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How Bike Riders Are Portrayed In the Media

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How Bike Riders Are Portrayed In the Media

Old 12-28-06, 08:02 PM
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Cosmoline
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How Bike Riders Are Portrayed In the Media

I was just watching "You, Me and Dupree," a romcom with Owen Wilson, Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. It's a pretty run of the mill movie, but it struck me that the loser character Dupree rides his bike everywhere and is in his 30's. This seems to be a pattern:

"Get A Life"
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098802/
Chris Elliott as a loser who lives with his parents and rides his bike around.

"Pee Wee's Big Adventure"
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089791/
'nuff said.

The only exceptions to this pattern are movies about younger men who are competing with their bicycles in some way. Plus, its' OK to ride a bike if you're an excentric billionaire as in "Brainstorm" or "Independence Day."

Am I just being paranoid?
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Old 12-28-06, 08:33 PM
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You forgot to mention Napoleon Dinamyte trying to get airborne in his x-mart mountain bike. In the end you are right, movie makers and the general public are inside the paradigm that a car equals success.

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Old 12-28-06, 08:37 PM
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I know what you mean and while I don't think that films like these actually intend to mock cyclists, they can have that effect. Their intention is simply to use the bike as a status symbol amongst many others - suggesting that the characters are riding a bike because they are lazy, unmotivated nobodies with dead-end jobs who can't afford a car or even the cost of public transport.

Unfortunately many people reverse the causality here and conclude that all cyclists fall into the above category, they do not stop to think of the many reasons why someone would actually choose to ride a bike when they could be driving, but the narrow minded people who think like this are ultimately the ones who lose out.

Last edited by Endox; 12-28-06 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 12-28-06, 08:55 PM
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Loosely related. I watched part of "You, Me, & Dupree" last night, and Dupree was a loser with a '70s 10 speed.

The funny thing is, the SFX lamers don't know how a bike works. When Dupree rolled the 10 speed, the freewheel pawls clicked as expected -- damn loud, too.

When he got on and pedaled, the clicking didn't stop.
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Old 12-28-06, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ax0n
Loosely related. I watched part of "You, Me, & Dupree" last night, and Dupree was a loser with a '70s 10 speed.

The funny thing is, the SFX lamers don't know how a bike works. When Dupree rolled the 10 speed, the freewheel pawls clicked as expected -- damn loud, too.

When he got on and pedaled, the clicking didn't stop.
We're lucky they didn't roll the drop bar up (bum bar)
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Old 12-28-06, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by shakeNbake
We're lucky they didn't roll the drop bar up (bum bar)
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Old 12-28-06, 10:59 PM
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It's slightly different in Australia and the UK, not a socio-economic thing like some of the posters here are driving at. According to our media all cyclists come out of the same mould and are labelled 'lycra louts', or that Critical Mass is representative of all cyclists.

No one sees someone speeding and then labels all drivers as hoons, but they see one person jump a red light on a bike and put all cyclists in the same boat.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
It's slightly different in Australia and the UK, not a socio-economic thing like some of the posters here are driving at. According to our media all cyclists come out of the same mould and are labelled 'lycra louts', or that Critical Mass is representative of all cyclists.

No one sees someone speeding and then labels all drivers as hoons, but they see one person jump a red light on a bike and put all cyclists in the same boat.
I'm not sure I agree there. The car is Australia is definitely a form of status symbol and we do get the same movies. Come to think of it, I haven't seen anything to do with cycling in the Australian-specific media for some time.
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Old 12-29-06, 04:12 AM
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In none of those movies do people ride modern bikes while wearing bike helmet and cycling clothing. They are as you describe, "bike riders" and not really "cyclists." There are a lot of "bike riders" out there in the "real world."
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Old 12-29-06, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
In none of those movies do people ride modern bikes while wearing bike helmet and cycling clothing. They are as you describe, "bike riders" and not really "cyclists." There are a lot of "bike riders" out there in the "real world."
I don't like the idea of defining cyclist by what they ride or wear or how they ride. In my opinion, if they are on two wheels and powered by their own motion, they are cyclists. That includes homeless guys on bicycles who collect mountains of aluminum cans on their junk picked bikes.

