Teaching children how to ride a bicycle is the solution for ensuring the future of motorcycling, according to American motorcycle industry guru Robert Pandya.
He points to the All Kids Bike program in the US which is striving to get every child to learn to ride a bicycle in kindergarten PE class.
“If every boy and girl, regardless of family wealth, religion or race learns how to ride, ridership will grow very fast in just a few years,” says Robert, a former Indian Motorcycle executive and now a senior motorcycle industry consultant.
“Dirt bikes will start selling, family riding will increase, riding parks will be created and we will be in a growth curve again.
“The pure joy of your ‘knees in the breeze’ will draw more people into cycling and ultimately motorcycling.”
Kids not riding
In 1969, 50% of US kids rode bikes to school, but now it’s 13%.
School bike racks used to be full. Now there is hardly a bicycle in sight!
If more children rode to school, just think how much better commuting would be, especially the morning commute which clashes with school times.
Consider how much easier traffic flows during school holidays.
Teaching is a long-term gain
We agree with Robert and believe Australia should follow the All Kids Bike program of teaching children to ride to safeguard the future of motorcycling.
However, Robert points out that teaching kids to ride is a long-term solution that does not address the “stale inventory” sitting in warehouses.
“Thus managers are forced to focus short-term which leaves us where we are today,” he says.
Robert believes that, without a generation of youth who can ride on two wheels, the next global financial crisis could crush the motorcycle leisure industry.
Recruit new riders
In the shorter term, he says it is up to riders to encourage others to ride.
“The future of motorcycling will not come from our relatively small industry trying to get the 97% of us who are not enthusiasts to learn to ride, but from getting the 3% of us who do ride to actively recruit new riders to get us to 4%,” he says.
“That 1/3 increase on market would make many currently fraught sales directors downright giddy.
“We are working in a time when three generations are fighting through their own definitions of fun on a motorcycle.
“As boomer management finally leaves, will the GenX manager realise how poorly current 40/50-year-olds were marketed to?
“No wonder their Millennial kids are quite often not inclined to own or operate vehicles.
“Easy fix my friends – implore every rider to do what they can to add one new rider per year. Challenge, incentive and recognise those who do. Then do it again the next year.”