Urban Velo

Budnitz Bicycles Nostalgia is Death

I’ve said it a lot myself — none of us invented the bicycle, and it’s backwards to discourage new people from enjoying cycling through some sort of elitism about how it used to be. Everyone turns on to bikes at different times, and now just happens to be a boom. Paul Budnitz has a blog post up about his feelings on the sometimes established cyclist backlash that is worth the read.

One of the other things I’ve noticed is that some of the original cyclists, the same pioneers who were riding single speeds to punk shows long before Manhattan had its first bike path, have begun to feel angry and left out. Instead of welcoming the new masses on bikes, these old timers look wistfully to the good ol’ days when bicycling was dangerous, exclusive, and when you couldn’t lock a bike on the street for more than 20 minutes without someone trying to take it.

Unfortunately, when something alternative becomes popular, innovators who are unable to muster the energy to move on instead hold on to the past, and do everything they can to attack those who they perceive are involved in the new wave. This always strikes me as sad and ironic, and a little pathetic.

Rebels become conservatives. Open minds close.

Read more at blog.budnitzbicycles.com


  1. S. MolnarOctober 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I’m no expert, but this looks like a straw man argument to me. I’m not sure when Manhattan had its first bike path (help, anyone?), but there was one in Brooklyn in 1894. It would have been used exclusively by fixed-gear riders, not single-speeds; I don’t know what a punk show is, but I’m guessing they were not popular in NYC in 1894. You can argue whether the original cyclists predated the penny-farthing, but however you define them, they are certainly all dead now, so who can blame them for feeling angry and left out?

  2. RudyOctober 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    …and the way to fight this nostalgia is to convince the masses to buy $5000 city bikes.

  3. Pink RobeOctober 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Odd. Everyone I know wants to get as many people into cycling as possible, all the time. We donate parts, loan bikes, hand out blinkies, help plot routes from home to work and back. For every elitist there are 10 enablers…

  4. MasonOctober 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve never experienced cyclist backlash from any urban cyclist. A little backlash from some Freds, maybe, but not from anybody riding for transportation or fun.
    Budnitz seems to be making a name and career out of, in essence, being a troll. I remember him starting out by decrying how conservative bicycle designers are being in their shapes– an argument akin to decrying how conservative luthiers are with violin design or toolmakers are with hammer design. The bicycle has arrived at it’s current geometries through a century-plus of failures. For somebody to brag about changing it up for the sake of it is akin to making a hammer with a square handle.
    For further reading– I recommend Bike Snob’s recent Budnitz review.

  5. CmonFeatOctober 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I’m guessing the “backlash” he’s referring to is the backlash he’s receiving from people within the cycling community. In general, it’s coming from people who think a $5k, Ti, city bike is an absurd waste of money.

    I’m blown away that he would put himself in the same category as Rivendel or Vanilla. Just because your at (or above) their price point, does not make what you do worthwhile.

    Get over yourself dude, the backlash isn’t due to nostalgia or elitism, it’s because you’re trying to take advantage new cyclists with money to burn.

  6. Andrew OaklandOctober 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I don’t understand why any of those Budnitz bikes needs two bottle cage mounts.

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