Toe Clips, Uprights & Wobblers
I divide cyclists into three loosely defined
classifications, Toe clips, Uprights, and Wobblers, while there are
overlaps between each group, there are certain elements that define each group.
Off road cyclists pedal to a tune of a different drummer but pretty much fall
into the category of the Toe Clips, with some exceptions in equipment.
The toe clip crowd as you might expect represent the serious
cyclist, the are easily identified by their Lycra team jerseys and the funny
clicking sounds of their toe clip shoes when they are moving as bipeds
(walking). They are often young and thin, helmet usage is virtually 100%. They
are an important part of bicycling.
They will always wear cycle shorts, and have more than one set.
They equip their bikes with cyclometers.
They carry tools, including a spare tube and air pump.
They wear cool Lance Armstrong sunglasses
The carry a water bottle (maybe two) bearing some sort of cycling
shop logo or tour/ride with a pop up drinking spout.
This is the fast crowd they ride head down leaning forward for
less wind resistance.
Their seat is at the right height
They take the front wheels off and transport their rides on the
roofs of small fuel efficient cars
They ride a hundred miles and call it a century.
They know maximum air pressure gives least rolling resistance,
and always top off before riding.
They expect flat tires while riding, and can change a tire in
less than 10 minutes; a flat is quickly forgotten.
They know all the rules for cycling with other cyclist, and
vehicular traffic. They keep theirs eyes the road and other traffic.
They belong to clubs and often ride as a group,
They read bicycling magazines.
They know the bike shop guy by his first name.
They will volunteer to help with an organized ride for their
They have narrow performance saddles, and their butt hurts after
The upright crowd (that is where we fit in) sits upright, if
they are leaning forward over their handle bars call an ambulance. Uprights
cover a wide segment of cyclist; they don’t consider themselves racers, but are
serious enough to buy good equipment that fits from a local shop. They are
sometimes older, and not so thin, they usually wear a helmet. They are an
important part of bicycling.
They know there is padding in cycle shorts, often wearing the
baggie type that hides the skin tight look. They can’t imagine needing more than
They may have a cyclometer but call it a speedometer.
They might carry tools, and a tire patch kit, but no pump, or
They wear the sunglasses they keep in the car for driving.
They carry a “say no to drugs” water bottle their kid got from
school, and the spout leaks.
They sit upright to see the sights, and because their back hurts.
They think their seat height is right, even though it is too low.
They haul their bikes around on a rack that is in back of a mini
van or SUV.
They might have heard what a century is, and know they will never
ride that far, but will dream of maybe doing a metric century (62
They might check the air pressure before they start a ride.
They hope to never have a flat tire, but could fix one if they
do; a flat would ruin the ride, and their day.
They may know the rules for cycling, and might use them if they
aren’t distracted by the scenery.
They might belong to a group or club.
The read the cycling magazines while at the doctor’s office.
The might remember what the bike shop guy looks like if they see
him again, in his shop.
They might participate in a club ride.
They might have a “good” saddle, and their butt hurts after 25
The wobbler crowd is named for the small kids learning to
ride; the tiny wheels, and unskilled bike control makes the little ones wobble
all over a bike path or lane. However I apply the term wobbler to all those who
don’t know how to ride a bicycle regardless of age, they don’t know their
limits, they don’t know their bike, and they are a hazard to themselves and to
other cyclist. Unless they are mandated by law, (i.e. children) they don’t wear
helmets. They are an important part of cycling… Yes you heard me right, bad
cyclists can be made into good cyclists, everyone was a wobbler once, besides
for the two days a year they pull the bikes out they think they are cyclists
and support cycle initiatives.
They wouldn’t be caught dead wearing “bicycle spandex” and
don’t know why people wear them.
They have a basket to carry their dog, but don’t carry any tools.
They can never understand why the “bottle holder thingy”
won’t fit a Coke bottle.
Their seat height is always too low, and they don’t have a wrench
to raise it anyway.
They carry bicycles in the back of the van, pick-up or anything
that will fit them, they don’t own a rack.
They know a century is 100 years, and will never ride more than
100 miles total in this century.
They might squeeze their tires to see if they’re flat.
They are stranded by a flat tire, someone must fix it for them;
they retell their flat tire story to all their friends for the next week.
They don’t need a license to ride a bike; they’re out to see
nature, oblivious to those around them.
They think a bicycle club is an anti-theft device for their
They saw Lance Armstrong in Time magazine once.
They know the neighbor kid who sold them their bike at Walmart.
They think anyone with a number on their back must be in a race.
They have a huge spring loaded wide “seat” and their butt hurts
after 5 miles.