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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41 Responses to “Utility vs. Sport”

  • Matthew J

    There are good alternatives to race style clothing out there. I’ve done multi-week tours wearing Schoeller fabric pants / shorts by Swrve and Outlier and Merino wool shirts from Outlier and Ibex. Found the attire very comfortable and did not experience chaffing.

    These were credit card tours. I especially liked being able to go into restaurants without becoming an instant curiosity.

  • steve

    The beauty of riding an electric bike is that you can choose your level of effort (irrespective of the terrain or wind) – you can put enough effort in to keep warm but can avoid getting hot and sweaty (so you can commmute in your work clothes). It’s brilliant!
    This is the future of bike riding for utility trips. Anyone can do it, you don’t have to be a ‘cyclist’.

  • dr2chase

    Flip-flops, clogs. Riding in whatever shoes you have saves you a lot of money in the winter, because winter “biking shoes” are fantastically expensive (I did once buy a pair, back before I knew better).

    And I did buy myself some new boots today, and I did have biking in mind when I bought them — which means, I wanted them to look nice enough, fit well, not be too heavy, and have room for nice warm socks.

  • CPTJohnC

    I would wear a nomex suit and helmet to drive my car, but I suspect the cops would not be happy with the helmet part… I seem to recall it is not legal as it might obstruct my vision… It might be worth checking. (But I do wear spandex to bike… of course my commute is also 20 miles each way… )

  • scott

    In my neighborhood I’m just know as the weird guy who doesn’t drive…Folks just leave me alone and I don’t have to have this discussion :)

  • Hey thanks for hyperbolic comic –especially overdressed motorcyclist into car.

    I am more a utility cyclist but I wear some cycling gear..I’m 5’1″ and petite. The last thing I want to do is wear out my business/street clothing: it’s tough to find clothing that fits me without major alterations and without paying a lot of money.

    So I need my cheap lycra tights, my cycling shoes…. Frankly I can’t imagine cycling in dress shoes.

  • James

    I’d love to wear normal clothes for my commute. Unfortunately, I cycle in London and around 6 miles each way. The roads are often wet and busy with traffic. My clothes can get wet from the grimy rain water. The traffic is fast and it takes skill and speed to negotiate it. Speed = perspiration. Less than you’d think, but I still prefer a change of clothes. Not least because the behind of my trousers can wear out and sweat stains can be hard to get out of shirts. I don’t need a shower, though, but do take some wipes.

    I don’t want to wear all the gear, but I think London is not hospitable to the idea of riding around on a nice upright Dutch style bike in your normal clothes taking in the scenery. You’re likely get a barrage of verbal abuse from a white van driver within 30 seconds.

  • Alex

    My ride to work is a 10+ mile ride with an almost mile-long hill climb at the end, so wearing the same clothes for my ride as for work isn’t usually an option for me. If my ride was flatter I think it would be OK, but if it’s above 65 outside I am damp when I get to work and DRENCHED when I get home (1 1/2 mile, even steeper hill on the return). My wife won’t let me near her until I shower, haha. Even in the colder months, I find it more comfortable to ride in more casual clothes that I can change out of. However, my office is poised to move further downtown in a few years. If I still work here, the ride will be cut by 3-4 miles and the Hudson River Greenway leads right to the new office doorstep, so I very well may not need to change then unless it’s sweltering out. I’m all for it.

  • steve

    For my regular commute (11 miles each way) I use my electric bicycle (a pedelec that adds some assistance as you pedal). This has the great advantage that I can CHOOSE the level of effort I put in. So I can ensure I go fast enoough to keep warm but not so fast that I perspire. I can therefore ride in my work clothes and do not need a shower when I get to work. Also if there is a hill or a headwind this doesn’t matter as I just use a little more electric assistance to keep my level of effort to the desired level. This really is the future of cycling/urban bike riding.

    I cover the 11 miles in 40-45 mins (whereas if I drive it can be anything from 30 mins to 55 mins). Cycling is also MUCH more enjoyable.

    I also commute once a week in London (4 miles each way) and I use the Barclays (Boris bikes). To avoid perspiring, I have to adjust my speed depending on the weather (so its more fun in the winter when you can cycle faster without perspiring). In warm weather I cycle more slowly and enjoy people watching as I go!

  • MarkC

    As someone who’s never worn cycling specific clothing since I got back into it in 2008, this is the way I see it: it should be worn depending on the distance, speed and terrain, for safety, practicality and comfort. For example, occasionally I do a 20-25 mile round trip to Fleet in Hampshire; on the way back at least it gets a bit uncomfortable on the backside so I’ve bought some cheap cycling shorts. For my regular 5-7 mile or less pootle (which makes up the majority of my 10,000 miles covered in that time, yes, I have a computer on the bike), it’s my everyday street clothes.

    The perception in the UK (and in the US by the sounds of it) is that cycling is still seen as something you have to gear up for simply by default. In my experience this is by BOTH cyclists (who don’t seem to get it) and non-cyclists. I think this is one barrier to cycling becoming more popular.

  • Jamie

    A lot of these work for the person who likes to walk/run places. I love walking everywhere. Stores, etc…and bring my son in the stroller with me and always have my shopping bags in the storage area under the stroller. Love your drawings! I am a fellow cartoonist…a just for fun a mommy and son cartoon.

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