Future of American Hobbies
The March 2013 issue of Cycle World magazine had a feature article on small displacement motorcycles. The narrative of the story is that many new or returning riders are getting involved in motorcycling with these new small bikes. The article can be found here at the cycle world website.
The article opens with this;
It was Ernest Hemingway’s pal Gertrude Stein, according to Wikipedia, who took her car to a Parisian shop to have some work done. Unimpressed by the repair, she complained to the shop owner, who then yelled at his young mechanic: “You are all a génération perdue!”— a lost generation. Those in their 20s and 30s today aren’t suffering from collective PTSD brought on by WWI, since many of them didn’t go to war, but they probably have played enough “Call of Duty” that they’ll think they did 40 years from now.
Apart from the rise of the video game and reddit.com, a forest of condos and strip malls that sprang up on the vacant lots where many of us learned to ride years ago didn’t help steer kids into motorcycling. And the ascension of the sealed-for-life Camry didn’t lead any new Bruce Springsteens to claim they’d found the secret to the universe in the engine of an old parked car. To pound the nail home, the economic meltdown of the past half-decade has been particularly tough on the young people and blue-collar dudes who once were the biggest buyers of motorcycles.
This is no doubt true. Life has changed in 40 years and people just don’t do things they way they used to. This poses an interesting question.
What will the hobbies of those growing up today be in the future?
My father recently bought himself a classic car to restore. Something he’s long wanted to do but didn’t have the time or money for. Several neighbors are hunters and own farm property up-north, then there are those of that generation whose adolescent interests were motorcycles, radios, and more. As American males have aged they’ve returned to these interests when they could indulge themselves with them.
As the writer of the above piece mentions the strip malls and Camry’s of today are uninspiring and bland, so what will the hobbies of the future be. What will todays young men return to in 20 years? Will they restore Xbox’s, refurbish sneakers, collect igadgets.
Call me crazy but it doesn’t seem like they’ll have much to do that will be exciting. Todays younger generation is increasingly less interested in things like cars and less of them grow up in the rural countryside with tractors and farms. It seems like whatever hobbies they have in the future will be boring and done within the living room and not the garage or barn workshop.