It’s often claimed that a person’s car says a lot about them – Ferrari owners are often recognised as gregarious extroverts, Camry drivers are sensible, and hybrid drivers are environmentally conscious. Indeed, these are generalisations, but generalisations become so because they’re grounded in some truth. Does this theory extend to bikes? Here’s a light-hearted look at some bikes and the people who ride them.
The Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes are built for rugged action, so people who enjoy the great outdoors and don’t mind taking the risk of a few spills in pursuit of the thrills mountain biking can offer can be seen on these.
A “mama-chari” is the name given to the millions of simple bikes people ride on the streets of Japan. They’re inexpensive, sturdy and practical with a basket on the front for shopping (sometimes one on the back as well), a maximum of three speeds, a light on the front but not on the back, and occasionally an umbrella clip for wet days. A mama-chari rider is sensible and simply doesn’t care that their bike isn’t the height of fashion or sophistication.
The vintage fixie – a traditional single-speed upright bike with just a handbrake or two – has enjoyed something of a revival in recent years. This is perhaps mainly because it’s become a favoured mode of transport for folks who really know their coffee, dress like their grandparents, and like cool indie musicians well before the rest of us ever hear of them.
Recumbents are those curious-looking bikes that look like the rider has found the perfect combination of relaxing and exercising at the same time. Recumbent riders are laidback and creative people who have discovered a method of combining their love of colourful Spandex with unhurried commuting and lying down.
While not a popular choice of transport – for obvious reasons – there is still a niche market for unicycles. Unicycle riders have a supreme sense of balance and crave attention. They’re frequently spotted as circus talent or street performers juggling flaming skittles in front of admiring onlookers. They are also adept at coaxing donations from their audiences.
The Penny Farthing
Not as common nowadays as during the late 19th century, the penny farthing is the quintessential bike of yesteryear. Named for the large and small wheels resembling the old English large penny and tiny farthing, its riders are recognised for their healthy appetite for danger and utter disregard for safety.
The Road Racer
Road racers are commonly seen sprinting along urban waterside roads early on weekend mornings, either in small groups or enormous pelotons that shut down regular traffic. Road racers are both people and bikes; the mechanical ones are the latest in lighter-than-air technology and come at the price of a European car, while the human ones are authorities on all manner of biking equipment and apparel. They also have a habit of swamping coffee shops at 10am every Sunday morning following a ride.
Does your current ride match your personality? If not, it might be time to head down to a specialist retailer like 99 Bikes and get a new set of wheels. What does your bike say about you? Is the description above fitting or completely wrong? Share your results and opinions in the comments below.