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Cyclist vs Biker

Old 03-09-16, 09:09 PM
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pat5319
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Cyclist vs Biker

Does anyone else dislike being called a biker?
To me and others who have been riding several decades, " biker" means a gang type on a harley
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Old 03-09-16, 09:41 PM
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steve t.
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Moreso than being a bicyclist, I am a motorcyclist. I equate being a motorcyclist to being a traveler, a tourer, an explorer. I equate a motorcycle biker as someone who rides an overpriced, underwhelming, loud motorcycle in a generally anti-social manner for misguided and false reasons only they can believe in and justify to those of their own ilk and which a majority of the rest of society wishes would just go away. It's not the machine, it's the owner's behavior, and they give all motorcycle riders a black eye. As a collective group, most seem to have social behavior stuck at age 11 or 12. If law enforcement would start simply enforcing laws that are on the books in each state and their overarching federal regulations, these people would be done.

Sorry, you touched a nerve with me. I guess cyclist or biker doesn't mean much to me in regard to human-powered two-wheelers, but I know where you are coming from.

Steve.
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Old 03-09-16, 09:57 PM
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Absolutely great response Steve. I couldn't agree more. I just wish more motorcycle owners had your perspective.
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Old 03-09-16, 10:42 PM
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Yes I dislike it as a cyclist, and motorcyclist, even when I owned a Harley. Riding is something I do, it doesn't define who I am.

Cyclist/motorcyclist = someone who rides for the simple joy of the experience in of itself.

Biker = someone who adapts a counter culture lifestyle where riding is part of their affectation.
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Old 03-10-16, 12:15 AM
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I spent my entire career dealing with words and their meanings, and I finally concluded that the only reality that is relevant is that which you ascribe to an action. I might be a cyclist, but you might be a bicyclist. Your friend might call you a biker, but that doesn't changed the reality if what you actually do. I might enjoy a pop, while you would drink a soda - same reality. Words often will have different connotations (biker is one of those), but if a friend (who knows you ride bicycles and not motorcycles) calls you a biker, is the reality any different? My biggest concern is whether I'm gasping or wheezing at mile 47 - which is it?

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Old 03-10-16, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by steve t. View Post
Moreso than being a bicyclist, I am a motorcyclist. I equate being a motorcyclist to being a traveler, a tourer, an explorer. I equate a motorcycle biker as someone who rides an overpriced, underwhelming, loud motorcycle in a generally anti-social manner for misguided and false reasons only they can believe in and justify to those of their own ilk and which a majority of the rest of society wishes would just go away. It's not the machine, it's the owner's behavior, and they give all motorcycle riders a black eye. As a collective group, most seem to have social behavior stuck at age 11 or 12. If law enforcement would start simply enforcing laws that are on the books in each state and their overarching federal regulations, these people would be done.

Sorry, you touched a nerve with me. I guess cyclist or biker doesn't mean much to me in regard to human-powered two-wheelers, but I know where you are coming from.

Steve.
You can just say HD without having to describe it, we know what you mean.
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Old 03-10-16, 12:35 AM
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I've always distinguished between "groups" - such as picture taker/photographer, piano player/pianist, biker/cyclist. I guess I'm thinking that to me there is the impression of more skill/experience/professionalism in the latter over the former. (That's not necessarily implying the former is inferior.) So, in my mind a "biker" (in the bicycling sense) is more of a recreational rider, or a family out on the MUP on a nice Sunday afternoon, while a "cyclist" is more of what we call an "avid" or "serious" rider, doing longer distances, faster speeds, and going out in less pleasant weather. Interesting topic. Never did I think I'd get into a linguistic discussion on a bicycle forum!
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Old 03-10-16, 12:50 AM
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Depends on where or what I'm riding. Mountain cyclist doesn't sound quite right.
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Old 03-10-16, 01:35 AM
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I don't have trouble with "biker". I was racing out of Boston in the '70s, the dark ages. I had the same experience with hardcore bikers several times. I'd be stopped at a light in a tough part of Boston. A fully leathered biker looking as tough as you could ask for on a HD would pull up next to me, then spend the entire light sequence looking me up and down, noting my black shorts, Italian shoes, shaved legs, the patterned jersey with pockets in back while I straddles a 20 pound machine. Light changes, he hits the throttle of his 800? pound bike and gives me a thumbs up. Every time. If I was in danger it would have been one of those bikers who would have stopped for me. I always regarded them as brothers by different parents.

Ben
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Old 03-10-16, 03:12 AM
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It doesn't bother me "A rose is still a rose by any other name". I've been biking/cycling on and off for decades as well.
What bothers me is when bikers/cyclist refer to triathletes with a negative adjective before the word triathlete. Or do the same thing with a"hipster".
Regardless if you ride/cycle a goldwing,harley,bmw,masi,fuji,klien,serrotta,trek,specialized or a touring,speeder,racing,moutain,fixie,time trial,folding, commuter etc... you are out there on only "Two Wheels" and will get the respect you deserve from me. Just don't call me a "bikie".

Last edited by texaspandj; 03-10-16 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 03-10-16, 07:25 AM
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Sure we can generalize, and when speaking in broad terms it is inevitable.

But remember that we are all individuals.

