June 14, 2009/ Jim Parker
Some may say that I am a bikist. I confess that I think that my bike is better than other bikes. Sure, I know that any human-powered vehicle moving down the road is worthy of respect. But when I see a person suffering along the road on an uncomfortable road bike, I actually have pity for them. I see them rub their straining neck. I see them shake out their numb hands. I know, like only a doctor can know, what the saddle on that road bike is doing to their perineum, especially if they are overweight…
the compression of the small arteries and nerves against the pubic rami, decreasing blood flow, and the cumulative effects of recurrent ischemia. But some of the “roadies” are trapped in their own “bikism”. They are unable to break free of their own pride and prejudice to try a recumbent bicycle that doesn’t look like they think a bike should look. I have been a victim of bikism, too. I tried to enter a triathlon and ride my Cruzbike, and was told that I couldn’t. They said it wouldn’t be fair, because I would be too fast, and I said, “so disqualify me, but let me ride.” They said “no”. I think this is a clear example of institutional bikism because the USAT holds a position of power, and uses that power to discriminate against bicycles that are actually safer to ride. While the vast majority of the road bikers I meet are polite and even complimentary of the look and performance of my Cruzbike, I have occasionally felt the sting of bikism from individuals on the road.
“Get a real bike!” someone shouted just after a group of us crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on Cruzbikes and were heading to Sausalito. I think it peaved this roadie that the spectacular beauty of bicycling in this area was accessible to recumbent cyclists, who didn’t have to suffer, like he did, to partake in the experience.
Bikism is rampant in the recumbent world, perhaps even more than in the road bike community. Because Cruzbike aren’t rear wheel drive and don’t have the long chain, little wheels, and long wheel base of most other recumbents, we are considered outside the “mainstream” of recumbent bicycles, if such a thing were possible. It’s not uncommon for Cruzbike not to be included in “comprehensive” buyer’s guides to recumbent bicycles by people considered “experts” on recumbents. An individual recumbent rider who has never ridden a Cruzbike, recently explained to me why my bike can’t turn and climb a hill at the same time.
My reply: “quite the contrary, Sir… and I’d like to see your recumbent climb up and over the spiral pedestrian bridge near the Santa Monica pier… and what’s your turning radius on that 8-foot-long telephone-pole-on-wheels that you call a bicycle?”
I won’t deny that I am a Cruzbike Supremacist, but until Cruzbike grows into a dominant force in the bicycle world, which is my goal, I probably am not technically a bikist.