Bike tribes


Slightly retro
West Wales
In my formative years, there were 'racers' (steep frame angles, short rear triangle), 'tourers' (slack angles, longer wheelbase) and that new invention, the mountain bike (rigid, steel frame, low gearing, big tyres). I find the variety today amazing, but I'm still not convinced it's a quantum leap over the older ideas. We tend to ride light, ride heavy or ride offroad, still.


I don’t usually get the boat out to go shopping
"Sailing" was an answer to the question "What other sport is so versatile?", not "What other mode of transport is so versatile?".

I would say that sailing has a greater variability of the form of the basic vehicle than does cycling. And certainly a greater range of size.


Kilometre nibbler
This categorising, and sub-categorising of bikes does my head in. I can see that it is important for competition cyclists to have the most purpose built, ultra fit for purpose machines. But for the fat geezers wearing lycra when they really, really shouldnt, it just looks like a triumph of marketing BS over common sense......
So what are you saying? That there are two categories of bikes: Category 1: Bikes that are categorised that people really shouldn't ride; Category 2: Uncategorised bikes that people should ride.

Is that it? ;)


Slightly retro
West Wales
Same here, racers, tourers, shoppers then MTB's came along. We had unknowingly been building MTB's for years from bits and tearing through the woods on them.
Cowhorn handlebars on an old racer frame was our woods-offroad-thrashing machine back in the 70s:okay:
The 60s for me. In our neck of the woods, called a 'tracker'. Any old frame, cowhorns, the widest tyres you could fit, and a do-or-die attitude. Ride it, break it, mend it, rinse and repeat.

I had forgotten the category of 'shoppers'. We regarded them with disdain, as they were the kind of bike your Mum would have. But we probably missed out on a lot of fun by ignoring them.
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Slightly retro
West Wales
Well, Tim Moore rode a MIFA 900, an East German shopping bike, probably the bike equivalent of a Trabant, the length of the Iron Curtain, Finland to the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, the story is in the book linked to above.
I love it when people do amazing things with improbable machinery. Didn't some guy take an Australian postie motorcycle (110cc and a utility design) and ride it back to the UK?

Edit: yes, he did:


Über Member
Just some musings of mine with a generous garnish of generalisations . . .

Professional competitive cycling aside, I think that partly, the classification of bikes serves a purpose for marketing/buying but more often than not, it is a method for the industry to pigeon-hole customers into disciplines* and that those disciplines are created/designed by the industry from competitive cycling disciplines, or an approximation of one. If you can't be sold to as a road-racer, time triallist, off-roader, etc. and if none of the above, can't be sold a gravel/adventure bike, then they try to sell you a "utility bike", which will probably be low-end and not really suitable (e.g. cheap front suspension and knobbly tyres for the shopping).

This encourages the consumer to pigeon-hole their cycling activities and, if different disciplines are participated in, identify a need for multiple bikes. Whether the cyclist has one or many bikes, when they ride a particular bike, they have been defined and pigeon-holed, thus facilitating a tribal identity - not only between cyclists but also as a whole for certain non-cycling people to treat as a hostile tribe.

Not many years ago, most people didn't have a car and a good proportion used a bike instead. Bikes were marketed differently in those days; there were still different types of bike marketed differently from other types and there has always been the sporty/racer type bike, but it was more like the way cars have been marketed in recent decades - freedom of the open road, luxury, utility, reliability (and sporty/racer).

Nowadays, in the western world, especially the USA and the UK, it seems that car ownership is considered by most to be the norm, a neccessity and even a human right. Being a motorist nowadays has parallels to what being a "cyclist" once was but no longer is - being a cyclist is no longer the norm and is no longer seen by the majority as an acceptable means of transport - it is seen as a statement of being different to the norm and in direct opposition to the motor-driving majority, whether the person on the bike is just using a bike to go about their business or has identified themself as a road-racing clubman who otherwise uses the car for everything else including getting to the start of the group ride.

*The music industry has a history of pigeon-holing bands into categories of music (R&B, folk etc.) for marketing purposes too - and sometimes I find it most unhelpful.
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