East Bay "after work" ridership nosedives 50%- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    East Bay "after work" ridership nosedives 50%

    I brought up the topic of a stunning decline in ridership over the past 3 years in another thread a couple months ago.
    I thought perhaps with the better light and weather of the summer the trend would reverse, but instead this week it seems there are even less riders than in the Spring.
    Just 2 or 3 years ago you would see loads of riders in groups and singles riding from 4:30pm to 7:00pm on week days. Now, its just dramatic how much the trail riding has declined after work.
    I've heard various explanations, such as the dot-com bust and others saying more riders are riding road bikes......but however you slice it the decline is just plain dramatic.
    If the present ridership is any indication of mountain bike sales in the local bike shops, then they must either be hurting bad or are exhisting on road bike sales and service.
    Other wise I would guess their sales and service income from mountain bikes has been cut by more than half in the past 3 years.

    Some areas may not be experiencing as big a decline as I've seen around the Lake Chabot to Redwood Park area of the East Bay hills.
    Its getting lonely out there. I never felt that way and usually rode alone because there were always lots of people to talk to at various points on the trails, but now even if you stop at the usual "stopping places" you can wait for 20-30 minutes before anyone else may come by. There isn't anyone to even catch-up to anymore. I'd even accept getting caught just to liven up the place.

    The weekends are a bit busier but even there I'd say the ridership is also down close to 50%.
    No wonder everyone is getting fat with so little riding.
    I suppose I'll have to start riding more on the roads to enjoy the company of seeing others doing the same.
    Where is everyone getting their exercise if they aren't riding......bowling ? Golf?
    The golf course seems to be busy, but I just can't do that for exercise. Every time I stop my ride at the CV golf course, all I see are golfers with huge bellies coming out of the snack bar with sandwichs as they begin their round of "exercise" in the cart.

    Over 60% of adults are overweight and from the looks of the mountain biking attendence its heading for 70% in the future...Unless the low-carb diets actually work.....Sure they do, in 10 years everyone will be skinny!

    The only thing that can save the situation is if Lance wins #6.....Then everyone will be buying a new road bike.

  2. #2
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    I would not know since I started riding weekdays only this year. However, I can testify that it's pretty lonely in lake Chabot on Wednesday nights. I was kind of hesitant to ride Loggers Loop because I figured I'd be all alone for a while down there if anything happened.

    Anyway, if anybody wants to ride wednesday nights around 6pm with a slow poke like me (1.5 hr for the 13 miles around the lake), I usually start from the parking lot across the rangers station. I'm taking a couple weeks off, but I'll start again mid July.

  3. #3
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    Sales are down...

    On other forums, folks in the industry have stated that no one is selling a lot of bikes these days...they were attributing it to the economy, but maybe it's due to a loss of interest in the sport?

  4. #4

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    The "Baby Boom" Bust?

    Quote Originally Posted by Appendage
    On other forums, folks in the industry have stated that no one is selling a lot of bikes these days...they were attributing it to the economy, but maybe it's due to a loss of interest in the sport?
    Perhaps its just demographics. As the baby-boomers began hitting their 40's they turned from running which was ruining their knees....to riding mountain bikes.
    So from the early 90's they began to grow the sport and now as they are getting into their 50's they are giving up any strenous activity....aka....wimping out.

    The guys who used to have that "fire in the belly"......now, just have the belly.
    They are the guys I see walking out of the restaurant/snack-bar at the CV golf course, eating a huge sandwich to give them the energy to do 18 holes of golf in a cart.
    66% of them are full figured guys.....
    In fact, I can no longer get my orginal fit 501 Levis because even Levis has given in and made the "orginal fit 501" Levis with a bigger butt... Bigger butts are in and riding mountain bikes is out.

    So as a 50+ Baby Boomer, I can see the writing on the wall. The decline in mountain biking as a 2-3 times a week sport/exercise is on the decline and I suspect we are less than half way to the eventual bottom.

    As I said, my estimate is that the numbers doing the regular loops now is, at best, 50% of what it was in 2001 and I am betting that by 2010, just 5.5 years from now it will be halved again, leaving the number of regular riders doing loops at perhaps only 25% of the numbers in 2000- 2001.
    Imagine a sport declining by 75% over just 10 years....And I don't see anything in the younger set that will interfere with that trend. If anything, younger folks are doing less and less outdoor exercise, especially if it requires pedaling up hills without a motor or a monitor.
    Furthermore, at best, this is Lances last year with a chance to win the Tour....
    After few years where a winning American is not in the news, and you can also expect the road biking to begin to decline.....
    Expect half the bike shops around to be out of business by 2014, only 10 years from now.

