I live in a cycling-friendly town (Redlands, CA) and there are a LOT of bikes out and about every day. There are many more utility cyclists than in the past, but that's not what is new (just good!). The last few months has me seeing something different in the type of cyclist out there. Not the percentage of riders growing (like the utilitistas), but a new sub-genre: The serious hybrid-ist. This person has an upright hybrid bike (sit up and beg bikes as the Germans call them), but aren't a brand new, jump into cycling sort of a person. They look like the average roadie with a Radio Shack, Garmin, etc. jersey on, but are sitting bolt upright on a hybrid. And they are typically riding with other cyclists dressed the same way, but on everyday crabon fibre road bikes (MCRBs).
These cyclers don't look like they're new to the sport, but more like age or ailment has forced them onto a more upright bike. They're too comfortable on a bike and in traffic to be trying out cycling for the first time. Just moving away from the race-inspired drop barred bike. Unfortunately that leaves them little choice in alternative bikes. Basically MTBs or hybrids. They probably have a MTB in the garage, so are choosing a hybrid to get the upright position they need, but with slicks and lighter build than a MTB.
This is where it occurs to me that these people need to discover Rivendell Bikes. Rivendell isn't the bike company of the old and infirmed, it's just that they design their bikes around the idea of letting cyclers get the bars up high and comfortable. Who wouldn't want that? Once you decide that you're not going to get to podium on the local crit, maybe it's time to start thinking about comfort in a bike and what will let you ride it all day and into your dotage. Rivendell will be there for you.