Unsung Heroes

I spent a pleasant couple of hours yesterday afternoon accosting cyclists in Bigtown to say nice things about their bikes and/or their outfits and ask them if they wanted to be photographed for our latest venture, celebrating local cyclists in all their variety and glory. Amazingly most of them said yes (one even volunteered to show off his trackstand on what is likely the Only Fixie in Bigtown although we weren’t quick enough to stop the Only Hipster in Bigtown as he cunningly rode his mountainbike down a set of steps to avoid us*).

The only people who turned us down – to a man – were what I’d say were actually your typical Bigtown cyclist. These were the middle-aged guys on mountain bikes, mostly looking as if they were heading to or from work. They are the largely invisible cyclists of Bigtown: the ones usually taking a pragmatic approach to riding on the pavement, only wearing hi vis if their work requires it and more likely to be wearing steel toe-caps than a helmet, riding the sort of bikes that snootier types refer to as ‘bike-shaped objects’ although they wouldn’t know that because they probably never read bike blogs, go onto forums, or even upload their rides to Strava; they are, in short Doing It Wrong, according to most corners of the Internet, although in my book they are doing fine because they are, after all, riding a bike, which is all that matters.

I don’t know why they didn’t want to stop to have their photo taken. Maybe they were just too busy, maybe they were a bit suspicious of being accosted by two lunatics on their way to work – or maybe they didn’t see the point of celebrating what was probably just a mode of transport to them. But it’s a shame they didn’t because they are still cyclists and therefore equally deserving of celebration as as all those people who make far more noise (and probably ride half the miles) as they do. As long as you ride …

In other news, our talented bike-portraitist has taken a photo of me that I don’t actually hate. So here it is.

Me + bike

* and yes, I realise the OHiB should have been on the OFiB but hey, it takes a while for these trends to filter down to us out here in the sticks. Or maybe full beards on full-suspension mountain bikes are a thing now and it’s your boring metropolitan hipsters with their track bikes and their ironic facial hair who are behind the times. You decide.

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6 Responses to Unsung Heroes

  1. bob says:

    Well then. The famous S.H. has finally been revealed. Quite stunning. Love the dashing placement of the smart phone. Isn’t that supposed to be a hanky?

  2. charles says:

    You are supposed to be noticing the bike. Brookes saddle? Nice bell, strange drink holder, probably never used, saddle bag (does your heel hit your saddle bag at at the wrong moment, resulting in bag being squashed in traffic?), no basket in front and after all the praise and publicity NO BROMPTON. Phone looks like it is in one peice, I too carry mine in top pocket when not at work – result is that it falls out twice a day…Behind the admirable subject of the portrait there is a very nice river, certainly full of trout and possibly salmon…I think we should be told.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Bob – ha, that jacket is a pain because it pre-dates the smartphone and so its pockets are too small to be useful. I was hoping people wouldn’t notice …
    @Charles – in answer to your questions: yes; yes, but I love it anyway; and yes, both and otter too … not bad for a town centre…

  4. welshcyclist says:

    Nobody ever has asked to take my photo, on a bike anyway? I suspect I’m just not stylish enough!!

  5. Lolablogger says:

    Lovely photo, and at last able to put a face to a name – you don’t look disgruntled at all. But why isn’t it raining?

  6. disgruntled says:

    @WelshCyclist – we’d definitely have asked you if you’d been passing!
    @lolablogger – you joke, but we had to postpone our first planned photo session because of the weather. And I got a bit rained on on the way home…

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