I live in a pretty scenic and rural area. As a result of both those things, on the nice days we have a lot of bike traffic. Up where I live there are two types of bike people. The ones who like to ride their bikes, and the ones that have to ride their bikes.
These two particular types are easy to tell apart.
Because of the scenic areas, the first type of bike people come from all over. They will pull up in their Mercedes SUVs, and they will have five thousand dollar Trek Madone bicycles, stretchy bike pants and shirts, helmets that make them look like they have torpedoes strapped to their heads, and fancy bike shoes that lock into their pedals. Judging by the standard amount of activity I've witnessed at traffic lights, I am fairly certain that if they actually stop pedaling, they will fall over.
These are the people who ride their bikes because they want to, and they want to because they are fanatics. They travel in packs and love to share the exercise, the camaraderie, and the fun of pissing off motorists by riding directly down the center of the road and not budging one inch for the car behind them.
Because of the rural nature of the area, we have our share of the other type of bike rider as well. They will have a rusty Schwinn with a wire basket in front, and they will be dressed as they are always dressed -- dirty jeans, a wifebeater T-shirt and old sneakers. These are the people who ride their bikes because they have to, and they have to because they no longer have the right to drive a car. They travel alone, and deeply hate everything involved in pedaling wherever they need to go to find beer or work or food. About half the time, the wire basket will contain a six-pack of Coors.
The odd thing though, is that these people actually ride on the shoulder. Somehow, either in their drunken stupor or through the hazy pain of their hangover, they are able to out-think the stretchy pants people. This group of bike riders know instinctively that a car weighs upwards of 2000 lbs, and that they, on the other hand, do not.
Give me the second type any day. The other ones just make me want to commit vehicular manslaughter.
*yeah I know the title has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I was watching a rerun of SNL and it needed to be said.