Are You a Bike Snob?
Cycling is big business. You just have to look at that rack outside the Bloomsbury to know that a heavy percentage of the UCL student body is into pedal power. But with vast numbers of cyclists comes the inevitable class division.
• At the bottom of the rank is the humble pedestrian, who can only look on with awe (fear). Often doesn’t understand that the cycle lane is not an extension of the pavement.
• Second up: the Occasional User, whose last bike had stabilizers and now rents off Boris for a jaunt. Often doesn’t understand that the pavement is not an extension of the cycle lane.
• Next is the middle class, populated by the majority. If you own a bike, you’re probably here. Owners see their bike as a vehicle to get from A to B. Sticks to the No Biking on Pavement rule, instead harbours silent resentment against any road traffic.
• Top rung is reserved for the Bike Snob. This means hipster cyclists on Bianchis, but also includes the high-vis commuter with a Brompton fold-away (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko5jb_1p6EY) or a specialized hybrid. These guys know their shit. The bike is an object of veneration, adoration. Sacrifices are made on the altar of the Bike God. All hail Chris Hoy.
Unsure of where you stand (or sit) in the world of two wheels? Here’s a simple test to work out where you fall:
1. Do any of the following turn you on?
– Skin tight Lyrca (1 point)
– A Brooks saddle (2 points)
– A row of green traffic lights fading into the horizon (3 points)
– Kelly Brooke (nil point.)
2. What is the function of a bike?
– To get places (1 point)
– To get kudos (2 points)
– To get in the way of traffic (nil point.)
3. Have you ever said any of the following?
– ‘A Boris bike is not a real bike’ (1 point)
– ‘Did you build that yourself?’ (2 points)
– ‘I built it myself’ (3 points)
– ‘Why build a bike when Halfords can do it?’ (-1 point)
4. What is the fork?
– The right fork makes a massive difference to your ride (2 points)
– The right fork makes a massive difference to your meal (0 points)
5. Have you ever worn any of the following?
– A helmet (1 point)
– Toe clips (2 points)
– Never wear a helmet; it ruins the look (3 points)
0- 6: Long way to go.
7-12: Middle of the road.
13: Fully fledged Bike Snob.
Bike Snobs, with great arrogance comes the space for enormous error. Although there is usually no way down for someone already in that saddle, there are a few trademark signs that you may be turning that way:
You’ve told people that a back brake is for losers/ view brakes as somehow ‘impure.’
You’ve had the chain/D-lock argument.
You believe No Biking on Pavement rule does not apply to you. In fact, there is nowhere on the road that isn’t for the bike. All tarmac is bike tarmac.
Because although being a Bike Snob ain’t a crime, try not to turn out like this guy…