oriented life-style because convenience always seems to win out regardless of the cost to the environment. We live in a society that has come to believe everyone should have a car at their beck and call 24/7. How many spandex-clad roadies will ride 50-100 miles on the weekend then drive two miles to go to the store, or how many people drive their cars to the gym to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike? This type of thinking I’m afraid may be here to stay. We may have to accept that we will always be in the minority.
It almost sounds as if we’re dooming touring to a select few. I’m at fault as well, but I’ve been putting some thought into what I think the core problem is.
I worked for Dicks sporting goods as a bicycle mechanic as a part time job. I got two complaints from my managers. First, I was taking too long to assemble the bikes. I was always trueing up wheels and positioning brake pads, adjusting derailer, etc. I knew most people don’t know how to do these things, so I did. Second, I talked people out of buying the flashy duel suspended bike, when most people don’t need it. Explaining to customers the power loss in pedal stroke and all the unessary gadgits were not going to make the ride any better.
I always felt, that if a person gets the right bike and its properly built, they will ride more. I know most manufacters don’t care about this. I’m always repairing and upgrading neighbors bikes. As a result, they ride more. So, I think that better bikes at cheaper prices will get more people on bikes.
There is also another thing I feel would make it better. We really need to make our communities more bicycle friendly. I’m sure everyone has a couple of stories about some bad road behavior. I love to commute to work, but I have some areas that scare me. I couldn’t amagine most people wanting to ride thier bikes in these conditions. I’ve had a few discussions with my local representitives about better bicycle safety. I’m hoping with the new go green campaign, these ideas are explored. Check out Portland OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM60DqAM6bQ
So with better bicycles for the consumer and better bicycle saftey on our roads, I think there would be more people willing to try bicycle touring. I still don’t think you can sell the idea through a commercial, and we will be a minority, but I think we could bring more on board. Kudos to Darren(and others) for making a site like this to help any newbies. Leading by example will make a big difference.
There’s a bit of truth to this article; long-distance bicycle touring could use a bit of an image revamp to appeal to another generation. As a young (I’m in my 20s) long distance runner and casual bicyclist, I typically find myself running marathons surrounded by men and women with an average age of at least 40 (and I don’t run slow marathons; kudos to all you wicked fast middle-aged folks). It seems like the old long-distance fads of the ’70s, while they have had remarkable staying power, have suffered something of a descent. In a new cultural moment, touring could use a new aesthetic and maybe a new ideology.
However, comparing this to Land Rover…really? I’m a new reader and don’t have any right to criticize, but this article reads like a Land Rover ad to me. My eye keeps on getting dragged to the brand name. Yes, the way car companies use advertisement to sell not only a product but a “way of life” is remarkable, but this technique has a side that I would dare to label as insidious. In my time driving (ill-equipped) automobiles through the dirt out in the boonies, I’ve never seen someone cruising around in a new Land Rover (at least out in the real stuff). More likely it was some gracious soul in a juiced up Jeep that pulled my little Subaru (itself something of an over-hyped commuter car, albeit with awesome handling on snow) out of a mud hole before the Deliverance theme song started playing. If you were to reinvent the image of bicycle touring, at least try to be somewhat honest about it, unlike a company that makes “off-road vehicles” geared for highway driving complete with butt-warmer leather seats, but sells them as if they were Tonka trucks.
That said, it’s great to see a site that does have a slick image and is geared towards the noble cause of exposing folks to alternative travel. If you’re going to encourage a new wave of riders, Web 2.0 is probably a good place to start.
I understand Darren’s want for glory in his chosen sport but bike traveling is not for spectators,they will never understand the feeling and freedom of bike travel unless they try it.To make bike touring cool would be impossible because the masses are inherently lazy,even spectator road racing gets very little publicity here in the U.S.. I guarantee in 5 years you will feel different about “images” Darren. Our glory will be shared amongst the tribe. Cheers
That Rover thingy has nothing to do with any “style” I wish to project.
That snobbish POS is more at home in San Jose than in the sierras.
Try again . . .
Well, the admen certainly got to you, didn’t they? What they’re selling there is a fantasy that you can get to live out by buying the car (they’d like you to believe). But it IS a fantasy. And believe me, I know; I’m an English advertising copywriter who worked on car accounts in London ad. agencies for quite a while. Nice to see that the work of people like me isn’t wasted, incidentally.
