I’d never been asked this question before so I wasn’t sure how to answer it. What type of cyclist am I? If I asked you what type of cyclist you were, would you know the answer?
This week I attended an event titled The Secret Life of Cyclists at The House of St Barnabas in London. On the panel were ITV’s Tour de France presenter Gary Imlach, cycling expert and presenter Rebecca Charlton and ex-Brixton Cycles co op member and cycling instructor Barnaby Stutter.
The panel discussion explored the tribes and tensions surrounding modern cycling.
Why is it dominated by middle aged men in lycra? Why is there such tension between motorists and cyclists, and what can we do to all just get along?
What’s a ‘fixie mincer’? Who’s in the ‘high-vis’ brigade’? And the big one:
Can we create a truly cycle-first country like the Netherlands and change us from being cyclists to just ‘people on bikes?’
A few interesting points came up during the evening, not least the first question we were all asked on the piece of paper we were given at the door:
What type of cyclist are you?
I spent a fair amount of time faffing about asking people what they were writing before putting something annoying like ‘an outdoor-loving, endorphin-fiend on the hunt for fun, flow and fitness’. It got read out wrong (journalist Stephen Armstrong, leading the panel, said ‘endorphin friend’ which still kinda works, I guess?).
And then he asked the panel what ‘full sus mtb’ meant when reading out my kit list – it was that moment I realised there were few of my ‘type’ of cyclist in the room.
I do find it strange when people only ride road or mtb and not both.
I couldn’t live without my trusty roadie, it’s my commuter, my long ride steed, my tri and turbo bike, all rolled into one. It’s served me well these past three years and I do really enjoy road cycling and the access it provides.
A lovely rolling country lane on a sunny summer’s evening, or beachside cycle lane with a tailwind behind me – have some of that, yes please.
But mountain biking. Oh how I love thee.
Pure, unfiltered joy. Back to being a kid again in the great outdoors. A special kind of freedom that lights up my soul and scares and excites me in equal measures.
If you don’t know what ‘mtb’ means, you’re missing out, my friend.
So I guess in my heart then, I’m a mountain biker who just happens to ride her road bike more often.
Daily, in fact. I’ve always been confident riding on the road. Traffic doesn’t scare me, I’ve been road riding since I was a kid thanks to taking my cycling proficiency at primary school. I like to think that as long as I don’t ride like a dick I should be fine?
Interesting stat from the evening: in the Netherlands 100% of children take their cycling proficiency, compared to just 10% in the UK.
Just think about that. What if 100% of children here learnt to ride on the road early on? Do you think more people would be cycling to work instead of making the two-mile journey by car right now? (That was another interesting stat – apparently most car journeys in London are under two miles!)
Mind you, saying that, London has seen huge cycling growth in recent years – stats like this are testament to that progress at least. And there’s plenty of us cyclists in Brighton, even more now with the new Brighton Bike Share scheme.
So… going back to the original question:
What type of cyclist am I?
I’m a cyclist who currently has three bikes: my trusty steed Giant Avail 3; my babe, my one, my only Specialized Rhyme (BFFs forevs); and my forgotten but much-loved first mtb: Specialized Jynx Comp hardtail. The latter currently sitting on the wall with Chris’ Specialized Rockhopper (anyone want to buy either of these, we’re thinking of selling?)
I’m a cyclist who rides at her own pace, not Mr or Mrs Speedy Pants powering up the hill in front of me. It’s a sit back, head down, nice rhythm thing for me – but I’ll still get to the top.
|The first time we rode Ditchling Beacon (2014) 🙂|
In fact, I’m a cyclist who really loves hills. Is that weird?
That feeling when you’re puffing and panting and you check for another gear and there’s nothing there. When you’re already blowing and you can’t get enough air in. That can’t-breathe, can’t-go-harder, but it can’t-get-any-worse-so-I’ll-just-keep-pushing feeling. Love it. Guilty as charged.
I’m a cyclist who reluctantly cleans her bikes because she knows they need it – but I’ll moan and try and get Chris to do it when we get home from a ride (with varying success). I also need to improve my knowledge and skills of how to maintain my bikes – although I do love supporting my local bike shop, it would be great to be able to index gears without having a hissy fit and crying down the phone to them to fix it after I’ve made a mess of it.
I’m a former broken rider who’s so *very* nearly over the fear since breaking her collarbone and wrist, no longer riding like a dick and being a bit more careful on the trail.
Oh and I’m a cyclist who this week finally signed up to the Brighton Bike Share scheme, for those moments when I decide to treat myself to a walk into town but then quickly come to my senses and need a set of wheels.
Either way, whatever bike I ride, wherever I go, there’s one thing that remains: my love for cycling as a sport, for leisure, for commuting.
BFFs forevs. 🙂
Find out more on events at the House of St Barnabas.
What type of cyclist are you? I’d love to know!