A (Stereo)Typology of Cyclists


Image credit Lloyd Alter

There are all kinds of cyclists out there on our roads (and too often on our sidewalks); we have noticed the lycra-clad racers sharing the bikelane with the Copenhagenized cuties and the hipsters on fixies. Ed Wilkinson-Latham of the Toronto Standard attempts to apply some discipline to the typology of cyclists. They include the Lance, The Meanderer, and seven other defined categories of cyclists. Examples:

The Cycle Strumpet
This kind of lass wears something pretty and rides helmetless -- with the wind in her hair, she might imagine she's in the countryside amongst fields and dales, or in some 1960s French New Wave film where all it takes is a look. Maybe she thinks no harm can come to her, because she just looks so cute. Don't get me wrong, I do love seeing these girls out and about because they brighten my day, but I'm also afraid that pretty things can break easily.

Really, Ed should read a bit more Mikael at Copenhagenize. She'll be fine.

Fixie Dicks and Fixie Chicks
These urban rockets in denim cut-off shorts and cycle caps bomb about town on a tasty hand-built single-speed with laptops stored in oversized courier bags, weaving and salmoning, hopping and shouting, as though competitors in some sort of amazing race. Most are a menace to cars and other cyclists alike. Beware of some Fixies after dark, they'll Tron you, (named after the light cycles in Tron). This happens when a rider unexpectedly overtakes you on the left, forcing you to brake before slamming into a parked car. You might also find that you get 'drafted', which is when some twit rides up in your slipstream like he was in a peleton and has the cheek of then ringing his/her bell.

He nailed this one. But in general, while the list is cute, it reminds me of so many of the clichés and stereotypes that the anti-bike types spout every day; I am surprised there is not a Stop sign and traffic light Roadrunner in the bunch. It also misses the largest, and fastest growing segment of cyclists,

the Citizen
You don't really notice them, just ordinary people on ordinary bikes. But they are the real cycling revolution, the ones who for whom the bike is cheap, fast and efficient transportation. Hit the major bike routes at rush hour and you will now see hundreds of them, who would otherwise all be crowding transit or driving cars. They are the majority, and don't fit into any of these silly stereotypes. They are just there, and they should be celebrated.

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Tags: Bikes | Biking | Toronto

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