Archive for November, 2008

Bicycles: Necessity versus Commodity

Posted in cycling with tags , , , on November 7, 2008 by consortiumoffools


So cycling has become a rather trendy activity, and like every other trend, Albuquerque is a few years on the up-take.  We’ve just got some new bike lanes (driven up Coal or down Lead in Nob Hill lately?) and a revitalized spirit of greenosity.  Greenosity being the subscription to, and advocacy of, environmentally friendly ideas, but not really following through with them. (i.e., buying some reusable grocery bags then forgetting them at home).

But back on topic- bicycles.

There are two major categories that all cyclists fall into.  The first is called the “necessity” group.  They ride their bikes because they have to.  Sometimes they’re homeless and they traded a fellow house-less comrade a 40 ounce Steel Reserve and an Army t-shirt for a basic bike.  Other times the necessity cyclists are working-class stiffs who just need a mode of transportation and lack a car.  These people ride their bikes for transportation and because they have no other choice.  Which brings us to our second major category of bicyclists, the commodity cyclists.

These guys are the ones who have a car or two, but find enjoyment in riding their bikes.  They range from your average spandex-clad over-accessorized road racing individual, to the weekend adventurist mountain biker, to the around-town fixter.  These people could drive, but this is their hobby.  They’re in it to grab life by the handle bars… at their convenience.  They enjoy the fresh breeze from time-to-time, but when the temperature drops below 40, they cruise the Volvo.

Now, when you see a person on a bicycle you may wonder which category he or she fits into.  Some tell-all signs of a necessity cyclist are; riding on the sidewalk, pulling a little trailer full of everything he owns; wearing his work uniform, and not trying to look cool- he’s just biking to work.  The exact opposite is true of the commodity cyclists; they only ride in the road, as if it were designed specifically for them.  If they have a little trailer it undoubtedly has their future cyclist child inside.  The commodity cyclists clip into their pedals.  The commodity cyclists wear a uniform as well, but it’s a uniform determined by style.  The road racers have their spandex jerseys and the fixters have their expensive tight clothes and wear locomotive engineer caps.

The sub-genres of cyclists are arguable, but the two main categories hold true.  Sometimes there are border-line cyclists such as biking hippes, in which case it’s difficult to determine if they are a commodity or a necessity.  If you are ever unsure, just ask yourself; is this guy’s bike a mode of transportation or an accessory?