First of all I want lay out the disclaimer that I commend each and every person who rides a bike on any occasion. However, you can’t paint all cyclists with the same brush. The time and place where you can see nearly every species of cyclist is on the morning commute. This brings out the best of us and I’ve taken the liberty of putting them in their own little bucket.
The Weekday World Champ
Every roadie loves the Weekday World Champ. This keenly competitive species of commuter is doing his own race for the rainbow jersey every morning. Usually wearing a free jersey from last years charity ride, solid black shorts, $6 sunglasses, fenders, rear mirror, and any other optional safety features. He will follow your wheel while you’re slowly rolling along the road or bike path and then attack you at the opportune time of his liking. Then his head will blow off and soon after you’ll come rolling past at the same speed you were doing for the past 20mins. The World Champ botches a trackstand at red lights then punches it off the gun when it turns green. Again, you’ll catch up to him shortly and pass him once again.
The Weekday Warrior
There’s a bit of an overlap between the Early Morning World Champ and the Weekday Warrior. Here’s a guy who rides a mishmash of a decent bike with many gadgets attached, defunct pro kit from 9yrs ago, etc…..but the extent of his riding is the morning commute. He’s hit a brick wall somewhere that’s all his riding has ever been. The Weekday Warrior usually has some crazy ideas of his own that he’s implemented and has never really fit into the cycling world anywhere else. Therefore he’s made up his own trends and is seen marching to his own drum. A true legend.
The newbie is trying to do the right thing by giving this commuting gig a shot. This rider usually comes to a half-assed stop with one foot out of the pedal ready at a light and decides to keep going if there’s a small break in traffic. The Newbie will ride on sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, roads….whatever it takes to get the job done. The Newbie is scary to watch, swerving all over the road and through traffic and certain death is always in front of him. Luckily drivers take pity on him and he makes it home safe until next month when he tries again.
This rider usually sports a beard, bright colored jersey or orange safety vest, sunglasses with the leather sides, helmet mirror, panniers, flag on the back…all the fixings. Also scary to watch in traffic. These guys will come rolling along at a respectable pace in a straight line and then come to a grinding halt when they have to turn a corner. This types of commuter cannot work out why anyone would want to ride a regular bike when the drag coefficient, center of gravity and geometry of a recumbent is far superior. Not to mention comfort? 90% of these riders are engineers and will be more than happy to explain to you at length the advantages of riding a recumbent.
Public Transport Commuter
This commuter will take the 30mins of overhead required to get ready for the morning ride to work, but only gets as far as the next train stop. Not certain why this is. 100km commute from work perhaps?
The Glamour Girl
This bird has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. She thought it would be stylish to get out on her bike and didn’t realize that the quiet streets don’t last long before you hit the jungles of morning traffic. She is usually relegated to the sidewalk 5 mins into her ride when her cellphone rings.
The DUI Commuter
This guy doesn’t choose to ride his bike for health, fitness, environment, etc. He’s riding because he lost his license due to a blood alcohol limit of 2.5 on his last bender. He usually wears a baseball cap, no helmet, blue jeans, a stolen mountain bike, and a 5′oclock shadow at 7am. He also assumes drinking and riding is not illegal so he’s is not complaining as he’ll make the best of it.
And how can I forget the bad boys of cycling…the bike courier.
I doubt that the bike courier would appreciate being called a “commuter”, but I don’t imagine that many couriers drive to work. Therefore they also fit into this category and are subject to ridicule like everyone else. Tattoos, street-wear, skateboard helmets, etc. It’s all part of the lifestyle that you just can’t fake (well, apparently the hipsters are fakin’ it). The bike courier is the only faction of cyclist who makes us look half cool. The Hell’s Angels of cycling, if you will. However, what do you guys say when a big Harley hog rumbles up next to you at a red light and gives it a couple revs? Not so bad-ass now, are we?
That’s right – YOU. You didn’t think you were gonna get out of it so easily, did you? You’re the only one who thinks you’re the coolest kat in town. You’re the guy who gets all kitted up, pins a number on, rides the Zipps, and has an espresso flavored powergel on your way to work. But I’m sure you have good reason to ride in like this…It could be because you have a race after work, you need to take your bike to the shop at lunch, or it could be because you like to show to all your coworkers how PRO you are. Sorry, but we’re the only people on the planet that think spandex, shaved legs, and tiny arms look cool.
This is the guy who hasn’t missed a day of commuting to work since 1993. This is a badge of honor to this steed and everyone at work talks about him around the lunch table like he could win the Tour de France. You pipe up every time and try to make them understand that he is not as PRO as you are and that you’re in fact the much more dedicated cyclist.
This commuter is taking no chances on the way to work. Notice the flashing LED’s on panniers, reflectors and bright orange safety vest. Looks like a UFO on a bike. Two water bottles (you can never have enough fluids), panniers and kickstand is mandatory.
Bums gotta get to work too and I think it’s a safe assumption that a bike would be the choice of transport. The Bike Bum doesn’t need fancy gadgets like a saddle, air in his tires, or even a rear tire. If this guy only knew about how many empty beer cans were on the side of the roads at Paris-Roubaix he’d have a 10min gap on the peloton for 280km.