A friend said something the other day that really caused me to take pause. She said that my bike commuting was a Life Style choice, and she was really glad that I enjoyed it and got great benefit from it, but that it isn’t the choice for everyone.
This really opened my eyes to how I’m viewed by my family and co-workers. Am I some guy who’s made a fairly radical “Life Style Choice” by getting to and from work on a bicycle? That’s certainly not how I see it, but the more I think about it, the more I see her point.
It’s customary that whenever someone is transferred from my office, we have a party where some small tokens or gag-gifts are exchanged. Without fail, I always receive some sort of bicycle related thing (reflective gear, a bell, etc). It annoys me, because cycling is just how I get to work, and a small part of how I spend my weekends. I also love baseball, books, soccer, beer, engineering, etc. I don’t wear spandex or cycling shoes
But is my assessment accurate? Am I portraying to the world the person I am, or am I portraying my mode of transport? I do spend an awful lot of time reading cycling related content. I spend a lot of my disposable income on bicycle parts and expenses. And I show up at work everyday slightly sweaty carrying a pannier.
What am I doing “wrong” that my friends, family, and co-workers aren’t seeing the complete me, but instead are focusing on the part of me that enjoys and utilizes cycling? Is it my behavior, or is their view of me tinted by their lifestyle choices and prejudices? I don’t want to be “that bike guy.” I want to be an example of how easy it is to incorporate cycling into a completely normal life. Clearly, I’m failing in that pursuit.