What is a Cyclist?

I’ve see all manner of bike riders over the years, and I started thinking about the word “cyclist”. How did we get to the point where some people fit the definition, and some do not? We tend to get wrapped up in the definitions of words. Problems arise when people start to treat the definition as mailable to suit their preferences. Here’s the dictionary definition.

cy·clist /ˈsīkləst/

noun: cyclist; plural noun: cyclists

  1. a person who rides a bicycle.

That’s it. There’s no mention of the type of bike you have to ride. No mention of the clothing required. Just a person that rides a bicycle. Any bicycle.

I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time when I treated what I did with a bicycle as more legitimate-more serious than others. Now the idea that riding a bicycle should ever be serious makes me cringe. Unless it’s your job, and let’s be honest those numbers are few.

People who would like to travel by means other than an automobile face many challenges. Taken as a whole, however, I believe we exist in far greater numbers than anyone can imagine. Bringing those numbers together is, perhaps, the only way to:

Be heard by elected officials

Ensure that we’re seen. I mean really seen by motorists

Be allowed our space to ride

Preserve our lives and safety.

Maybe it needs to start by going back and remembering that we’re all cyclists.


This is a story that’s been told, and retold many times. Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller are attending a swanky party given by a very wealthy hedge fund manager. Vonnegut tells Heller that their host likely made more money yesterday than Catch-22 has made since the day of it’s publication.

Heller famously responds “Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . enough.”

What I’m Watching

“Welcome to Wrexham” - Streaming on Hulu. Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney buy a football (soccer) club in Wales. What could go wrong? It’s been a nice distraction waiting for more Ted Lasso.


Many years ago I bought a kayak from a gentleman in New Zealand. He had no employees. He took the orders, built the boats and shipped them off (seems familiar somehow). One of the things he wrote was that despite the challenges, the nice people he got to deal with made it all worthwhile. I had the good fortune to meet some truly nice people in August, and it had me remembering his writing. It really does make it worthwhile.

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