The Cycle take on this literary masterpiece. All of Cycles comments are in Italics in Brackets.

FEW issues divide the Adelaide community – and some regional cities – more than cyclists. It’s hard not to have a view about cyclists. Hard not to stand on either the black square or the white square. (What a load of rubbish, most cyclists are motorists after a certain age)


You either love them or love to hate them. They are an environmental asset or a traffic nuisance. They are safe, they are dangerous. Cyclists are courteous, they are rude. (Oh, till that last bit, I thought they were talking about Prius drivers or other motorists, I would not describe most riders like that at all)


But it’s not that simple. Cyclists are tribal. Some are quite different to others, just as lions are different to tigers and leopards. The tribal make-up works something like this: (diatribe, some of us own multiple bikes, ride many disciplines, it really is as simple as saying - but like ANYTHING, there are groups and subcultures)


THE COMMUTER: Often travels solo. Wears slacks, jeans, shorts and even business clothes. Regulars on designated off-road tracks through parks, as well as main street bike lanes. Usually carry a back pack. Generally polite and considerate. (This would be the view held by Bicycle Network who believes that 12kms is as far as a commuter goes. Bad news Rex, commuters come from further, are many things, ride many different bikes, wear different clothes) 


THE STUDENT: A down-market version of the commuter. Basic bikes. Again, commonly seen on off-road cycle/pedestrian paths. Can be feisty but usually share the road equitably with motor vehicles. (What age we talking, Uni students use the roads, High school students use quieter roads, Primary students use footpaths. As for feisty - a 12 year old girl that gets a drink thrown at her by a kid from the high school is more timid than feisty) 


THE FAMILY: One or two parents with a couple of kids. Rarely seen on public roads, preferring to keep to off-road cycle paths. Happily use their warning bells. Always travel at a sedate pace, but sometimes a little erratic in their keep-left discipline. (One thing Rex forgets is that to get to the park, families ride there. Pedestrians can also be described thusly, with the added 'let their dogs walk and poo all over the place) 


THE GRANDIES: Less certain than the family group, grandies with their grandchildren are ultra-cautious and defensive. They only emerge on off-street cycle paths and in parks and gardens. Slow and steady, but a delight to see them out and about. (OK, interesting, haven't noticed these guys out on my travels, see most grandparents riding in groups with other grandparents, usually quite quickly, let's take Rex's word on this one). 


THE ELDERLY: Older people who have decided cycling is a good way to get fit and commune with nature. Prefer designated cycle and pedestrian paths. Tend to dawdle and always considerate. (Still need to get to the paths, but yeah, I see them regularly. Often chatting to each other, often forget or don't hear people behind them). 


THE ATHLETE: A curious breed, they set out in the pre-dawn gloom and ride perhaps 100km to cover the necessary 10km to work. Can do 100km on a Sunday ride. Usually obsessive riders, using main roads as their private gymnasium. They could be a touch more tolerant. (Tolerance goes both ways here Rex, pre-dawn is to avoid you lot in your cars because we know not to expect any tolerance. 100ks, 200ks, 60ks, we ride what we want to because we choose to).


THE ALTERNATE: A rare species with an unconventional bicycle or tricycle. They may be ridden lying almost prone or powered by hand-rotated pedals. A touch self-righteous and intolerant of inconsiderate motorists. (We are back to Prius drivers? {Sorry Prius drivers, it was all I could think of at the time} Rex, most of these riders have been injured by those inconsiderate drivers, many have lost limbs and have to use recumbent bikes. Some have served their country so you have your free speech and lost a leg. Have some understanding to why people may chose this type of bike)


THE KAMAKAZE: Constantly defies the road rules, jumping red lights, turning right in front of oncoming traffic, riding on footpaths and pedestrian crossings. Gives the whole bike riding community a bad name. (Yeah, well, in a car, we call them Hoons! But strangely Hoons don't give the whole motoring community a bad name). 


THE PATHWAY RACER: Usually a solitary species, the racer speeds excessively on off-road paths, notably along the River Torrens, esplanades and in the Adelaide parklands. Their cycles rarely have bells and they don’t cohabit well with pedestrians, children or leisure cyclists. A potential danger. (Usually end up on paths due to the fear of roads, mostly because of idiot drivers or one too many close calls. But we ask all path users to be considerate of others).


OFF-ROADERS: Normally found in hilly off-road regions. In more recent times have been liberated to use paths previously the right-of-way for hikers and walkers. Some more adventurous off-roaders are keen to ride cross-country or even pioneer new tracks, damaging the bush environment. Potentially dangerous, particularly for walkers in family groups. Rarely have warning bells. (Actually, you have this completely backward, most of these riders have always been here, they are the reason you have walking paths, they are the reason you have single trail paths. The reason you never noticed them before was because the path you used to use has been bulldozed for building, and you have to venture further into riding territory). 


THE ARMSTRONGS: Frustrated professionals, they travel in small groups or in large flocks. Easily identified in their multicoloured, skin-tight Lycra. Tend to travel two or three abreast on main roads and have little patience with motor vehicles. Regularly seen at weekends in trendy coffee shops. (Ok, let's get a few things clear here Rex. #1 Lycra is a brand, but is considered comfortable in long rides, would you prefer if we wore Cricket cups and Pads to the coffee shop, #2 Two abreast is legal and in South Australia - so is three when over taking, so stop acting so surprised. #3 So coffee shops have deliberately embraced the cyclist, adding more parking and more outdoor seating to attract them because unlike most Saturday morning clients, we drink our coffee and leave - others drink a 3 dollar coffee and sit for 2 hours reading a free paper). 


It is both wrong and unfair to treat all cyclists the same. Many are genuine, considerate commuters, environmentalists or people trying to improve their health and fitness. (Some just ride a bike Rex, some just want to get from A to B, none of them are trying to get in your way, and all are just out there to get fresh air that you fail to get in a car).


But when the tribes are identified, cyclists themselves must agree that there are some impolite, intolerant nuisances in their ranks. (Yes, true, and all of them drive cars and most drive how they ride). 


The surge in the popularity of cycles can work, but it will need a bit more indulgence and forbearance from everyone.

(Especially the media, time the media stop all the negitive energy around bikes and started to look at working with us).




Orgininal writer: Rex Jory, The Advertiser, AdelaideTwitter




Rex Jory - awarded Medal of the Order of Australia for services to Journalism.

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