What is Bike Culture? What are the subgroups? What should we call them? Does Bike Culture in Portland mean something different than in Santa Barbara?
Shimano has done research asking why people don't ride bicycles and what it would take to get them back into bicycling, the results of this is a bicycle product line called coasting. However there are no grand marketing research activities that profiles the wide span of the cycling public. The textbook like non-fiction - The Clustered World : How We Live, What We Buy, and What It All Means About Who We Are neatly divides the population into clusters or distinctive lifestyle types such as New Bohemians and Shotguns and Pickups; two groups that react very differently to bicycling policies.
The Portland based Bicycle Transportation Alliance - Has done some research dividing up the general population attitudes towards cycling.
Group A = 1% - ride anywhere, anytime; the true lunatic fringe;
Group B = 7% - “enthused and confident” cyclists
Group D = 30% - don’t ride no matter what; they claim to be either too old, their moms won’t let them ride, or whatever.
Group C = 60% - are folks who are “interested and concerned”, would ride if they thought it were safe, if they had access to bike paths without traffic, bike lanes with little or no traffic, etc.
1 -Invisible or captive riders - This groups lacks automobile access due to income or legal constraints.
a – Service workers - Restaurants, hotels, these guys may work late hours. Hispanic men make up a large part o this group. Prefer sidewalks for shorter trips, but will bike anywhere they have to. Group makes up a significant portion of suburban and intermodal bike trips. Overrepresented in bicycle crashes.
b - Urban Food delivery workers services mostly large cities, similar demographics and skills to other service workers.
c - Foreign Exchange Students - Resort areas, seasonal workers, large percentage from eastern Europe. More female than male
d – Hardscrabble - Older males, 40 and up. Blue collar, single or divorced, prefer intermodalism with transit.
e – Students – prefer sidewalks, used bikes to get around campus. In urban areas this group blends with the local bike community.
Urban Bike Community - This group is generally car free or car light many of whom bicycle by choice.
a -Bike Messengers – This industry has been shrunk somewhat by the Internet but this group it's still the bellwether of urban bike culture because the many miles they accumulate in downtown areas creates a strong bicycling presence. Many but not all ride fixed gear bikes.
b – Fixed Gear riders - this recent phenom is an outgrowth of the messenger community. Urban residents, generally young and diverse. Members of the group can also belong to the other subgroups.
d – Crosstown Commuters – these commuters travel short distances in urban core areas. In some cities this group is a large chunk of the journey to work census data. Group is about 30% female, 30% helmet use and mostly white. Strong support group for bicycle advocacy orgs.
E – Intermodal Commuters similar to d but live in outer neighborhoods or inner suburbs and rely on transit to complete part of their trip to the urban core. The day-trippers of urban bike culture.
F - Lowriders - Bicycle Artists or Hobbyists. Their pimped up bicycles are rarely seen outside of Hispanic neighborhoods or shows.
G - White Guys with Beards - 1970's Gas Crisis veterans who helped pioneer modern North American bike culture movement some are vehicular cyclists
H - Self made mechanics - Build and ride bicycles with discarded parts,
G - Tall Bike Riders a subgroup of H they create and ride bikes built with multiple frames built on top of each other.
Intercity commuters – High helmet use, well equipped, to travel long distances. Affluent. Cross Pollination with recreational sport cyclists. Urban and suburban.
Vehicular Cyclists – Subgroup of Intercity Commuters, Recreational Sport, Touring and White Guys with Beards with strong cycling skills and ideological values, generally older and male. Some oppose bicycle facilities and strongly identify themselves with the teachings of the controversial John Forester.
Recreational Riders – All four subgroups could come under road and mountain bike
a - Recreational sport – Good equipment with high helmet use, many but not all belong to bike clubs. Prefer long rides.
b - Recreational casual - largest share of bicyclists, generally not members of bicycle clubs. Families or couples, prefer off road paths, beach boardwalks, park roads or low traffic residential streets.
c - Recreational casual fitness - this group falls between a and b, not club bicycle club members-similar demographics to rollerbladers. Young and fitness oriented riding fast on paved paths.
d – Sport riders – Competitors, such as triathletes and cross country racers
e - Extreme riders - Subgroup of d - Downhill racers, BMX etc.
f - Touring - Long distance cyclists, generally older and male
g - Recumbent riders
Other Institutional Bicycling Groups
a - Mormon Missionaries - Conservatively dressed, this group dutifully wear their helmets and generally required by the church to obey the rules of the road.
b - Police on Bikes
c - Business Improvement District Ambassadors
d - Pedicab operators - Often part of the Urban Bike Community but also popular in resort communities. Pedicabs have been banned on the Las Vegas Strip and in Hoboken, NJ
A recent attempt to limit pedicab operators in New York has failed
f - Drug couriers - An illegal cousin of the delivery subgenre