“I’m sending you this because I know you’re a serious biker,” the email started. It is one in a whole sub-genre of my personal communications that begins more or less this way. What follows in invariably a link to article about a cycling movie, or someone getting hit while not wearing a helmet, or a cute pair socks, because…socks.
Let’s leave aside the issue of being labeled a “biker.”
Actually, let’s not. I try not to get pedantic with my friends (or acquaintances or strangers), but I am not a “biker.” Bikers, as I understand it, wear leather jackets and have a harder time getting life insurance. Perhaps those people actually like being called “motorcyclists” or “hog riders” or “road pizza.” I don’t know. I am a cyclist. Again, that’s not a buoy I’m going to cling to in the water-treading, semi-urgency of living my life, but I thought I’d say it, because I always chuckle when someone calls me a biker.
Back to the topic at hand (is there one yet?).
I have a lot of friends who are cyclists. A lot. In meaningful ways, I live on Planet Bike, a strange place inhabited by people who are obsessed with bicycles but usually also earn their living via the bike. As a result, I interact with cyclists all over the world every single day, and even if they are technically work colleagues, I call a significant portion of them friends. Additionally, I have friends who don’t live on Planet Bike formally, but also are cyclists, which swells the ranks of people I know likely to have grease on their pants.
I don’t want to make this complicated, but I make a distinction between cyclists, people who are likely to ride at least once a week, and people who have bikes and do ride them occasionally but aren’t overly bothered if they don’t get to. They are great people. I just don’t think of them as cyclists.
I would say, if I were to take my 100 best friends (that’s a strange quantity and one that suggests I have more good friends than I do), probably 35% of them are cyclists. When I first considered, the number was higher, but a quick mental review made it more realistic. That’s still a lot of cyclists, I think.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how central to your life is the bike, as measured by the people you’re friends with? What percentage of your closest friends ride? Think of the your top 100. How many ride?