With all due respect, I don’t know why you would want any particular perception of yourself or your lifestyle to parallel that of a car company. “Branding” is the most banal, albeit effective, method of commercial manipulation; taking otherwise uninteresting or utilitarian products and infusing them with “meaning” to pull at the heartstrings of those in need of emotionally salient signifiers. Bicycle touring certainly captures the imagination and perhaps is perceived by some as less than stylish (who is this mysterious critical body, though, really?), but for those with any knowledge of the culture or who know its true value, they probably could care less. You do well enough as an advocate for this increasingly popular, green, and awesome method of travel without having to conflate your image with some b.s. SUV brand.
Stay gold Ponyboy! Stay gold!
Hello everyone. I’ve waited a while before responding to this post because I wanted to see what other people’s thoughts were first. That being said, I don’t think most of you understood what I was trying to say here.
I was not really talking about Land Rover with this article. I wasn’t talking about the cost of the cars, their marketing campaigns, or about making a commercial to get people excited about bicycle touring.
Actually, all I was trying to say was that we might think about changing the way bicycle tourists are perceived by the public. As discussed in my previous article on the perception of bicycle tourists, many people view bicyclists as either homeless, ultra-hippie, or super sportsmen. They have stereotypes about who we are just because we ride a bike. But what if there were another type of bicyclist? A type that looked good and was respected by people outside the bicycling world?
Alec was the only person I think who fully understood what I was trying to say. I think he understood because he said, “long-distance bicycle touring could use a bit of an image revamp to appeal to another generation.”
That’s what I was talking about! I wasn’t talking about Land Rover, so don’t get caught up on that. I was simply talking about revamping our image… and overhauling the way people think about bicycle travel.
I was just using Land Rover as an example of a company who uses their marketing to project the image of travel, style, and respect. I was simply trying to show that you can project this image if you try. And wouldn’t that be a great image for (some of us) bicycle tourists to project?
I obviously haven’t got all my thoughts together on this subject yet, but I’ll have to continue this discussion is a future post because I think it’s real interesting… and because I think the end result could mean a lot to the future of bicycle travel. But in the meantime, I’d love to continue getting your thoughts on the matter.
These are all just ideas I’m throwing out there, so don’t get upset if they conflict with the way you think about bicycle touring. They’re just ideas! If they aren’t for you, that’s fine. But I think some of us (and I’m mainly talking about me here) would really like the image of bicycle tourists to change.
In the meantime, I hope the ideas I’ve generated here spark some great discussions and ideas both here on the site and out there on the streets.
Thanks again all for your comments and suggestions. I look forward to hearing your continued thoughts on this matter.
Sorry to have misinterpreted, though I still think that the individuals who tour would resist any easy classification, or some more refined image. Hell, many tourers ARE homeless, ultra-hippie, or super sportsmen; just as many others are into the personal challenge, the chance to meet others, or to generally be off the grid. But I think you’re right in the sense that perhaps the one way touring could be be more effectively advertised would be to pair it with some “image” for the wider public to be drawn to it, but then I wonder if that wouldn’t take some of the fun out of the whole enterprise of self-discovery.
Just thinking out loud here. Thanks again for your cool and informative site. I’ve learned a bunch here.
I think you are right Wil. Many of the people who do tour fit in those categories of looking like bums, sportsmen, or hippies. And some of those people like that they are in those categories. But I personally don’t like being in any of those categories. And I think there are others out there who would not want to automatically be put in those categories either. I think those categories turn a lot of people (especially in America) off from bicycling.
So I’m just trying to figure out how to create a different category of rider. A rider that looks good and is respected by the public.
I don’t think it’s possible to get rid of those other stereotypes. I’d just like to add one other category of rider I guess – one that doesn’t have a negative image attached to it. Does that make sense?
In Europe this category of rider exists! In Switzerland and in many other parts of Europe they are everywhere. Just look at: https://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/ They are the business man on his way to a meeting, of the office clerk cycling to meet up with her friends after work. They are well-dressed, have respectable jobs, and I certainly don’t look at them and think “homeless, hippie, or sportsman”.
Of course, these people are just riding to and from work… or running errands around town. So it’s easy to understand why they are wearing normal clothes and looking so good. But I just wonder how we could extend this image to the touring world. And I guess I’m wondering why it hasn’t been done already? Is it because being on the road for so long automatically makes us dirty and smelly? If that’s the case, how could we change this? Less miles each day? Better bike routes? Hmm….
