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  1. #1
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Define: "BICYCLIST" or let's at least get clear on the concept!

    BICYCLIST: ??

    For me it's simple: A "bicyclist" is a person riding a bicycle.

    When I advocate for cycling I advocate for "people who ride bicycles" NOT for any exclusive subset, who may deem themselves representative of the "true bicyclists".

    How do you define, "bicyclist"?

    And when we advocate, who/what are we advocating for?

  2. #2
    Senior Member JameB's Avatar
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    bicyclist - a person who rides a bicycle


    bicycle
    1. A vehicle consisting of a light frame mounted on two wire-spoked wheels one behind the other and having a seat, handlebars for steering, brakes, and two pedals or a small motor by which it is driven.
    2. An exercise bicycle.

  3. #3
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    Exactly the same way you do - a person riding a bicycle (I would expand this to tricycles as well, pretty much as long as it's pedal powered. Ive never seen a quadricycle in use). I rather dislike the idea that someone who rides an inexpensive cycle is "less" of a bicyclist than someone on a $4000 carbon road bike while wearing another $1000 in clothing. This really stems from my experiences in the car enthusiast realm - I don't like my enthusiasm called into question because I don't drive an expensive exotic sports car but rather an inexpensive, fairly common one. Sadly, this is a really common thing in the car world.

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    I'm good with expanding a bit further. Folks on scooters, which lack pedals and seats, and those eliptical things are pretty much doing the same thing that people on bikes are doing. I think CA changed the definition of bicycle recently to include things without seats. I'd include skate boarders too, but too many of them are just too erratic for my liking.

    And when you're using a car, you're a motorist no matter how many miles you have ridden your bike at other times.

  5. #5
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I'm good with expanding a bit further. Folks on scooters, which lack pedals and seats, and those eliptical things are pretty much doing the same thing that people on bikes are doing. I think CA changed the definition of bicycle recently to include things without seats. I'd include skate boarders too, but too many of them are just too erratic for my liking.

    And when you're using a car, you're a motorist no matter how many miles you have ridden your bike at other times.
    While I understand the desire to expand the definition to include some of the devices you mention, especially with regards making our streets and cities more people friendly and less auto centric, I would define some of those devices as "non-motorized personal transport", which includes bicycles and bicyclists but, for me, the additional devices are not what I would call "bicycles" nor are their users "bicyclists" per se.

    That said, my other question is: some "bicyclists" do not "self define" as cyclists, they break laws, they ride while impaired, they don't use lights, they have broken down mechanically unsound bicycles. Are they still "bicyclists"? And even though they may not participate in the "bicycling advocacy community" are they included when we advocate? And, if so, how do we do that?

  6. #6
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Carfree
    No, you have missed the point. A drunk/ninja/salmon cyclist is creating a hazard on the road that almost entirely puts the risk on him/her. A drunk motorist puts the risk on everyone on the road. If someone is bent on self-destruction, I'm willing to let them do it. If someone is bent on harming others, then even a callous old grouch like me believes we need to take steps to prevent them from succeeding.**
    ** quote pulled from another thread..

    Many times in these threads there is a great deal of advocacy for "cyclist education". Rather than simply dismissing these individuals as self destructive social cast offs I think there are many efforts that could be made to target these riders. For one, increasing the awareness of people riding bicycles that riding impaired on a bicycle increases risk of injury just like driving drunk. Some people are under the impression that it's somehow easier and safer to balance on two wheels than drive when inebriated (I know its ridiculous but it's true). maybe somehow they think because they are less likely to hurt someone else, or get pulled over by a cop they are somehow safer- bad logic, I know. This has been a concern on the part of bike share programs and I think they have reminders to not use the bikes while inebriated.

    I like the efforts made by some communities to pass out lights to cyclists during traffic stops with a warning. Unfortunately, the US in particular so infantilizes the idea of cycling as an adult form of transportation that it delegitimizes it and some people think lights, riding with traffic etc is not required. This is an area where enforcement and education helps.

    But it's not everything, better, safer, well lit infrastructure that, in some cases, separates the bicyclists from motorists serves every rider and the kinds of cyclists you mention need all the help they can get. But they do not, in my opinion, deserve to be written off.

  7. #7
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Bicyclist (N)
    A person who operates and rides a two wheeled vehicle powered by their own physical exertions usually using their feet to spin two pedals connected by a chain to the rear wheel of the vehicle. Also known as a cyclist. See Bicycle.

    A Proper Cyclist (N)
    A person who uses their bicycle as either their primary or one of their primary mode of transportation. One who engages regularly in the sport of bicycle racing or regularly uses their bicycle in another related sport. Someone who only rides their bikes on trails and or parks is not considered a proper cyclist. Like wise one who only commutes by bike in pleasant weather a few days a week is not a proper cyclist. A proper cyclist can be identified by always keeping all parts of their bicycle in good condition and maintains working lights for riding after dusk. Such a person often has a solid grasp on fixing flats i.e. rudimentary maintenance skills. Likewise this person will always practice basic safety skills as well as good etiquette when riding. See Bicycle commuter.
    Last edited by walrus1; 08-13-14 at 01:04 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member italktocats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    That said, my other question is: some "bicyclists" do not "self define" as cyclists, they break laws, they ride while impaired, they don't use lights, they have broken down mechanically unsound bicycles.
    do they ride bikes?

    then whats the problem?

  9. #9
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Bicyclist - a person who uses a mechanical, non-motorized means of transport.