    Me, I guess I'll just have to find some new motivation to replace my present one, making the "twenty-something" young punks eat my dust!!! LOL

    So where is the next frontier of exercise for those of us over age 50?
    Last edited by Chester; 07-01-2004 at 12:41 PM. Reason: correction

  5. #5
    jrm
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    There been a large out migration of people in the BA

    Many cities west of Diablo have actually lost population. less people less people recreating..less people riding..good that leaves more for those of us stilll here. Still cant affrod a house but the trails are empty.

    PS: i cant say enough abou the additional number of people i see on road bikes during the week and weekends..though.

  6. #6

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    Hmmm.........nice theory but

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm
    Many cities west of Diablo have actually lost population. less people less people recreating..less people riding..good that leaves more for those of us stilll here. Still cant affrod a house but the trails are empty.

    PS: i cant say enough abou the additional number of people i see on road bikes during the week and weekends..though.
    With jobs being lost, some people have indeed left the area, but we're only talking about 1 to 2 percent of the population whereas the drop in mountain biking is closer to 50% from what I can see. Now I do admit some of that 1 to 2 % drop might be of younger 25-35 year old workers who also might have been riders, but I think that even among those still around the percent riding has dropped a huge chunk.......

  7. #7
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    Well, Redwood Park has become (again) a boring, sanitzed loop peppered with floppy hats
    and the recently, Mountain Lion(s). I think the scene has moved underground again. People who stay with the sport quickly move on from these types of rides, as clearly, the public parks near urban areas are hardly bike-friendly or challenging.

  8. #8

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    Why mountain bike on the trails when you can do it at home on an X-box? Just kidding! I to am one of the 35 YO former riders who just got back into the sport. Not having someone to crash into on the trails has taken all the fun out of riding! Just kidding again! I rather enjoy a lonely trail ride in the afternoon with no disruption. I would suggest we all enjoy it while it lasts. The sport will pick up again.

  9. #9
    jrm
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    Not a theorie..

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester
    With jobs being lost, some people have indeed left the area, but we're only talking about 1 to 2 percent of the population whereas the drop in mountain biking is closer to 50% from what I can see. Now I do admit some of that 1 to 2 % drop might be of younger 25-35 year old workers who also might have been riders, but I think that even among those still around the percent riding has dropped a huge chunk.......
    But the number/ percentage of current riders is a subset of the demographic that ive stated. It just depends on whether your "population" is regional or statewide. If i interpret your "population" as regional then it makes sense..

  10. #10
    jrm
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    yeah Redwood sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by DH40
    Well, Redwood Park has become (again) a boring, sanitzed loop peppered with floppy hats
    and the recently, Mountain Lion(s). I think the scene has moved underground again. People who stay with the sport quickly move on from these types of rides, as clearly, the public parks near urban areas are hardly bike-friendly or challenging.
    Theres pretty good riding in the EB hills but it has to be poached.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by webshot
    Why mountain bike on the trails when you can do it at home on an X-box? Just kidding! I to am one of the 35 YO former riders who just got back into the sport. Not having someone to crash into on the trails has taken all the fun out of riding! Just kidding again! I rather enjoy a lonely trail ride in the afternoon with no disruption. I would suggest we all enjoy it while it lasts. The sport will pick up again.
    Actually, since I try to ride during weekday evenings, I would not mind seeing a few more people, just in case something happens.

  12. #12

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    Uhhh........what was that again?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm
    But the number/ percentage of current riders is a subset of the demographic that ive stated. It just depends on whether your "population" is regional or statewide. If i interpret your "population" as regional then it makes sense..
    Your post leaves me kind of confused about what you just said...

    Bottom line is as follows.......West of Diablo and east of San Francisco......Those hills and trails, have seen a large drop in mountain biking among all age groups.
    Some of it may be due to the dot.com bust where 25 to 45 year old workers have left the area, but even in that group the numbers that have left the area only amount to about 1 to 3 % max........so to see a 40-50% drop in riding by that same group still means there has been a huge drop in riding all other factors accounted for.

    Unless all the people who left the area.....were ALL mountain bikers.....then the drop in the sport is huge. Perhaps a secret order went out among employers to fire all mountain bikers.........
    But if that was the case, then many of the fired mountain bikers would still be in the area and riding more than ever since they'd have all day to do nothing but ride :-)

    I'll look when I'm riding for "nerds with heavy beard growth" as a sign of fired software programers out riding...
    Perhaps someone is killing mountain bikers and the newspapers are covering up the story because of pressure from anti-mountain biking enviromental groups.
    Come to think of it, perhaps a secret sect of enviromentalists are kidnapping mountain bikers and paying for their exploits by selling the bikes on eBay.....an explosive story if TRUE......AND I've seen nothing to dispute this theory...

