Ordinary Bicycle Riders of All Abilities Should Feel Content and Be Respected

Who are the ‘real’ bicycle riders?

For most people, this question likely conjures mental images of lycra-clad speedsters out on hundred-mile rides on ultralight technical bicycles. And for most people, this image looks nothing like themselves. Accordingly, they consider themselves second-class and not ‘real’ bicycle riders.

If you are among those who don’t consider yourself a ‘real’ bicycle rider, I ask you to reconsider your self-assessment. Let’s start by creating a few more mental images.

Imagine a 25-year-old sharp-dressed man on his 3-speed bicycle meeting his date at the movie theater a mile from home.

Imagine a 35-year-old mother riding 2 miles to the park on a hybrid bike towing her two children in a trailer.

Imagine a 45-year-old executive bicycling 4 miles to work on an old 10-speed with her laptop and briefcase securely stowed in rear panniers.

Imagine a 55-year-old smiling chubby man on a 1970’s cruiser single-speed bike riding 3 miles on the Green Circle.

Imagine a 65-year-old grandmother sitting upright on an adult tricycle riding 1 mile from the grocery store to home with her purchased gallon of milk in the cargo basket.

For most who ride bicycles, if you blend these images properly, you’ll recognize someone similar to yourself.

There are certainly many exceptional athletes who frequently ride bicycles for long distances over our scenic rural roads. Nevertheless, ordinary people on ordinary bikes in ordinary clothes going to ordinary places encompass the vast majority of people riding bicycles.

So, who are the ‘real’ bicycle riders? The answer is that all bicycle riders are ‘real’ bicycle riders. Many are exceptional athletes, but most are simply ‘ordinary’.

The point is that no matter what type of bicycle you ride or how far you ride or how slowly you ride or how infrequently you ride, you are a ‘real’ bicycle rider deserving the same respect as anyone else pedaling.

Whatever sort of bicycling you do, you should feel content about your abilities. And if you don’t ride a bicycle, please heed your joyful curiosity and give it a try.

‘Ordinary’ bicycle riders are the focus for several free Stevens Point bicycle events in May.

Poky Pedaling Stevens Point (PPSP) offers 3 Poky Pedals in May, ranging from 4 to 9 miles in length. All Poky Pedals are free. Information about these rides can be found on the PPSP website PokyPedalingStevensPoint.org.

Dust Off Your Bike Week is May 10-15 and offers many different sorts of rides. One will start at Point Area Bicycle Service (PABS) where free minor adjustments will be performed followed by a slow 5-mile ride to make sure everything feels comfortable. A kid-oriented Slide Ride will allow parents to ask other parents about tips for bicycling with children. These and all other Dust Off Your Bike Week events are free and are also listed on the PPSP website. Call PABS for more info at 715-498-4122.

On May 16, Stevens Point will celebrate Bike-to-Work Day with bike-oriented events on the downtown square starting at 3:30 PM. Two short bike rides led by local elected officials will head off between 4:45 and 5 PM. Details about this free event can be found on the Portage County Can website PortageCountyCan.org.

The Hostel Shoppe is teaching a free roadside repair clinic at 10 AM on May 17. This will cover tire repair, basic adjustments, tools to carry, and more. Call 715-341-2453 for details.

Regardless of your bicycling abilities, you are a ‘real’ bicycle rider. The red carpet is out for you to join others just like yourself at these great bicycling events.

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