Transportation bikes, less a style more an ethos

Reflecting back on Cycle, the London bike show at Earls Court, I was reading Carlton Reid’s thoughts over on and I think he’s right about how the industry is missing a coming trend:

“Don’t get me wrong, aspirational bikes are good and a show stuffed with stealth black hybrids and Dutch roadsters would turn off the techies, but if Joe Breeze is right, ‘transportation bikes’ will become a bigger category than the mountain bike was in the ’80s and ’90s. If so, the bike trade is in the pre-MTB phase of largely ignoring what’s staring them in the face.”

But where I disagree is on what constitutes a “transportation bike”. For me any bike has the potential to be a transportation bike rather than a specific style of bike, as seems to be the way they are presented at present. The brief that I would put together for one is less a feature of design as an ethic of use:

A transportation bike is any bicycle that can transport the rider and their goods safely between two points without requiring them to adapt their mode of clothing to do so.

Based on that I’d argue that the trend is a change in philosophy of use, rather than the specific type of bike in use. And coming back to Carlton’s view that the industry is missing a trick this was most evident in the sector where I think there’s scope for huge invention: accessories.

Looking around the show I didn’t see many of those things that make life easy for people to use their bike for transportation everywhere: luggage, racks, clothing, lighting, mudguards. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough.

There were a few items which I think are already ahead of the curve. For example, the Knog lights which I’m thinking of investing in. They’ve got what I’d call a “non-proprietary fixing” which I think is their brilliant USP: no need for an annoying bracket that only works with one brand of light and which is a right bugger to replace if it goes missing or gets broken/stolen.

You can buy them from the London Cycle Chic Shop from as little as 7 GBP.

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