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.
* 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.