Comments by Sir Bradley Wiggins have raised the question of what it takes to be a 'cyclist' is riding a bike enough to qualify you as a cyclist or is more required - like a British Cycling membership card?
> Wiggins: London cyclists need to stick to the law
According to Oxford Dictionaries, a “cyclist” is “a person who rides a bicycle.” But the country’s most famous cyclist appears to suggest an even narrower definition – perhaps even implying that he or she must also be a member of British Cycling.
He said that people on bikes who commit offences such as riding through a red light “are termed under the phrase ‘cyclist’ but they’re not cyclists as such, they are not membership holders of British Cycling.”
The ins-and-outs apart of the wider points Wiggins was making – and his words have attracted plenty of comment here and elsewhere – he does raise an interesting philosophical point; what is a “cyclist”?
Is it enough simply to use pedal power to get around, or do you need to have certain competences, to be a member of some organisation before you can truly call yourself one?
Or does the act of thinking of yourself as a cyclist - metaphorically affixing that six letter label - to the inside of your head automatically confer 'cyclist' status?
It’s the kind of thing you might see in forum postings, or in below-the-line comments to news articles on websites such as this one that report on cyclists breaking the law whether traffic-related, or some other type of offence.
You don’t have to wait too long for someone to point out that the person in the article wasn’t actually a “cyclist” but just someone who happened to be on a bike.
Many will point out that it’s wrong an entire class of people get tarred with the same brush due to the actions of a few – the “all cyclists jump red lights” mentality some motorists hold, for example.
But the fact remains that to most non-riders, people on bikes are a pretty homogenous bunch, and “cyclists” is what they call them; no-one ever seems to suggest that a motorist committing a string of offences shouldn’t be called a “driver.”
So, are you a cyclist? And how would you define what it takes to be one – someone on two wheels (or a unicycle, or a trike), or does it take something else and if so, what? Let us know in the comments below.
Well, I thought it was large hands and a medium head, but the helmet manufacturer disagreed
This needs repeating more often! Most would be driven safely and the ones driven dangerously would eventually take care of the problem for us.
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