The current design disconnect between the sport of bicycle racing and recreational riding is not big enough. If racers are 1% of the cycling consumer base, it stands to reason that the average bike should barely be influenced by the specter of the lycra crowd. Somehow that is not the case. I’d say 1 in 100 cyclists max will ever even do these occasional races, yet the idea of speed and racing permeates the very fabric of what it means to be a cyclist today. We are defined by something most of us will never partake in. It’s like if one dude at your office wears black jeans and only listens to death metal, but somehow your whole office culture is based around his identity. It makes no sense.
Bikes were invented to get outside and have fun. Races came along later, then they took over everything. Design, mentality, clothing, events, all of it. Races can be fun, but everyone has to be in on the fun. Otherwise it’s like a one sided joke where someone ends up getting hurt and everyone else is laughing. The real winners are the ones who had fun on the ride, not the ones with the fastest time.
Tanglefoot exists because it needs to. Because bikes shouldn’t be one hit wonders. The bike industry ignores a huge swath of riders who don’t want to look like space clowns. Folks who are uncomfortable in lycra and armor and funny shoes, helmets with more vents than sense, shifters that make robot noises, bikes they have to plug in. They want to ride in whatever shorts they have on, and an old wool sweater that smells like a campfire, not like a locker room.
Retro-Futurism demands that current needs accept responsibility for future demands. The future demands goods made to last. It demands we design products that will stay out of landfills, be repaired, and ultimately recycled or composted. We don’t need more landfill fodder.