A new study by USA’s Virginia Tech University published in the March issue of the Journal of Transport and Health, paints a disturbing trend in American cycling.
From 2001 to 2017 the number of people cycling increased the fastest among high income, highly educated, employed, white men between the ages 25 and 44.
In 2001, there was no difference in cycling rates between university graduates and people who did not graduate from high school. In 2017 however, cycling was roughly two times more common among college graduates than among those who did not finish high school.
Gran fondo promoters are capitalizing on this trend by offering high priced events to highly educated high income earning cyclists.
For example, Malibu Gran Fondo organized by GFNS/Haute Route costs $235 to ride 96 miles. Gran Fondo Hincapie is $225 for 80 miles. GFNY New York is the most expensive gran fondo in North America, charging upwards of $350 for a 1-day 100-mile ride, making it very difficult, or impossible, for younger cyclists to participate.
Recently on Twitter, a U23 (under 23 years-old) rider, @Brianandthebike, shared his frustration with GFNY promoter Uli Fluhme’s high prices:
The study also discovered a significant decrease in cycling rates among children and young teens aged 5-15. In 2001, 2.4% percent of children rode a bicycle 30 minutes a day on average. By 2017, that figure had dropped to 0.9 percent, a 68% decrease.
But all hope is not lost, a few gran fondo promoters have stepped up to support and encourage youth participation with free or significantly discounted entries.
RBC Granfondo offers U23 riders a $50 entry at Whistler and Silicone Valley instead of the regular $250-300.
Mammoth Gran Fondo offers free entry to riders under 18 and a reasonable $100 entry for everyone else.