Bike people come in different breeds. More often than not, they are incorrectly thrown in together into the same general bracket of lycra-wearing, two wheel enthusiasts. This is simply not true. In my experience, bike people come in a number of different forms. It’s Tour de France time people and it’s time to get to know your fellow biking humans.
The High Nelly Hippy
Otherwise known as the extremely well-dressed, no helmet-wearing, chilled out commuter, who will typically be seen wearing a messenger (or satchel) bag and could easily be assumed to have spent more time checking their outfit out in the mirror before they left the house than actually riding the bike itself. The posh poser who enjoys being seen about town and showing off their antique travelator.
Mostly spotted during rush hour in urban centres. Identifiable by gritted teeth, trouser leg cuffs and a body rocking movement that screams I’m only doing this because I have to and I have no time for such madness as taking one’s bike out at weekend for “fun”. Hate the bus, have no parking space at work and this is my way of getting in some exercise for the day. Job done. Now pass me the wine.
Similar to the hipsters, these folks are noticeable by how high they sit on their rented city bikes and their lack of head protection. Big smiley heads, gazing all around them as they bounce along Dublin city’s quays, blissfully unaware of the sheer amount of times they will have narrowly escaped being squished by a bus or catapulted into the Liffey by an impatient taxi driver.
The Middle Age Effort
These guys deserve their own category. You know who I mean. The middle-aged man wearing lycra from head to toe, clad in top of the range gear and churning out serious quantities of sweat as they grind those pedals around. Sure, it can look messy at times but I can’t but respect the effort.
The Weekend Couples and Hobbyists
Can be spotted not too far from towns, in parks and around racecourses. Identifiable by normal daily wear, loose ill-fitted helmets and often a high-viz waistcoat. Typically on a rented bike, a mountain bike or “town” bike that’s borrowed, the wrong size for them or in need of saddle height adjustment. Out for a nice jaunt and to soak up a few minutes of sun before stopping off at a local coffee shop for refreshment and a nice sticky bun.
The Cycling Enthusiast
The cycling clothes, the bike and most importantly, the legs. If you ever find yourself questioning the calibre of a cyclist, just look at the legs. The muscles, the veins and the pronouncements, from which there is just no hiding from. Oh and the tan lines – a dead giveaway. These folks take long cycles at weekends, starting very early on Sunday mornings, as well as getting in some time on the bike on weekday evenings or in the commute to work. Lovers of the sport, lovers of their time away on the bike and inherently sadistic. They seek out pain, enjoy it and then push through it to get to reach a whole other transcendental level of pain.
I’m a wannabe cycling enthusiast. My bike is only a humble entry level number and my gear likewise. Nor is my weekly mileage yet worthy of mentioning. I’m a weekend hero and love getting out on the bike Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings for long stretches. As of last week, I also started commuting to work on the bike, which works out at 26km each way before and after a 12 hour shift.
Confession of the day: I did nearly die the night I finished work for the week after having cycled to and from work 2 days in a row. It bucketed rain (and I do mean someone must have been gleefully dumping buckets of rain from the heavens!) on the 2 days that I cycled to work and I was squelchy wet and exhausted when I got home on Wednesday. Immensely self-satisfied with my gladiatorial achievements, but completely whacked.
Much work to be done! But the way I see it – the more time and effort I spend on the bike, the more justified I’ll feel when I decide to upgrade my bike 😉