Tuesday, March 11, 2008

a few kinds of white bicyclists

a brief description of different kinds of white bicyclists, inspired by this wonderful list item:


#1 the artsy types on the single gear old fashioned bikes (such as a used beach cruiser) who pedal around serenely, almost without fail not wearing a helmet. maybe they think it’s 1912 and they’re living in southern france, where they are biking to the bakery for baguettes or to the art supply store for paintbrushes? they pedal around my town, usually near the organic grocery store, clothing stores, cafes, and rock clubs. in addition to not wearing helmets ( in fear that it will clash with their cultivated indie look?), they rarely if ever have mirrors or lights on their bikes. they do like the wire basket affixed to the front handlebars, or the milk crate strapped down atop their back tire. they never seem to exert much energy when they bike, and like to lean back somewhat and glide serenely along, seemingly unconcerned by the suvs and other cars that motor around them.

#2 the armstrongites, pencil thin white men in brightly colored spandex, ultra thin bike frames with toe clips, and super intense looks on their faces as they slice along the shoulder of the road. these are the kind who'll take that 20 or 30 mile ride on the weekends, usually with the same buddy they play racquetball or tennis with. these guys buy the $5000+ bikes.

#3 the neurotic, super risk averse biker, who affixes that silly orange wire flag that sticks out a foot or two to the left, a sort of middle finger telling cars not to get too close. these bikers will often have saddle bags on either side of the wheel, and are the types who bike to and from work, not for fun or exercise per se. you'll see these guys in the rain, in the cold, and primarily on the road during rush hour.

#4 the holier than thou biker, probably male and late 20’s-middle 30’s who feels a self-righteous superiority to all the traffic, and who pushes the envelope in terms of boldness, basically insisting on equal treatment and swelling with hostile indignation whenever he perceives any sort of challenge from traffic. here in the south, these are the guys most likely to get their asses kicked by rednecks or hit by preoccupied drivers.

#5 the parents out biking with their young kids on the various community trails. their kids will always have helmets on, but it’s a 50-50 chance of the parents wearing them, so they’re unwittingly sending their kids the message that safety is kids' stuff, something to be grown out of.

#6 the horizontal biker. nearly always male, usually early 40's. these guys are basically lying down and really easy to miss in traffic. why use this sort of bike? desire to be different? back problems?

#7 the urban messenger. 20's to early 30's. Could and probably does play in a hardcore/punk/alternative band, and will probably either have a shaved head or dreadlocks. Dodges and weaves through the urban obstacle course like frogger.

and then there are the overly courteous drivers, who will wait at intersections for way too long just to give bikers the right of way, or will be too timid to pass even though there's no one in the other lane to their left, or they will actually stop and let the biker make a left turn when they are approaching and have the right of way. you just know these kind of drivers are bleeding heart liberals who feel guilty for merely being in a car when the biker is out there "saving the world."

1 comment:

i zimbra said...

I feel guilty for being helmet-less for so long. I was such an idiot. Thanks for the campaign against my stupidity - I'm dead serious.