MOVE ON: ‘Biking’ can mean many different things to different people | Squamish Chief

MOVE ON: ‘Biking’ can mean many different things to different people

There’s a difference between going by bike and going for a bike ride.

For people who are going for a ride, the trip is the trip. For people going by bike, the destination is the reason, not the journey. This simple dichotomy makes for some fundamental differences. 

article continues below

For one, people going by bike don’t usually wear specialty clothes. Very few people going by bike will sport lycra, special gloves or shoes with cleats on them. OK, some do. But that’s because they are subconsciously also going for a ride. You see what I am saying?

Riding for exercise is different from riding to go somewhere. People going for a bike ride often do so socially. When they learn that you cycle for transportation, they amiably ask you to join them on a ride. For most people who bike for transportation, this prospect is at worst alarming and at best strange. Strange because who phones you up to ask, “Hey let’s get in our cars and drive together to Stongs for groceries?" Alarming, because people going for a ride enjoy riding in tandem, want to talk the whole time and pedal as fast as they can. Who can keep up? 

People going by bike focus on destinations. They are cycling to work, the library, the grocery store, or school – wherever they travel to do something else. Biking up Cypress Mountain Road or to Lower Seymour Conservation reserve is just not on their agenda. Unless (like some people I know) they are going skiing or hiking on arrival.

Is that commuter going to complete the famous North Shore triple crown run? Or hit the two bridges loop? Nope. At least not unless there was somewhere along the way they needed to visit. To people who bike for exercise, the transportation cyclist’s focus on destinations and getting stuff done makes for tragically short trips. Whaddya mean you just rode for half an hour? Who even does that?

Our bikes are different too. If a bike looks like it might win the Tour de France, it’s probably not a commuter.

Bikes for exercise can look like art. Carbon fibre forks, titanium shifters, dished wheels and drop bars – these things are common on bikes people use for exercise.  

Bikes for transportation look more like an old Ford Ranger. Scratched frame, beefy tires, upright handlebars, a rack or platform, an electric motor assist – these things are common on a transportation bike. 

We even speak different languages. If you chanced on a conversation between two people who go by bike, you might catch a snippet like this: “Hey, I bought a new cargo bike. It can carry my two kids or a full grocery load.”

A chat between people who ride for exercise might sound like this: “Do you use latex tubes? No, but I recently shaved a couple of ounces buying a new carbon seat tube and saddle.”

Some people are crossovers and can speak both languages, acting as interpreters between dialects. These folks own more bikes than pairs of underwear and are super popular. There are as many versions of two wheels as there are people, and I haven’t even mentioned mountain bikes.

We ride to get somewhere, or to become stronger, or both. Despite the differences, we are united by a common appreciation of the bicycle’s simple efficiency.

The humble chainring spins on no matter who is riding or why.

Heather Drugge is a sustainable transportation advocate who has used her bike for transportation for 20 years. She’s looking at getting an e-bike and maybe a jetpack next.

Read Related Topics

@ Copyright Squamish Chief

Report a Typo or Error


NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Squamish Chief welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Weekly POLL

Are you planning to spend less on gifts this year?

or  view results

Popular Squamish Chief

Community Events Calendar