Bike Rider

Are you a cyclist or a bike rider?

A cyclist

A Cyclist

I ask this question because my Dad, a keen cyclist in his youth, made a clear distinction between the two. Simply put, a cyclist is one who rides for sport, probably covers long distances at speed and takes his cycling seriously, whereas a bike rider is someone who rides a bike from time to time more as a leisurely means of transport.

Before he married my mother Dad used to go touring on his road-racing bike for his summer holidays, stopping  overnight at youth hostels, sometimes on his own and sometimes with a friend.  As a small child I remember that he would cycle quite a long way to work and back before graduating, via motor-cycles, to cars.

A Bike Rider

A Bike Rider

My mother also rode a bike but by Dad’s definition she was a bike rider. She used a ‘sit-up-and-beg’ ladies cycle with a wicker basket on the front to go shopping or visiting friends. My sister and I always had bikes, again ‘sit-up-and-beg’ types with which we used to sometimes accompany Mum, occasionally to ride to school or visit our own friends. Often in the summer holidays a bunch of us would take a packed lunch and a bottle of lemonade and go out for the day on our bikes, riding round the lanes – it was safe to do so in those days. Never at any time would I, according to my Dad’s criteria, have been considered a cyclist, merely a bike rider.

My husband was also a keen cyclist in his younger days, riding out regularly with his cycling club. We have always had bikes and sometimes rode out as a family once our eldest son could ride on his own. I had a kiddie seat on the back of my bike for our youngest son and our daughter rode on a seat on my husband’s crossbar. I admit I did find this a struggle with the extra weight behind, especially uphill (I have never been very good at riding uphill even without a passenger!). In more recent years neither of us have done a great deal of cycling and the bikes have been largely confined to the shed, although we do have folding bikes on board our cruising yacht which have proved useful when going ashore to buy stores etc.

As they got older all three children have become keen cyclists, indulging in mountain biking, time trials, triathlon and general road riding with some success. My husband too has returned to cycling, mainly because he has trouble with his knees and can’t walk very far or very fast these days – but he can ride a bike. All of them my Dad would class as cyclists.

As for me, I actually enjoy walking but it is a bit boring on your own so, if you can’t beat them join them, I have now taken to riding a bike more often though as far as my Dad is concerned he would probably still only consider me to be a bike rider – I still do not have the stamina to do more than 10-15 miles and I still struggle uphill; but I’m working on it. Maybe I will eventually turn out to be a cyclist after all!


The illustrations accompanying this post are courtesy of Google Free Clip Art.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. julespaige
    Aug 01, 2016 @ 16:08:16

    I am a bike rider. Not good at hills or gears. One day when it gets cooler and I can figure out how to use the bike lock, I might take a ride to the library.

    I too do the ‘If you can’t beat ’em join ’em’ bit. I tried 9 holes of golf with hubby yesterday, but it was really just too hot for me. I kind of flaked out about half way.

    I like the walking part of golf. Now if I can just learn to swing the club…


  2. Pia
    Aug 01, 2016 @ 18:01:44

    I used to have sports bikes and ride everywhere for transport (25 when I got my license, 30 when I got my first car), but I never did it for sport. Now I have a granny bike because my neck and shoulders will no longer tolerate the weight bearing of a low handlebar. And, in fact I don’t ride it much because of gravel road, many hills and bad knees….


    • Libby
      Aug 02, 2016 @ 12:53:52

      I now have a drop-handlebar bike for the first time in my life and I find it helpful as I can change the position of my hands from time to time, which relieves the pressure on the base of my thumb as a result of smashing my wrist and thumb base some years ago. Hubby finds cycling less pressure on his knees than thumping the ground when walking. He has shortened the pedal cranks so that he doesn’t have to describe such a large circle when peddling, he finds this helps. Gravel roads are not good though!


      • Pia
        Aug 02, 2016 @ 13:00:31

        I think for my knees it’s a strength/weight thing, because I can use a crosstrainer just fine. You don’t have to push down as hard as on a bike. At least my granny bike has 7 gears, but while I used to only use the top two on my old bikes and even upped the ratio of the chain wheels, now I use the bottom 3! So embarrassing…

  3. The Weekly Day
    Aug 02, 2016 @ 03:51:00

    Bike rider, for sure. My mother has one of those ‘sit-up-and-beg’ bikes. I’ve never heard them called that before, but the picture looks like hers. I like your new blog entries, Libby. They are very interesting!


    • Libby
      Aug 02, 2016 @ 12:56:08

      The picture shows a rather dainty lady on her ‘sit-up-and-beg’ bike. I also like Pia’s term ‘granny bike’. Glad you are enjoying my Monday blogs. 🙂


  4. Polly
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 13:07:18

    I’m a virtual bike rider…I have a bike but only ride it in my dreams! 😉


  5. reocochran
    Jan 31, 2017 @ 00:35:06

    I want to buy a bike someday and become a bike rider once again. 🙂


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