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Whew! On my bikpacking trips, I like to store my camp fuel inside the tubes of my bike. Glad to know that’s still safe.
I don’t know if the Aussies call cyclists “bikers”, but I’m all for it. I used to get haughty about the distinction; I could sniff, “I’m a cyclist, not a biker” with the most devout Forester disciple.
Then, while living in a place where the early settlers used “biker” as a pejorative to refer to the newcomers who invaded the small town to ride trails, I had an epiphany handed to me. A local heard my spiel about being a cyclist, and he asked, “So, Ron, what’s your favorite kind of bicycling?”
“Mountain biking,” I said, though he already knew that.
“And you do that on a mountain bike?” He was smirking now.
“Um, yes?” I sensed check-mate.
“So, you’re a mountain cyclist?”
I knew I was beaten, but it was liberating, as when any minority takes back the language of its oppressors. You want me to be a biker? Fine, I’m a biker. Now give me a PBR can to crush on my head.
The implication of “I’m not a biker” has always been, “I’m not one of those anti-social, violent, misogynistic one-percenters (the pre-Occupy meaning)”. But instead of feeling somehow insulted by the term, we should embrace it for all the anti-hero qualities which make cultural icons of bikers.
After all, we choose an outcast status. We take to the roads proud and independent, but we’ve got each other’s backs. Society may look down on us, but that’s only because they’re trapped in tall cages.
And not only do we tend to enjoy beer, we also know how to convert it to energy to power our bikes. So who’s the real biker?
I’m in the group that doesn’t really care either way what I’m called, though I might get slightly annoyed at the ambiguity.