    Proper cyclist - term invented by elitists for their own purposes. Varies depending on purpose.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
    do they ride bikes?

    then whats the problem?
    The needs and desires of a cycling enthusiast, roadie, transportation cyclist, people who ride casually, and people who ride as a last resort are all different.
    It often seems that advocacy is by, and aimed at improving the cycling experience of enthusiasts and roadies, rather than to make riding a bicycle attractive to the average person.

  11. #11
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    bicyclist: operator of a bicycle

    cyclist: operator of any human powered vehicle, inclusive of those with electric assist.

    proper cyclist: asshat.

    It's a big tent.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    And when you're using a car, you're a motorist no matter how many miles you have ridden your bike at other times.
    When you get out of a motor vehicle, or dismount a bicycle you are a pedestrian. How 'bout dat, eh?

  13. #13
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    A Proper Cyclist (N)
    A person who uses their bicycle as either their primary or one of their primary mode of transportation. One who engages regularly in the sport of bicycle racing or regularly uses their bicycle in another related sport. Someone who only rides their bikes on trails and or parks is not considered a proper cyclist. Like wise one who only commutes by bike in pleasant weather a few days a week is not a proper cyclist. A proper cyclist can be identified by always keeping all parts of their bicycle in good condition and maintains working lights for riding after dusk. Such a person often has a solid grasp on fixing flats i.e. rudimentary maintenance skills. Likewise this person will always practice basic safety skills as well as good etiquette when riding. See Bicycle commuter.
    Do you claim credit for making up this baloney-like definition?

  14. #14
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    It often seems that advocacy is by, and aimed at improving the cycling experience of enthusiasts and roadies, rather than to make riding a bicycle attractive to the average person.
    A scan of the content of numerous threads on BF besides A&S could also lead to that conclusion, for example the commuting and 50+ lists are chock full of enthusiast/roadie clique patter.

  15. #15
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Do you claim credit for making up this baloney-like definition?
    Was that a question or just an insult? Because knowing your posts here I'm inclined to believe the former.

  16. #16
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    Was that a question or just an insult? Because knowing your posts here I'm inclined to believe the former.
    Correct. It was a question which you chose not to answer.

  17. #17
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    Depends.

    Out in the world, "bicyclist" is anyone on any kind of HPV.

    In BF, it's someone riding the same kind of bike I do, the same way I do, and if you don't agree with me, you suck and are not a "real bicyclist."

    I advocate for the former, heap scorn in BF on the latter.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    OK I posted this in the other thread, but I see that THIS is where the question belongs.

    I can't help but wonder if people that drive cars consider themselves to be "motorists."

  19. #19
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    OK I posted this in the other thread, but I see that THIS is where the question belongs.

    I can't help but wonder if people that drive cars consider themselves to be "motorists."
    Motorists or drivers, you say tomato I say tomato. "Let's call the who thing off!"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    BICYCLIST: ??

    For me it's simple: A "bicyclist" is a person riding a bicycle.

    When I advocate for cycling I advocate for "people who ride bicycles" NOT for any exclusive subset, who may deem themselves representative of the "true bicyclists".
    Not criticizing or disagreeing with your effort to provide an inclusive meaning for bicyclist, but I think you're also narrowing it at the same time.

    While anyone riding a bicycle at any time is a bicyclist, those who do it routinely as part of their lives are bicyclists even when sitting at the keyboard. Just as an airplane pilot is still one when on the ground, an explorer, a mariner, or a teacher, anyone who actively pursues a vocation or avocation may be categorized accordingly whether actually doing it at the time or not.

    I am a cyclist, business owner, sucba diver, husband, etc. until such time and circumstances would call for adding ex- in front of them.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    When you get out of a motor vehicle, or dismount a bicycle you are a pedestrian. How 'bout dat, eh?
    That works for me. I do far more trips by foot than by bike, but the mileage tips strongly in favor of bike use.

  22. #22
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Not criticizing or disagreeing with your effort to provide an inclusive meaning for bicyclist, but I think you're also narrowing it at the same time.

    While anyone riding a bicycle at any time is a bicyclist, those who do it routinely as part of their lives are bicyclists even when sitting at the keyboard. Just as an airplane pilot is still one when on the ground, an explorer, a mariner, or a teacher, anyone who actively pursues a vocation or avocation may be categorized accordingly whether actually doing it at the time or not.

    I am a cyclist, business owner, sucba diver, husband, etc. until such time and circumstances would call for adding ex- in front of them.
    I had to google what a sucba diver was.


  23. #23
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    So what's the conclusion? A bicyclist is a person who rides a bike but not necessarily only when riding a bike.
    A ride on a bike is not a walk in the park

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Buster View Post
    So what's the conclusion? A bicyclist is a person who rides a bike but not necessarily only when riding a bike.
    I can't speak for him, but believe that Buzzman's point in starting this was to seek a broader, more inclusive definition than one that includes only "serious" or fast sport riders. He's (I think) speaking up for those who ride bikes and so-called BSOs as basic transportation, not so much because they love bicycling, but because for them it's the only game in town.

    On this point, I agree with him wholeheartedly. We all ride bicycles for different reasons, and if discussing policy, need to be mindful of the needs of all "bicyclists".
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    NOT for any exclusive subset, who may deem themselves representative of the "true bicyclists".
    People who disagree with me about cycling advocacy: "true bicyclists".
    People who agree with me: "people who ride bicycles".

    *Also known as "experienced bicyclists", the "strong and fearless 1%" etc.

    "I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like women! like men! like human beings!" -E. Abbey

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