I Am Not A Cyclist | Hush

I Am Not A Cyclist
Photo | Melissa Bruntlett http://www.velofamilydiaries.blogspot.ca
Please allow me to get something off my chest: I despise it when someone refers to me as a ‘cyclist’. The phrase ‘avid cyclist’ is even worse. I am no more an avid cyclist than I am an avid walker or avid eater. I am someone who often uses a bicycle, simply because it is the most civilized, efficient, enjoyable, and economical way to get around my city. Though that is dependent on the weather, cargo, timing, and nature of the trip I am taking. As well as possessing a bike, I also own a share in the Modo car co-op, a Compass Card, and many pairs of shoes. The bicycle is merely a means to an end. It is a tool which does not convert me into a cyclist, any more than vacuuming my apartment turns me into a janitor, or brushing my teeth transforms me into a dental hygienist.

In a local context, the term ‘cyclist’ continues to provide us with a damaging mental barrier and convenient scapegoat. It serves only to alienate and denigrate an entire segment of society, and cast them aside as ‘others’. They are a brave fraternity, a suicidal cult; a subculture of urban guerrillas, dressed in spacesuits, weaving in and out of traffic. They are scofflaws: running stop signs, terrorizing seniors on the sidewalk, all while taking a free ride on the taxpayers’ dime. They are Critical Massers, radicals, advocates, environmentalists, athletes, hipsters, couriers, and students. They are easily typecast, maligned and disregarded. And worst of all, they are thought of as anybody else but me.
It is only when I engage with the people around me that they begin to understand I couldn’t possibly be further from this harmful and unfair set of generalizations.

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