How Do You Define a Cyclist?

There are those of us who ride bikes, those who race, and those that commute by bicycle or use it for countless other reasons.  Some are on road bikes, some on BMX, fixie, mountain, urban, tandem, or one of the many other varieties.  However you slice it up, however you ride….you’re a cyclist, Right?

Maybe, but how do you really define a cyclist?

Of course the easy answer is, “someone who rides a bike”.  But I don’t feel it’s as simple as that.  Why, you may ask?  Well consider the guy on his bike who’s out on the street, not wearing a road bike helmet, weaving in and out of traffic with total disregard for pedestrians and vehicles in his way.  He’s on a bike, but would we want to label him a cyclist and group ourselves with him?

How about the person who rides their bike because they have no other options for a means to get around. I once asked this of a man who lives on the streets of Austin.  He has a bike and is often seen around downtown on it, but he doesn’t consider himself a cyclist.  “I ride this bike so I can get where I need to go”, is what he told me.  He didn’t say it, but I could tell he wasn’t fond of the “cyclist” label.

I was going to take a stab at coming up with a definition, but then backed out at the last minute.  I honestly don’t think there is one definition that can sum up all the greatness that comes from being a cyclist.

Below are a couple more definitions from some of our online friends who responded to this question on Twitter.  But now it’s your turn….are you willing to take a stab at defining a cyclist?  Maybe it doesn’t need to be defined.  We ride bikes….maybe that’s all that matters.



    To me cyclist has a specific meaning and then there is bicyclist which I put an entirely different meaning to. I think it is pretty easy to see where I am going with these two words so is there a difference? To me yes and it spells out more of what kind of cyclist you are.

  • The Early Morning Cyclist

    Me. Can’t really speak on behalf of anyone else.

  • radar50

    An enthusiast …but why label! ;)