Think different, goes the Apple slogan. But how?

Well – instead of thinking new, how about thinking old? How about going back to the future?

BBC’s Business Day reports on a fine example. In San Francisco, Delhi, Dubai and elsewhere, a powerful trend is sweeping the world of cycling. Increasing numbers of people are buying “60’s bikes”, or fixed-gear bikes – bicycles that have only one gear, and no way of braking except slowing or dragging a foot. They are simple, tough, durable, and build fitness (imagine riding up a San Francisco hill in first gear!). This trend goes against the trend toward $2,000 18-gear bicycles along with colorful Tour de France fashion in skin-tights, helmets and matching water bottles.

Fixed-gear 60’s bikes are part of what is known as the ‘austerian’ movement – austere is good, less is more, and do with cheap and simple rather than expensive, showy and conspicuous. Austerianism, in turn, is part of the new pro-environment green movement.  

These bicycles are an example of how nostalgia can be a strong basis for innovation, given in particular the growing numbers of older people worldwide.  

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A fixed – gear bicycle: Ultimate simplicity.

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