A lot of the "bike riders" as you describe them put on many more bicycle miles than the spandex crowd. We have a homeless guy here in our town who collects aluminum cans. The guy is dirty from head to toe. His bicycle saddle is worn out. He carries enormous bags of cans and I often wonder how he can see and how he can tranport multiple bags of cans without panniers or bungee cords.

That said, he rides all over the city from north to south, east to west and everything in the middle. I would not at all be surprised to know that he rides 50 miles a day or more. He does this while balancing an ever growing zeplin filled with aluminum cans.

There is also an old guy who rides around on his Raleigh three speed. He doesn't have a helmut and he doesn't wear spandex. He rides around the neighborhoods collecting useable stuff that people throw out on trash day. He puts them on his basket and handlebars, brings them home, fixes/cleans them, and then has a garage sale every couple of weeks where he sells the stuff. He carries all kinds of stuff from wet-dry vacuum cleaners to bicycles, discarded rolls of chicken wire - you name it.

All these guys might not fit the image we like to see for bicyclists, but they ARE cyclists in every sense of the word. They are our "Brothers of the Wheel". Any cyclist who put on as many bike miles as these fellows would be bragging about it right here on these forums.
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Old 12-29-06, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by damnable
I'm not sure I agree there. The car is Australia is definitely a form of status symbol and we do get the same movies. Come to think of it, I haven't seen anything to do with cycling in the Australian-specific media for some time.
Where are you damnable? I'm in Victoria. Latest was one of the columnists in the 'Hun' last week. Then theres the bi-annual Andrew Bolt hates cyclists column. Gotta love the murdoch press.

What I find odd is this is the paper that runs the second biggest bike race in the country. Go figure?

cheers
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Old 12-29-06, 07:00 AM
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don't forget the 40 year old virgin rode a bike. add him to the list.
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Old 12-29-06, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mike
All these guys might not fit the image we like to see for bicyclists, but they ARE cyclists in every sense of the word. They are our "Brothers of the Wheel". Any cyclist who put on as many bike miles as these fellows would be bragging about it right here on these forums.
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Old 12-29-06, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mike

There is also an old guy who rides around on his Raleigh three speed. He doesn't have a helmut and he doesn't wear spandex. He rides around the neighborhoods collecting useable stuff that people throw out on trash day. He puts them on his basket and handlebars, brings them home, fixes/cleans them, and then has a garage sale every couple of weeks where he sells the stuff. He carries all kinds of stuff from wet-dry vacuum cleaners to bicycles, discarded rolls of chicken wire - you name it.

All these guys might not fit the image we like to see for bicyclists, but they ARE cyclists in every sense of the word. They are our "Brothers of the Wheel". Any cyclist who put on as many bike miles as these fellows would be bragging about it right here on these forums.
AMEN!....you been following me I ride my Raleigh 3 speed all over the small town where my wife's store is located.(I am fast becoming the local eccentric ) Last week someone had tossed out a small side chair with a wicker seat. The seat was damaged, but I can fix those...so onto the rack it went...

I acknowledge all bike riders/cyclists, I also maintain a large inventory of used parts, if I see someone that needs something like a saddle, tire, tube, etc I will give them one. At least they aren't driving around in a smoking hulk of an automobile that is on it's last leg and polluting the crap out of the environment!

And as far as the portrayal of cyclists/bike riders on television and in the movies...how well do they really portray life in general? I am not a big fan of television for that reason, all most of it is, is a non stop infomercial for what ever someone decides we need to be buying to make us special and accepted.... (pet peeve...advertising that appeals to the ego )

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Old 12-29-06, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Cosmoline
I was just watching "You, Me and Dupree," a romcom with Owen Wilson, Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. It's a pretty run of the mill movie, but it struck me that the loser character Dupree rides his bike everywhere and is in his 30's. This seems to be a pattern:
My question is this the first movie you have ever watched? The media is full of negative stereotypes and this has been the pattern for generations. The ethnic stereotypes do far more damage than the bicycle stereotypes.

