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"

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John lavery

Glenn is right. There is nothing wrong with using the word ‘cyclist’ for one who rides a bike. It is the correct term just as ‘motorist’ is for someone who drives a car. If a motorist also races cars etc. then the term used for that is ‘Motorsport’. Similarly the term used for cyclists who race etc. should logically be ‘cyclesport’. Otherwise I agree with your approach 100%!

Thanks for sharing this post. I’ve gotten many of these questions myself especially as the weather gets colder (though I’ve never been asked about skirts). My own cycling gear has evolved lately from gym shorts & shirt & old sneakers to, well, everyday clothes. I don’t change when I get to the office anymore which saves me at least 10 minutes a day. I just put on my regular dress shoes (slip-ons so no fear of laces getting caught in the chain) and wear long pants and a sweater. What I wear on the bike is what I wear in… Read more »

The problem with comparing “utility” cycling versus “sport” cycling is that they’re not always necessarily mutually exclusive with regard to their requirmenets; a long distance commute begins to feel uncomfortable with regular clothing. As others have mentioned, if cycling gear is what it takes to be comfortable during a commute or other “utility” endeavor, so be it. Personally, I’m lucky that my commute is only 2.5 miles and I can wear my work clothing; if my commute were over 10 miles I absolutely would wear cycling-specific clothing and change at my destination.


The bicycle’s forte is under 10 miles IMO – where it has advantages over the car (in fair weather)

Mister Ed

Used to drive. Now I ride. Sometimes I walk. Bikeyface . . . you have the right perspective.


• That driver helmet makes a lot of sense, given their head injury rate.

Most of my jeans have gussets for ease of pedaling, but they don’t really stand out. The overall effect is that I’m wearing normal-looking (i.e. boring) clothes. As for “cyclist”/”ride a bike” nomenclature, I usually just go with “biker,” which makes for a curious juxtaposition with my boring clothes.