One of my cyclist friends departed as a biker on his HD but I will always remember him as a cyclist; but first and foremost he was someone who always had my back
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Old 03-10-16, 08:06 AM
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I don't associate "Biker" with gangs but I do prefer to be called a cyclist. Bikers ride motorized bikes so if you ride an E-bike you are a biker not a cyclist.
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Old 03-10-16, 08:29 AM
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For me: Biker = mountain biker and cyclist = road cyclist. (Of course, out of context it'd be difficult to distinguish between mountain BIKERS and a BIKER gang (motorcycles).)
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Old 03-10-16, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
Words often will have different connotations (biker is one of those), but if a friend (who knows you ride bicycles and not motorcycles) calls you a biker, is the reality any different?
Well put. I refer to myself as a cyclist. However, I take a few self-contained tours every year so I end up interacting with people outside of cycling circles. Many of them refer to cyclists as "bikers." Some middle-aged woman outside a Montana grocery store will say something like "I don't know how you bikers do it. I don't think I could ride a bike from one end of town to another."
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Old 03-10-16, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
I don't associate "Biker" with gangs but I do prefer to be called a cyclist. Bikers ride motorized bikes so if you ride an E-bike you are a biker not a cyclist.
Maybe it's because I'm from the height of the baby boom, but the term biker doesn't make me think of Hell's Angel types, but brings to mind middle-aged guys on weekend and charity rides. I think this demographic has now gotten so large, the real bike gangs (including younger guys on Rice Rockets) are now in the minority...but I also prefer biker for motorcyclists and cyclist for bike riders.
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Old 03-10-16, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
I don't associate "Biker" with gangs but I do prefer to be called a cyclist. Bikers ride motorized bikes so if you ride an E-bike you are a biker not a cyclist.
To me, if you ride something with pedals you're a cyclist.

Biker = motorcycle rider.

Some people probably just say "biker" because it takes less effort/easier to say "Bicyclist" or "Bicycle rider", and maybe they don't think of the term "cyclist".
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Old 03-10-16, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by pat5319 View Post
Does anyone else dislike being called a biker?
To me and others who have been riding several decades, " biker" means a gang type on a harley
I prefer motorcyclist to biker, and cyclist to biker (when on a bicycle). That said, trying to correct others on points like that is a sisyphean task. You could go on at length about the different types of each, but the person's eyes will glaze over before you get halfway through describing your first type. They don't care, unless they're involved (or, perhaps, a social scientist or marketing person).

People assume what they are going to assume, because it is a cognitive shortcut. The same goes for easy-to-use terms. The only reason for them to do otherwise is if they know you particularly well.
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Old 03-10-16, 09:21 AM
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First off, I appreciate the fact that you want to distinguish yourself from these thugs. To me, though, if someone calls me a "biker", it doesn't matter to me, because the world of Harleys and gangs is so far from my reality, that the comparison doesn't even enter-into-mind. I don't mean to denigrate those civilized motorcycle riders who are not into some strange intimidation scheme.

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Old 03-10-16, 09:55 AM
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interesting

Interesting, I never really worry about what someone calls me. I was the short kid growing up, and I still am, so if I am on my motor bike, 2004 BMW R1150r, they call me short guy on motorcycle and if I am on a bicycle they call me short guy on bicycle. Many of the HD folks are exactly are as describes above and they only own a HD because it is a HD, in other words, I don't think many of them would ride if for some krazy reason HDs were no longer in existence. That being said, what ever that means, I would ride a HD if that is the only bike, for some krazy reason, in existence. I just like to ride and I am usually going too fast worry about what someone is saying about me.
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Old 03-10-16, 11:23 AM
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Leathers are good to have on when your Motorbike is not upright for one reason or another ..

Lots of Both are out on the roads of the Oregon Coast every summer.

though few Cyclists seem to visit my favorite Bar , although its only a Block from the LBS.


FWIW Harley riders have to have a good Job , to afford the Motorcycles, ditto BMWs

But they pass thru town without feeling the need to do so Loudly.
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Old 03-10-16, 11:33 AM
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There sure is a whole lotta stereotyping going on in this thread. There are lots of people who ride motorcycles who are great people. Lots of Harley Davidson motorcycle riders are good people, even the ones with tattoos, beards and leather. Some may be "thugs" as it were, but I think those are the minority.

Don't judge a person based on what they ride, or what they look like.
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Old 03-10-16, 12:17 PM
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Cyclist or bicyclist works for me. Also commuter, mountain biker, trail steward, biker touring dude, bike guy( all the kids in my neighborhood) and crazy guy on a fat bike who rides all winter. If the name fits.....
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Old 03-10-16, 07:43 PM
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I hear in the U.K. and Europe the terms "cyclist" and "cycling" actually mean something to the general public, whereas here they only have meaning to cyclists.
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Old 03-10-16, 08:00 PM
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I think it's funny that we're on the BIKEforum's and many refer to their equipment as a BIKE vs a bicycle, so what's wrong with being called a BIKE-er. Any time I have a casual conversation with a stranger, casual acquaintance I eventually have to back PEDAL and explain "no a BIcycle!" So maybe bicycle and cyclist would be more clear, but cyclist sounds so professional. At the end of the day, I'm just a dude that enjoys his bike, so call me a biker if you like.
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Old 03-10-16, 09:42 PM
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"Biker" usually conjures up two stereotypes. Outlaw Biker Gangs [Sons of Anarchy for example], and 20 something year olds doing wheelies on sport bikes at 190mph only wearing a T shirt and jeans.

It is easier to say bike than bicycle, but I have never come across anyone referring to a person riding a bicycle as a biker.
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