A few times a year I have the opportunity to bike in Vancouver. Thanks to the many improvements in recent years that have made getting around on a bike safer and more fun, Vancouver is really on the forefront of the growing popularity in Metro Vancouver of the bicycle as a way to get around. But when I’m pedaling around downtown Vancouver, with one “cyclist” after the other passing me in a hurry on his way to or from work, I kind of feel like a different species sometimes, being on an upright bike and taking my time to enjoy my ride. Granted, when I bike in Vancouver I’m not on my way to work. But when I lived in the Netherlands and biked to work, I also had an upright bike and didn’t go particularly fast. Not fast enough to break into a sweat, unless I was late for work. It was just unheard of in the Netherlands – at least in those days – to take a shower once you got to work. I suspect not much has changed in that respect.
In the Netherlands, I never felt like I was a “cyclist” – I just happened to use my bike to go wherever I needed to go. Here in Canada, I’m a cyclist. Don’t ask me why.
Actually, here’s a great article from the Post Carbon Institute’s Energy Bulletin that explains quite well why you don’t have to be a “cyclist” to ride a bike.