Well, if I didn’t offend any of my cycling/Twitter buddies with my last post, then maybe this one will do it!
Kidding…well, possibly. I don’t like being controvertial but there’s a balance that I want to address. My aim is simply to put forward a different – not better, or worse, just different – point of view and, I hope, to try to get some of us cyclists united, despite our differences.
You see most of the cyclists I seem to have come across online seem to be of the slow, chic, stylish cycling persuasion. They promote cycling as a means of getting from A-to-B and they want to help you do it with the minimum of fuss…and definitely with the minimum of lycra!
And this is a goal which I fully support. People should be able to see cycling as a valid means of transport, and if my own cycle campaigning attempts (when they get underway) are ever to be effective, I’ll need to be seen as someone who can hop on a bike at a moment’s notice and go somewhere, without any fuss.
I DO cycle in my jeans and jumper (note: I probably don’t look cool but that’s more to do with my general lack of dress sense). I do have a heavy, upright, hybrid bike with paniers that I can use as a workhorse for transport.
But, I’m a sports cyclist too. I like to cycle fast. I also have a light, sprightly bike with drop bars and low rolling resistance so that I can be efficient. I like to get my heart pounding as I pull myself up a steep hill. I track my rides, set goals, and go out riding purely for the hell of it.
Darn it, I’m a lycra lout!
I don’t see being a sports cyclist and an “a-to-b” cyclist as being conflicting or contradictory. I think they complement each other well. The fitness I gain from being sporty makes getting from a-to-b easier!
But I’ve read some stuff lately that’s made me feel like I’m inferior for being a sports cyclist. Some of the cycle-chic crowd seem to frown upon light bikes with many gears, but when I got my road bike the acceleration and responsiveness were two of the things I quickly grew to love.
I’m also concerned about the bike fashions being promoted. Riding around in your everyday garb is fine…until it gets dark…or foggy…or it rains.
A few years back, I nearly crashed my car into a cyclist, side on, who was traversing a roundabout at night, with no lights, wearing dark clothes. Ever since, my primary goal when dressing for cycling isn’t to look cool, but it’s to be seen! And my secondary goal is to be comfortable.
This is possibly less of a problem on the continent. They don’t have the English weather to contend with, and their better cycling infrastructure makes it much safer to ride at night.
I confess, I love all the Copenhagen and Amsterdam stuff. It’s brilliant, and it’s great for showing people what everyday cycling could be like. I love that cycling can actually have universal appeal. And I will use the valuable resources that are onlinefor showcasing cycling chic because they are incredibly cool.
And I also confess that there are probably road cyclists out there who turn thir noses up at people with big, heavy, practical, cool-looking bikes – I hope you won’t count me among them.
But for the sake of appearing united as cyclists, I’d like to see a little more respect for those of us that like to get a bit of speed and sweat on. Sometimes we’re just trying to get from A-to-B too!
Perhaps, even, the roadies and the cycle-chic crowd could get together and gang up on the really silly cyclists…the mountain bikers!!! 😉