I think improving perception of sustainable lifestyles or technologies is always appropriate. I think using an example of the Range Rover ad is a pretty bad comparison. Looking at the ad all I saw was a car racing through the countries, blasting through all the scenery, and pretty much chewing up the environment it was quickly traveling through. Pretty much a violent or “hardcore” aesthetic. Transforming this aesthetic is part of the challenges we face. Marketing bicycle touring to this aesthetic only perpetuates the “extreme-everything!” lifestyle where one has to do it super hardcore in order to feel any emotion at all. I’d prefer to see the marketing take the Patagonia or surfing route, with mellow documentaries about the beauty in taking your time. Go easy, and if you can’t go easy, go as easy as you can.
To some extent the marketing of mountian bikes and Land Rovers has followed a similar trajectory. They were designed to be used off-road in tough mountainous conditions. This adventurous capability is a strong selling point and they sell like hot cakes. Then they get driven around cities on tarmac.
Perhaps as more people work from a laptop it will become more common to live nomadically on a bike but for now most people have to work.
At the moment I think touring bikes are a bit like VW camper vans. They were fashionable in the seventies, the design hasn’t changed much since, and a few people still love them now.
p.proudhon & Pete, great comments. Thank you!
Who cares what we look like to the outside world, as long as they don’t run us over. That commercial sells the sizzle, not the steak. Does it really matter if people perceive we’re doing something interesting or if they perceve us as homeless, hippies, ultra sportsmen or CEO’s?
This is my third winter of depending on my bikes as my sole means of transportation and I live in the state of Maine where winters can be brutal. At first I thought it was going to be an inconvenience but I wanted to get in shape for a long distance trip. The longer I traveled by bike ( I rode 6,000 miles in the first year), The more fun it became. I have no plans to get my vehicle repaired at this point. This past summer I built a trike for the winter since it is more stable on icy roads. I’m still trying to get my life organized to the point where I can leave on an extened tour.
I think what you have in mind is a noble idea. But…
I don’t think the majority of people touring really care what other people think of them.
And, I think putting forth a suped up image will attract the wrong people to touring. Much like the people at the campground sleeping in a tent with their tv/vcr combo plugged into a 25 ft extension cord. Americans will just never be like Europeans…we are too lazy and greedy.
It would be like making Nascar fans show up for races wearing suits and snacking on wine and cheese. First of all, the fans would be put off and uncomfortable, and secondly the new attractees would get there and realize that even though everyone looks smashing…..all those roaring engines and the smell of burning fuel for hours upon end is just not their idea of a tea party.
For my Mom’s first bike camping trip, we cooked, on the backpacking stove, filet mignon and finished the meal off with chocolate cake. For a more recent trip with friends, mealfare consisted of instant mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon. If I was to havetraits associated with me, I’d likethem to be adaptable, courteous, friendly, capable and willing. I think those traits are pretty appropriate to any lifestyle.
Darren, this is just my opinion, but I think the things you are seeking after in this article are superficial, fleeting, and have little meaning in the big picture and purpose of life. The things you describe about Landrover is nothing more than an image used to entice people. This marketing tactic is used by all industries and companies to create an illusion. Sadly, many peoples feeling of self worth and value are tied up and supported by these illusions. I am an avid 4×4 off-roader, motorcyclist, and bicyclist. I guess people see what they want to see. When I watched that Landrover comercial, I got a sick feeling that was very unpleasant. All i saw was a fake veneer of an imagined lifestyle and a overdeveloped product with many unreliable features. Landrovers are not known for their reliability. In fact, they are so complex and expensive to fix, they are a very very poor choice for a real world expidition or application. At least the modern ones. The older ones were a lot better. Any serious offroader knows this and that’s why most use better vehicles such as toyotas, jeeps, etc, that are much more reliable and a wiser choice both functionally and economically. My point is that, I feel that true happiness is found in real things that last, that edify one on a true deep level, and not by passing short lived fads that go out of style only to reappear again masked as something else with little depth. Anytime something goes “mainstream” and gains a popular image, that is a bad thing, because mainstream is like a hollywood fad that takes in, exploits, and the throws out. It’s about consumption, temporary gratification, and waste. To me that is what worldly means. I, like you have, social anxiety and used to be very self aware as you described. Then one day I got sick of it. Why should I give a damn what anyone thinks about me? Their perception does not determine my self worth. I’m fine being the under dog. I do not desire the praise and honor of the world or society towards me as a cyclist. I need no recognition. My only concern regarding this is to help people find a love of cycling, travel, and exploration and see it in it’s real light to try to help myself and others get past all the illusions and fakery that is everywhere. I want to experience the real adventures and meet real people. I want a knowledge and feeling of real self worth that will stand when there is no glamorous distraction to lean upon. I want something deep within, a true peace, that is not dependent on luxury, style, and respect.
