Haven’t read the article yet, but road racing is definitely down, based on what I think USA Cycling is reporting on number of racing licenses and participants in events.
The fascinating thing about this debate is that I think there are so many factors. Some may be cyclists don’t want to compete in that type of way. Frankly, it’s tough, and it can be demoralizing getting dropped in a long race (I should know lol). I think some have suggested the fondo format, where it can be competitive for some but for others it’s just a good challenge.
I also think it’s worth building up areas of racing that are on the upswing like gravel (although people may not want USAC butting in on gravel). CX seems to be doing really well in New England, we’ve got a great scene, and at the 4/5 level there are guys like me who really train, but there’s equal room for guys who just dabble in it and are not super in shape or competitive, and it’s definitely not as intimidating or demoralizing for someone just trying it out.
On general riding, I anecdotally read places that people prefer to ride inside where there’s no risk of injury. I’ll admit I’ve spent many summer days inside because I prefer to train that way (and not out of any fear of cars or anything), but I think there’s something lost if we all escape to our basements and aren’t out there being seen and getting together.
Anyhow, I’m sure this thread will be entertaining, looking forward to others’ thoughts!