I watched the movie with an open mind and laughed at the hockey style helmet and lame shorts. If you have no sense of humor about yourself and your passions then where is your sense of humor? I noticed many things that Hollywood did not get right in "You, Me and Dupree,” as in all of their movies.

I would like to give credit to whoever laced the front axle off center for the scene after he ran into the car. Matching the different length spokes would be time consuming.
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Old 12-29-06, 10:38 AM
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Let's not forget the other cycling stereotypes. I always remember the scene in "Father of the Bride" when Steve Martin's character sees his neighbor going out for a training ride. The neighbor in full TT kit, hairy as a beast, looks at Steve, lets out a primal cry and off he goes. Pretty hard core. If only I could remember the bike...Trek?
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Old 12-29-06, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by OPC
Let's not forget the other cycling stereotypes. I always remember the scene in "Father of the Bride" when Steve Martin's character sees his neighbor going out for a training ride. The neighbor in full TT kit, hairy as a beast, looks at Steve, lets out a primal cry and off he goes. Pretty hard core. If only I could remember the bike...Trek?
Wasn't that scene in "She's Having a Baby?"

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Old 12-29-06, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mike
All these guys might not fit the image we like to see for bicyclists, but they ARE cyclists in every sense of the word. They are our "Brothers of the Wheel". Any cyclist who put on as many bike miles as these fellows would be bragging about it right here on these forums.
Exactly right. The poster from Norway has previously posted about his very narrow view of who belongs in the Real Cyclist Club with him. Helmet usage and pricey equipment requirements disqualify most cyclists in the world from joining his exclusive Club.
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Old 12-29-06, 01:31 PM
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Well, its not all bad.

I recall an ad on tv a couple of years ago where a group of business/sales people got in an elevator with a guy with a bike helmet and a streak of mud on his cheek. They gave him the respect a typical bike messenger gets. But, surprise, they all end up at the same office and he turns out to be the president of the company they are trying to sell to.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:44 PM
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What about movies like American Flyers, Quicksilver & Breaking Away? Don't they paint a positive picture of bicycling & cyclists?

I think there was another movie, not sure but I believe it was called the Accidental Cyclist. It was about a guy taking his friends ashes on a charity ride to raise money to fight AIDS. I think that movie painted a really positive picture for cyclists as well. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this movie though & what it was called.

Also don't forget the production RENT, especially the movie.
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Old 12-29-06, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mike
I don't like the idea of defining cyclist by what they ride or wear or how they ride. In my opinion, if they are on two wheels and powered by their own motion, they are cyclists. That includes homeless guys on bicycles who collect mountains of aluminum cans on their junk picked bikes.
I know it's symantics, but the 70 year old homeless guy riding a 50 pound Walmart bike he found in an alley isn't a "cyclist." He's a guy with unfortunate circumstances trying to get from one place to another. I'm not making fun of people who may ride bikes because they have no other way of getting around, mind you. I just think of a true "cyclist" as someone whose passion is bike-riding.

I brought the "biker" versus "cyclist" thing up before on BF. Maybe I'm a snob . . . sorry
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Old 12-29-06, 03:37 PM
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http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cyclist

The debate rages on.

Who says that guy who rides collecting cans does not love riding a bike? I would say more likely than not he would prefer a car if he could afford one but who knows. This person may just not like cars.
Generalizations and elitism are pointless.
You ride a bike you are a cyclist. IMHO
My 3 year old is a cyclist with training wheels. My wife is a recreational cyclist who rides from time to time. I ride close to 10,000 miles a year and I am glad to be lumped in to this category with everyone else.
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Old 12-29-06, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by gear
don't forget the 40 year old virgin rode a bike. add him to the list.
Indeed...

I wonder if I can get this on a jersey...

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Old 12-29-06, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gear
don't forget the 40 year old virgin rode a bike. add him to the list.
That's actually Steve Carell's own bike. And he still haven't got it back from universal.
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Old 12-29-06, 07:39 PM
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No, movies propogate stereotypes. Tell me it isn't so!
Movies are full of stereotypes. Worst ones are ethnic. One example is Russians. Most of the times you see them they have cigarete in one hand and Vodka in the background. Most people don't notice it because it isn't stereotyping them.
Why should cyclists be an exception?
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