Just Bikey Thoughts

The Sea Gull Century behind me, I had looked forward to at last making my colorblocked sweatshirt, and duly set out in rainy weather to find fabric inspiration. Alas, inspiration was nowhere to be found. I found some options, just nothing I was in love with. So, no sewing project this weekend, sadly.

These two colors were close, but the fabric was too lighweight. Bummer.

These two colors were close, but the fabric was too lightweight. Bummer.

I made sourdough bread instead.

Yum, sourdough bread!

Yum, sourdough bread!

So instead of talking about me, I wanted to talk about some friends.

First of all, I need to share the new BikeArlington movie, “BikeSwell.” The Mechanic and I attended the premiere of this movie last week, on a very rainy Thursday (which did allow me to wear my new Cleverhood again!). “BikeSwell” is a 30-minute movie about how bicycling is picking up in Arlington County. It’s full of prominent people in the biking and walking movement here in Arlington as well as colleagues and people I admire. I admit to a “swell” of pride watching it – I’m part of this! Definitely watch the video. BA_Poster_vFinal

But even while I feel part of this bicycles-as-transportation movement here in Arlington, and even though I just completed by first century, I still don’t feel like a “cyclist.” Lady Fleur had a timely post on that topic today in her blogpost, “From Far and Wide, Ladies Ride, Ride, Ride!”  (This post made me wish I could bike with her and her gal pals – they always look like they are having so much fun!) It’s the group’s comments after the bike ride that I want to draw attention to – the discussion of what it means to be a “cyclist.”

Lady Fleur reports how opinions varied from “earning” the right to be called a “cyclist” after starting to wear a jersey, to not even wearing a jersey counts as being a cyclist. I thought this was interesting because now that I have that one century under my belt, I finally feel like a real “cyclist,” yet still don’t think of myself as a “cyclist” first and foremost. Nope, if you were to ask me, I would say that I am a designer, or a historian, or a stitcher, but not a cyclist. Maybe it’s because my primary bicycling function is my transportation cycling – I ride to work, I ride to Target, I ride to G Street Fabrics, I ride to JoAnn Fabrics. Although I have recently spent almost my entire weekend on my road bike, it was a short-term thing, and not something I’ll return to. (Well, not on that level. I am looking forward to a few regional half- and metric-centuries next summer.)

Nearing the finish line of the Sea Gull Century!

Nearing the finish line of the Sea Gull Century!

Maybe it has to do with time spent in the saddle? My daily commute is so short I hate to even admit I bike to work! Somehow, when I say that, it seems like it should be much more difficult and strenuous. And yet, that is exactly what we try to impress upon people – it doesn’t have to be hard, or challenging, or sweat-producing. It has to be easy, or you’ll never want to do it again. And we want it to be everyday, commonplace, no big deal, just jump on a bike and ride to the store. That’s the goal, to be like the Copenhageners, who don’t identify themselves as “bicyclists,” because it’s just something everyone does, every day. So maybe the goal is to not be a “cyclist,” after all. And yet…. there’s nothing special about being commonplace.

Commonplace people in Montreal

Commonplace people in Montreal

Oh dear. Such a mixed message! Does any other women have any other interpretations of “cyclists”?







4 thoughts on “Just Bikey Thoughts

  1. I’m a bit contradictory. If anyone says ‘you’re not a proper cyclist unless you …’ (wear a jersey / know how to fix a puncture / ride a century) then I say ‘anyone who gets on a bike counts as a cyclist’. But I’m also likely to say ‘we’re not “cyclists” we’re people on bikes’ – as in we’re not this weird breed apart from normal people.

    Actually thinking about it, that’s probably two sides of the same coin

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