Are You a Cyclist or a Wheeler?


If you are reading this blog, the probability is that you understand that a cyclist is someone wearing their ordinary clothes in an urban situation but to most people a cyclist is someone in lycra riding at high speed a bicycle with dropped down handle bars.

In Ireland we have multiple names for rain. In Iceland they have multiple names for snow. In the Netherlands, they have two words for people who ride bikes. There is a “wielrenner” (wheel chaser/sport cyclist) and a “fietser” (everyday cyclist).

How can we differentiate between the two in an English speaking country if we use the same word for both? We could use bicyclist but that would not be applicable to tricycles or four-wheeled “bicycle vehicles” which have been around for some time.

In recent years, new and innovative forms of personal transport devices have emerged such as electric scooters (e-scooters), segways, trishaws, hoverboards, u-wheels, powered mini scooters (go-peds), and powered unicycles. Such devices may be classified as “Powered transporters” – “novel personal transport devices which are mechanically propelled (propelled by a motor) as well as or instead of being manually propelled”. And this is not to mention hybrid or cross-over devices. So what does you call the people who use such devices. Perhaps it is time to abandon the term “cyclist” to sport cyclists and instead adopt the term “wheeler” to cover people who use wheeled devices.

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