Does My Bike Love Me?

Life in the Bike Lane

Tom Frady

A recent study found cyclists form strong emotional bonds to their bikes.

A researcher from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences found some people’s identities are connected to their bicycles. The researcher interviewed avid cyclists to see how their identities were linked to their bikes.

Did we really need a study to tell us this? A good follow-up question would be, “Does the bike feel the same way toward his/her rider?”

“It always helps to have people we love beside us when we have to do difficult things in life,” averred Fred Rogers. I think Mr. Rogers was talking about pedaling up Baxter Grade when he said, “difficult things in life”. If one does not have a good relationship with one’s bike, that 1 ½ mile haul would be really tough. (Author’s note: It’s still tough.)

Like any good relationship, you need to take care of your, uh, partner. Sure, mountain bikers might occasionally leave their bikes outside after coming home from a muddy ride, but bikes never complain. But I’m sure those tough mountain bikes like the prospect of a warm bath.

A road bike always looks forward to seeing those tools come out for an adjustment and a good wipe down.

Bikes don’t gossip, although I will admit don’t really know what my bikes talk about out there in the garage when I’m not around.

You really don’t need to bring your bike into the bedroom living room on cold nights. It’s easier to cover him with an electric blanket in the garage. Carbon Fiber bikes like the blanket set at “2”. Aluminum bikes like “4”.

Bikes don’t nag you to eat better, call your mother or take them out for a ride. They don’t really expect you to live up to any set of arbitrary standards set by the hot shots on some on-line bike forum and they do their best to make you look as good as you think you look on the road or trail.

Some riders name their bikes. I actually did this with my very first real bike at age 9. For some inexplicable reason I called it “Joey”. Now that I am an adult, my bike (Sir Rocket III) and I find this to be funny.

Bicycles are a convergence of art and science, sometimes making man’s effort great, or at least worthwhile. They produce a scenic and efficient form of exercise, don’t use fossil fuels, take up less space than a car and are a sustainable form or transportation.

No wonder we have a special relationship with them.


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