Thanks for your thoughts Nate. I agree with you in parts, but this article isn’t really about Range Rover as a reliable vehicle (or a high-priced SUV). It’s just about the image of adventure that the Range Rover portrays here. I was mainly trying to say that so many people see cycling as a poor-man’s sport… and that if cycling were seen as a slightly classier and more adventurous sort of thing, more people would be likely to take to it.
Darren, ok….let me put this gently. After reading through these posts again I believe that you might be the one who isn’t understanding. You keep saying it isn’t about Land Rover….but it is….or else you would have had no reason to use it as an example. What everyone is trying to tell you is that “selling” people on an image is just that…..selling them. It doesn’t jive with the reasons people do this or the values most of them hold.
You can dress yourself up and ride around in a tuxedo all day long…..but the minute your “buyers” get sweaty….or cold….or tired……they will return your “product” like a piece of unused gym equipment.
One must first become enlightened.
I understand. Thanks.
I think I understand now what your getting at Darren. The “feeling” of adventure and discovery is an important refreshing and inspiring part of cycling. And I think no one enjoys being classified as a bum or dirty hippie, etc. While i am not overly concerned with how others erroneously perceive me, I think there is wisdom in projecting a positive image of ones self in “real” ways in order to give an inviting appeal to others so we may connect as humans. After all, the only truly lasting thing in our existence is the relationships we have. I am all for building meaningful friendships and helping people enjoy the things I love and vice versa. Perhaps this is best accomplished by having positive morals and living a good respectable lifestyle, whatever one is doing. Let our actions and way of living speak for themselves. That is where the respect will come from. There will always be those who are blinded and will stereo type you cause you’re riding a bike though. So be it. I think if we worry about image too much, though, it detracts from the very thing we are seeking and trying to be. Part of the problem I see with using Land Rover as an example, is that I think it portrays a false image. It relies on sensational stimulation and fleeting veneers as I mentioned before. The reason I brought up the idea of Land Rovers unreliability and such, is because I think that their should be substance and solid reliability behind what someone is promoting for the intended use. Style and “image” too often become the focus and end, and functionality and dependability are pushed aside. Cycling to me has never been luxurious or concerned overly with style, and although they can be a complimentary element, most of the time there is little focus on either. This is just how I feel, but I always try to keep my opinions open for correction, because I think its not about being right, but rather moulding our views so that they are in harmony with truth. Although our views may not always coincide, I respect the way you interact with people on this blog. Rather than getting angry, defensive, trying to blast and shutdown anyone who criticizes or doesn’t agree with your views, your tone of response is very condoning to positive communication. I appreciate that you do not censor things that others might because of pride. After all, we’re just a bunch of people comparing opinions anyway….. Best
Hey Nate, Thanks for the comment.
In regards to this article, I wrote it a long time ago, so now I may not agree 100% with what I wrote here. But even at the time I wrote this, the idea was just that – an idea. I think some people have gotten upset at the idea of comparing a car to bicycle touring (or whatever), but when I wrote this whole thing, it was just my attempt at thinking differently about the way bicycle touring is seen in the eyes of the public… and the way it could possibly be seen in the future. That’s all. But I think it’s awesome that the article, even though it is a coupl years old now, is still getting a lot of action… and getting people to think. Because, after-all, that was the whole point in the first place!
Hi Darren, I think a good way the perception of cycle tourists could be changed would be through exposure to available organized holidays. If more people knew about cycle tours through the Alps, Amazon Mountain Biking or Island Hopping & Biking Tours through Croatia it would soon be a segment of the travel industry that I am sure would soon catch on just from word of mouth. Trying to sell it as a lifestyle might work in Europe but in North America it would definitely have to include additional activities.
D, I have been following your work for some time. I don’t see you as superfical at all. Don’t see how someone could think that because of this one article. It would be nice to be able to tell people I am going from here to there and not have them question my sanity. Of course the sport needs to be reinvented. Continously. That which does not grow is dead. I consider you as one living that dream. It seems that you are merely challenging people to join you who want to. It is natural to want to share joy with others once you have found it. We need to think outside the box and not be limited by those things that we perceive to limit us. Makes sense to me. Where do I sign up? Think outside the box…and the bun for that matter…..