Utility vs. Sport

Because I bike everywhere and that is odd to many people, I get a lot of odd questions.

Giving Perspective

Explaining the difference between utility cyclist and sport cyclist has gotten old. So I’ve just started playing dumb and asking them if they do this when they drive:

Giving Perspective

Just for the fun of making them explain the difference between a utility motorist and a race car driver.

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43 Comments on "Utility vs. Sport"

November 25, 2013

You should do what works for you.

What works for my commute is bike specific clothing so that’s what I will wear.

November 26, 2013

Agreed. I wear cycling gear for my bike commute because that’s what’s most comfortable to me.

Jon Webb
November 26, 2013

Yeah, but that’s a hilly ride over ten miles w/shower facilities at the other end. A ride of a few miles, to the grocery store, is another thing.

November 25, 2013

Why do we let the the term “cyclist” be such a stigma? I know I hate it. Still, “pedestrian” seems acceptable. Maybe because people in cars aren’t typically referred to as “motorists”?

Jon Webb
November 26, 2013

People call them “drivers” but that applies to anyone operating a vehicle, including a bicycle. “Motorist” is what I’ve been using. Takes some retraining. “Avid motorist” is one I’d like to use someday, if I ever meet someone who really likes their commute in a car.

Hermann Weissflog
November 27, 2013

Ten miles with a bike is nothing but a nice opportunity to have some refreshing air and take a look at the neighborhoods. It’s a trip between 30 to 50 minutes for a typical cyclist.

Everything depends on multiple variables: amount of clothes, weather, length of the trip, and speed. If you have a long trip ahead, you can pick up some lighter clothes, unless the weather is chilly, in which case warming up while cycling is just a welcomed effect. Still, there’s never need to use (those extremely uncomfortable, ugly, and plastic) special bike gear. A standard merino wool (which is the material of choice for the high-end bike wear) jumper is a fabulous garment and an excellent choice for any cycling trip – and I’ve spent some weeks on my bike trips. If you need a jacket or a coat, you can take it off while it gets too warm.

Sweat is not a problem if you take care of you hygiene and keep your clothes clean. Wool clothes are also perfect in this manner because it takes a very long time to make them smelly – unlike plastic bike wear which usually smells appalling after just one day of cycling.

And if you’re not made of sugar, you can ride the bike in almost any weather from heavy rain to snowstorm. Who cares if you’re a little wet – or soaked. At least it is refreshing. A couple of inches of snow gives that nice extra challenge.

Layering, wise material choices, and some persistence is all you need to stop using a personal car in a (reasonably sized) city. Taxi, public transit, and delivery services probably become cheaper in the long run – not taking in account that you get free exercise during your trips and stop wasting time on commuting and fixing your car.

November 27, 2013

@Jon There are indeed people who refer to themselves as avid motorists. They read Car & Driver Magazine, file lawsuits against cities that install red light cameras, complain incessantly about people who “dangerously” drive at the speed limit, write letters to the editor explaining how their scofflaw behavior is safe because they’re all “above average” drivers. You can find a bunch of them at websites like Motorists.org.

November 27, 2013

How about “mechanized pedestrian” in stead of cyclist?

July 3, 2015

Certainly not. There is *nothing* pedestrian about me when I ride. Because it really feels more like flying (although sometimes in traffic it’s more like Millennium Falcon Among the Asteroids).

November 25, 2013

Love it. I used to drive race cars that I built, now I build bicycles 😉 I only had one thing that carried over from the race car to my street car and that was the restraints. Race cars have real restraints that hold your body in the seat and don’t let it move around. By comparison your standard OEM seatbelts are about as effective as relying on corduroy pants to keep you in your seat. To wit I have friends that have walked away from hitting a concrete wall at 100 MPH without any airbags, the “walk away” speed designed for street cars to meet is 35 MPH with at least 2 airbags deployed per front seat occupant (face saver and knee saver).

November 26, 2013

Great cartoon, thanks!

[…] gets it right, again. UTILITY VS. SPORT I used to drive race cars back in the day and I had friends who walked away from hitting a concrete […]