In a country where biking as a means of transportation is so rare, everybody who saddles up is an involuntary bicycle advocate. The bike you ride, the clothes you wear, and your riding behavior all create a positive or negative impression on the public’s view of cyclists. Take this (highly unscientific yet fun) survey to find out how your biking preferences help or hinder the propagation of “every day” cycling:
Which best describes the kind of bike do you ride?
- Old (perhaps rusty) Schwinn, beach cruiser, or other cheap bike with a basket, fenders, and chain guard
- Imported European-city bike, tricycle or transport bike
- Mountain bike or road bike
- Art bike
Which best describes your normal biking attire?
- Professional or casual “every day” clothes (dresses and suits preferred)
- Regular clothes with a rolled up pant leg, maybe some biking shoes
- Windbreaker, Gortex pants, and other “non-skin tight” recreational wear
- Hipster attire – skinny jeans, thick-rimmed glasses and a wool-knit cap
- Lycra, spandex, race helmet, and lots of non-paying “corporate sponsorships”
What kind of helmet do you wear?
- I don’t wear a helmet
- Fancy helmet designed to look like a hat or something with flowers on it
- Just your average bike helmet
- Motorcycle helmet or bike helmet with blinking lights, camera, and rear view mirror
- Nazi helmet
What do you carry on your bike?
- One or more children and/or groceries
- Groceries and/or beer in a milk crate or basket
- Groceries and/or beer in a pannier or backpack
- Not much in my messenger bag
- I don’t carry anything, it adds weight and affects my “performance” and/or desire for “simplicity”
Which best describes your normal riding behavior?
- I religiously follow all traffic laws and sleep with a copy of John Forrester’s “Effective Cycling” under my pillow
- I’ve been known to take the occasional liberty with traffic laws, but never at the expense or safety of others
- I routinely disregard most traffic laws but try to remain safe in the process
- Traffic laws are for cars not bikes – I won’t hurt anybody but myself
- My bike doesn’t even have brakes and I hate cagers
Add up your scores and refer to your “cycling brand” below:
5 to 9 points: The Prophet
You attract a lot of positive attention from cyclists and non-cyclists alike with your easy going demeanor and no-frills approach to biking. Drivers appreciate your desire to play by the rules. Even morbidly obese people driving Escalades and Audis consider pulling their old bike out of the garage for a spin around the cul-de-sac after seeing you. Your positive presence inspires real change in behavior.
10-16 points: The Pragmatist
You’re a practical centrist from an American vantage point. You don’t look like a freak, geek, or Marxist. Drivers won’t be considering a change in their behavior due to your presence, but they likely aren’t cursing at you or trying to run you down. Your effect on cycling is positive from the perspective of other cyclists and neutral from the perspective of drivers.
17-20 points: The Hardcore
You exhibit many of the stereotypes associated with American cyclists. Your relationship with drivers and other cyclists is often confrontational. Road rage and anger has been directed at you on many occasions. Ultimately you are a negative influence on the state of cycling and relations with other modes of transport. Lighten up a little bit.
21-25 points: The Radical
You thrive on the negative energy directed at you by cyclists and drivers alike. You are not only reckless, selfish and conceited, but see your membership in the radical “elite” as being central to your identity. Segregated cycle infrastructure is your worst nightmare because more people would cycle, thereby stripping you of your fragile identity. You live to do battle with cars and everyone else who doesn’t subscribe to your particular fringe persuasion.
What’s your cycling brand? Comments welcome!