The San Diego bikeist (cue trumpet fanfare)

Because “biker” was already taken.
  • Because “biker” was already taken.

First:  what is a “bikeist,” anyway? I’ll begin by telling you what a bikeist is not. Importantly, a bikeist is not a “bikelist.” From The Urban Dictionary: Bikelist (pronounced: bike-a-list) — Someone who rides a bicycle for both leisure and commuting purposes, but with no understanding of (or total disregard for) the rules of the road/traffic laws. One who doesn’t use the proper hand signals when turning/slowing/stopping. A person who does not wear a helmet (or wear it properly). A person who chooses to act as a pedestrian when it suits him/her (i.e., riding on sidewalks, pathways, etc.). Someone who was simply given a bike by their parents and taught no rules or considerations.

Tom: “Look at that asshole over there. Riding his bike on that busy sidewalk.”

Carlos: “Stupid bikelists!”

I have to admit that, as fond as I am of this web definition, the interplay of Tom and Carlos is what, in my opinion, makes it one of the all-time greatest web entries ever. Sheer brilliance!  Particularly because it provides the perfect segue into my counter-definition:

Cyclist (pronounced: poseur) — According to my buddy and fellow bike commuter Mark (who is from Kansas), he is a bike-rider and not a “cyclist.”  Cyclists, to Mark, are the spandex-clad schmucks who zip by him on the Strand bike path without calling their pass and without slowing down for pedestrians, baby-joggers (God forbid!), kids on bikes with training wheels, the disabled, the elderly, those in need of emergency resuscitation, or anything else that interferes in any way with their preciously earned momentum.  Ironically, “cyclists,” as perceived by the public at large (especially Mark), are viewed much in the same way that Tom and Carlos perceive “bikelists.”

Interestingly, both of these bike-riding archetypes have also been referred to popularly as “Freds.” I love the term “Fred,” but, like the previous two terms, it seems to have been prone to frequent propagandist misuse. What exactly does it mean? My crack research team feverishly Googled “Fred” for a good ten minutes, and the best they could come up with is that “Fred” began as a derogatory term slung at seemingly novice bike-riders by bonafide, spandex-clad “cyclists.” 

Heh. Many a solo trekker, 60 miles into his or her umpteenth 80-mile segment of the Pacific Coast Bike Route has suffered the indignity of hearing “Fred” uttered under the breath of a poseur hidden amongst a gaggle of club riders breezing by in a sloppy “paceline” on their arduous 20-mile Saturday morning group ride. Ironically, many Freds have embraced the term as a badge of honor, especially those who could out-pace, out-climb, and out-sprint most supposed “cyclists” whilst riding non-racing bikes in non-spandex clothing.  Ironically, many have also turned the term “Fred” on its head, using it to refer to the poseurs themselves — “über Freds” being the apex of pure poseur ridiculousness.

So, what is a wannabe bike blogger to do when confronted with all this divisiveness on what should be a simple task:  how to refer to one’s own self? My decision was to do what I have always done — pull something out of my butt. Again, I set my crack team (really, no pun intended) to the task of marathon Googling, and they are fairly certain that the term “bikeist” has never before been posted, listed, defined, conceived, or even uttered.  Thus, henceforth, I will be known throughout the land as:  the San Diego Bikeist (cue trumpet fanfare).

Finally, to bring my brilliant, historic, second blog post to an epic conclusion, I will provide you with my definition of a “bikeist.”

Bikeist (pronounced: bike-ist) — One who is enthusiastic about bicycles and the riding of them.

That’s me in a nutshell. And, more importantly, is inclusive of most all members of the various bike “tribes” out there — be they cyclists, Freds, commuters, Randonneurs, racers, fixie riders, mountain-bikers, bike mechanics, or BMXers. While I intend to poke fun at members of all of the above factions (especially myself), this blog is not intended to purport that there is any single best or superior approach to riding and/or loving bikes. If you approach bicycles with genuine, unpretentious enthusiasm, then this blog is for you. You, too, are a “bikeist.”


[Post has been edited for length.]

Title: The San Diego Bikeist | Address: sdbikeist.blogspot.com

Author: The San Diego Bikeist | From: Coronado/Embarcadero | Blogging since: Sept. 2013

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