Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Mileage As Measure of Sport vs Transport

I was chatting with someone who wanted to know whether I was predominantly a recreational cyclist or a transportational one, and their criterion for determining this was mileage: how many miles I cycled for sport vs transport. Earlier I had seen an online poll that used the same measure - which made me wonder whether this is the de facto industry method for determining how cyclists see themselves. Do manufacturers conducting market research use mileage to understand what kinds of bicycles would be more in demand?

Even if I factor in the winter months, on average I cycle many more miles on a roadbike than I do for transportation. But I still see myself as a transportation cyclist first and foremost for one simple reason: I actually depend on my bike to get around. Sure, roadcycling is fun and I love it. But cycling for transportation is necessary. I do not drive and I am serious about not being able to take public transportation: I did it a total of maybe 6 times over the winter, each trip followed by nausea and migraine. When it snowed too much to ride a bike, I decreased my travel radius and compromised: Instead of going to my preferred stores, I went to the ones within walking distance, and I postponed a number of trips and activities. In the end, it wasn't so bad. But it made me aware of how bicycle-dependent I am. So even if my daily transportation trips total less than 5 miles, they are more important to me than a 50 mile "training" ride on a roadbike. In my view, that makes me a transportational cyclist.

What do you think of mileage as a determinant of what kind of cycling you affiliate yourself with - would your mileage be congruent with how you perceive yourself?


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