"It's the people, it's the weather," says cycling guru Gerry Pease as he tries to explain the explosion of bizarre bikes and peculiar trikes parading up and down the streets of-where else?-Southern California. From one-of-a-kind experimentals to super-speedy recumbents (so called because of the cyclist's position), from snazzy lowriders to kamikaze-like gravity bikes, cyclists have taken old ideas and transformed them into transportation with a twist.
Aficionados of these bicycle mutations have clubs, Internet websites, magazines and regular gatherings for information exchange and showing off. Art galleries are even organizing exhibitions to display some of the best designs and most innovative ideas. One gallery suggests guests arrive at the opening on their bicycle of choice.
Jeff Della Penna, director of the American Bicycle and Cycling Museum in Santa Fe, praises the innovators for their amazing creativity. "These subcultures are the reason that bicycling is so fun and exciting. But there is also a downside," he continues. "The groups don't coalesce to lobby for more recognition of bicyclist rights on the road or other safety issues. However, there is no question that the future of bicycling is limited only by the imagination of cyclists, and I can't wait to see what happens next."