For years I’ve wanted to live in a city where more bicycles were on the road than cars. It’s environmentally friendly, a great way to get fit, and you save money too. I think that’s one of the reasons I love the idea of living in Denmark – a country with a great cycling community ranging from young to old, and thin to thick, which doesn’t discriminate against race, religion or budget. Almost everyone can learn to ride!
I also live next to a main road and I am so sick of the exhaust smell that comes into the house. I know it’s not good for me or for the environment. But if we had more bicycles on the road….
I’ve loved the design of bicycles and how their mechanics are visible. I always think it’s so amazing how this machine which doesn’t run on fuel can transport us so efficiently, just using our own energy. I like anything with a design of a bicycle on them – notebooks, diaries, cushions, bedspreads, wall-art, clocks etc.
So I think they’re pretty to look at, efficient, and important for the planet. So cycling is obviously something you would expect me to partake in, right? WRONG! There are two reasons why I resist in purchasing a bicycle:
1) the idea of riding on the road along with cars (potential speeding bullets of destruction) really frightens me.
2) THE BIKE SNOBS OF MELBOURNE!!!
Ok, so you may or may not be thinking “what’s no. 2 about?” Well, for those who don’t know, road cycling is increasing in popularity in Melbourne. We (Melburnians) have more racing competitions on than we’ve ever had before (I think? Don’t quote me on that). Our cycling culture is growing which is always a good thing, but with that it seems the community has also formed a group of elitist snobs who poke fun at people who don’t have the best bike, the most athletic body, the best equipment, the most shaved body…etc etc (ok, I don’t know if the last one is true…). I base my opinion on the fact I know, or have known, quite a few of these bike snobs, who, not surprisingly, are no fun to be around because all they do is talk about cycling and how great of an athlete they are.
So I haven’t cycled since I was a kid so I don’t know how I’ll go on it. I know “it’s like riding a bike” but I went to the bike shop today and was ignored by the staff there. They weren’t so busy they could not have helped me – maybe I didn’t look hipster enough (it was a North Melbourne store). Anyway, I got on one of the retro ladies’ bikes and almost toppled over. It felt so heavy…and big!
I’d eventually like a good quality bicycle but I need to know that I will actually use it, so I came home and started looking up various department stores for more affordable one’s, like Target, Big W, Kmart etc. I wanted to find out what people thought of them on cycling forums, but 99% of the time there’s a bike snob commenting that those bicycles are all terrible, DESPITE HAVING NEVER TRIED ONE! Seriously, this is what all the forums were like. Not everyone has money to spend on a top quality bicycle and don’t plan on entering racing competitions and go on Great Ocean Road rides like they do. They made it sound like there was a high chance I will DIE if I ever ride a department store bicycle. I get the feeling they almost don’t want us to join their community so it remains exclusive to them.
Now I don’t know what to do. I want to test out a riding a bicycle before I commit to buying something that’s better quality and longer lasting.
I think I could learn to ignore the snobbish cyclists but here is my message to the lovely, kind knowledgeable cyclists out there is for you to give your two cents in cycling forums, especially where beginners are concerned so we don’t feel so intimidated. The snobs have left us without answers. THE CYCLING COMMUNITY IN MELBOURNE DEPENDS ON YOU! Thank you.
Of course, if anyone reading has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them – unless you’re a bicycle snob of course 😉
Apple of Sodum
Artist of image (above): Juri Romanov (sourced from http://www.theartzoo.com)