I never mounted a bike because I wanted to save the environment. It doesn’t mean I am indifferent to water shortage crises and polluted air. But I’m not cycling daily for a save the earth crusade.
Just Never Comfortable Driving a Car
No, I’m just a person who was never comfortable with driving a car. I didn’t want to cope with fast highway driving and myriad visual distractions beside, ahead and behind me, as a driver. So I gave up my driver’s license in my early 20’s. So car-free was a choice for my own safety and others.
On top of the stereotype, that all cyclists are tree-huggers, is the branding of cyclists, as left-wing political nuts who hate urban sprawl, freeways, pick –up trucks, guns. How wrong could you be about cyclists?
Cyclists Can be Gun-Lovers
Let me tell you, guns and bikes do mix in some cycling circles. At least in their conversation.
For the past decade, I’ve occasionally hung around in an Internet forum of primarily American guy- cyclists. I can’t even begin to tell you, the number times some of these guys who have casually bragged about their gun(s) locked safely away inside their house. There is no way, they could ever have their gun(s) fired off by accident in their family. Whatever.
Gun-love among some cyclists was an eye-opener to me. Some cyclists own several guns even though they genuinely are professed liberals, think flying the Confederate flag is dumb-ass backward, understand and want better public health insurance in the U.S. Or may be not.
Trashing Other Cyclists
At times, there may be the trashing or restrained belittling of other cyclists. Cyclists in jeans or skirts, airily sniffing at cyclists who wear consistently wear lycra-Spandex and cycling tops. And vice versa. Thankfully in cycling-intensive cities, these internal divisions tend to fall apart.
There are some men who are ricocheting off the wall with comments that are insulting to female cyclists, ie. “ride like a girl” or getting “chicked” by women cyclist –meaning getting passed by a woman cyclist. Why pity the bruised guy ego? Unless it’s a little boy who needs to learn little girls can ride well too. Or you are all riding in a group, in a spirit of mutual support.
Misled by Woman Cyclist with Bike Handlebar Basket
The world of women and girls on bikes, is as diverse as men. Women who crochet, bake bread and sew, can be tearing up the hill and tracks as much as women (or are the same women) who have jobs as professionals in health care or engineering.
Never underestimate the woman riding leisurely in a fluttering long skirt on an upright bike with a woven straw handlebar basket . She may also have 3 other bikes in her stable. Maybe even a carbon racing bike, worth over $3,000. Women who cycle a lot over the years, may end up buying and riding a second bike a few years later. Or sooner than that –when she realizes she needs a better bike for riding agility, comfort and speed. I see this a lot in women’s cycling circles. If they can afford it, they will buy a second bike. It’s cheaper than buying several pairs of leather shoes, several dresses or a second car.
Cyclist is More than Their Clothing
I’m certain with my preference for wearing cycling jerseys most of the time, has led some observers believe that I’m more sports-oriented cyclist. While I do find cycling convenient for fitness, bike vacation trips and commuting everywhere , I’m often slower than some other cyclists whizzing by. I wear cycling clothing, because I just don’t want to ruin expensive dress tops with sweat rings. I’m neither racer nor hipster-cool fixie bike cyclist.
Ties that Bind Cyclists
What tends to be a running thread that touches all cyclists:
- love riding their favourite bikes in all sizes, shapes and colours.
- need to be safe on the road and wherever we cycle. While some cyclists are spinning out their bravado carelessly in flips and dives down the trails, through snow or among congested car traffic, they do know at the back of their mind, they want to be alive.
They want to be comfortable when Nature blows rain, wind and snow while they are cycling. After all, cyclists are just people, like you.