    Lets all ask around when we ride for signs of struggle. Stay alert.....stay vigilant.....
    Together we survive, but separately they'll pick us off one by one until they take over all trails...for their exclusive "hiker only" philosophy....

    We are watching........"Don't tread on us"

  13. #13
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    I've been riding some quick loops in Fremont Older down near Cupertino after work. This is my first year riding, but that trail is quite crowded in the evenings. Seems like when I show up around 6:30, there's aways a group or single riders both leaving and entering the trail.

    No, it's not very technical (unless you go looking for it), but there are some good singletrack sections mixed in with fireroads, climbs, swoopy decents, etc. Definitely fun for after work.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8Trak
    I've been riding some quick loops in Fremont Older down near Cupertino after work. This is my first year riding, but that trail is quite crowded in the evenings. Seems like when I show up around 6:30, there's aways a group or single riders both leaving and entering the trail.

    No, it's not very technical (unless you go looking for it), but there are some good singletrack sections mixed in with fireroads, climbs, swoopy decents, etc. Definitely fun for after work.
    There's not much technical riding in the east bay, especially with all the sanitization. So if all I'm getting is a workout, I can go to the gym or ride on the road for that...Joaquin Miller is about all that's left. I've also taken to the road much more often because it is quicker (since i live in Livermore, it takes awhile to get anywhere with good riding).

  15. #15
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    I just realized that I am disappearing, too.

    I live right outside the Alvarado enterance to Wildcat/Tilden. I have been riding that Canyon for 10 years and have a new Stumpjumper Pro/Disc. This is from my riding log last week.
    Monday-Rest
    Tuesday-Inspriation Pt RT(roundtrip 15 miles.) 1.5 hours. Dirt
    Wednesday-Pine Mtn (Marin) et al. 4 hours. Dirt.
    Thursday-San pablo Dam Rd/Wildcat/Arlinton 23 miles. 1.5 hrs. Road
    Friday-Grizz/Redwood/Pinehurst. RT. 44 miles 3 45. Road
    Saturday-Bay Trail.2 hrs. 22 miles Road on Stump
    Sunday-White Hill/San Geronimo. 3.5 hr. Dirt.
    Road is a great workout with little or no maintanance and prep. Marin Dirt.....well, hard to ignore that. Wildcat Canyon is a quick Jones. I used to ride it 2 plus times a week.

  16. #16
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    not many people period

    You can find me riding JM 5 days a week, and sometimes in Redwood. I rarely see any hikers and very little bikers. It could be because I go in the middle of the day, so I don't run into people going down Cinderella of Chapparelle.....

    I did see about thirty or so cyclists at the top of Cindy on July 4, though....

  17. #17
    Hella Olde
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    "Things seems so much different now, the scene has died away....I haven't got a steady job and I've got no place to stay" -Agent Orange "Bloodstains" (before they sucked, but I digress......)

    Things aren't quite that bad yet...but the new blood in the sport is definately
    a hybrid of young and old (me and my friends being the 'old') Urban Assault / DH /DJ crowd looking for a somewhat different riding experience. I used to ride a Cannondale HT in Redwood/JM/Wildcat in the mid 90's when that was a common sight. Now we ride Montara or underground (not poached, just ambigious or private) spots or travel to MTB 'destinations' like N*, DV, Tahoe or beyond. The MTB explosion came and went rendering many 'Park' spots illegal in it's wake and a lot of casual riders disillusioned and unwilling to take the sport to the next level of all-consuming passion and/or racing, etc.

    Let it evolve...hell, even I am glued to OLN twice a day for the TDF!

  18. #18
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    lacking inspriation

    i live in castro valley right on the hayward border by centenial hall. the closest trail i know of is the one at the plunge that no one else seems to like. i have a hell of a time getting people to go there with me and just as hard a time aquiring the will to go there on my own. i find myself having the biggest problem getting along with other riders, there's the rich people that can't be seen on last years equipment, there's the dh/fr crowd that is very closed minded to the rest of the sport e.g. if you don't go huge they don't like you, there is the bitter old crowd and there is crowd of racers that remind me of jockeys. now personally i am happy riding anything from bmx to just getting out on a trail with some people and i don't care how people ride or what they ride and i don't care that people don't wanna do big drops or what have you. if i could just find some people that are genuinly cool i'd be all good. i'd like to get back into riding and find some open minded people that don't care about the minor details as long as you're out on the trail with them. that is why i don't ride very much anymore. any cool people wanna go ride?

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