Thursday, November 29, 2012

Identity and Perception

On one of my last work commuting days I photographed this long-shadowed image of myself. I started thinking about my posture and whether I still retained a flat back stance while pedaling. As so often happens while cycling, one train of thought leads to another. I could see my front panniers, long hair, even the shape of my helmet in the silhouette. I wondered how regular commuters recognized me from a distance. Is it the shape of my body, my bike, pedaling style, clothing colors? If I ride my touring bike, which I swap out every now and then, would I still be identified?

I can distinguish my husband from far away. I first notice his rapid cadence. He also holds his torso very still. Then, of course, his grey mustache and beard is a giveaway. And though he always rides a mountain bike, I'd still place him on another bike.

There's one rider I often pass who is not easy to determine until I get close. If he's hauling his BOB trailer, well, that's pretty obvious, but once in a while he rides his Surly solo. He helmet is non-descript; his clothing and body shape are ubiquitous. No facial hair. It is only when he waves and says "hello" that I can tell it's him; his voice is distinctive.

How do you observe others? Or, what's remarkable/recognizable about yourself?


  1. Most of the riders I see on a regular basis tell me that they can spot me on the rode by my helmet....It would appear that I am the only rider locally to wear a white Catlike Whisper Plus helmet...
    I can often spot certain cycling friends by their cycling posture and style....


    1. Ah, yes...the helmet. One of my favorite styles was a now 20 year old completely yellow Bell helmet. Mine wore out, but I'm noticing a guy wearing the same exact kind. I see him once a week.

      It's funny what we bikey people notice...

  2. I get noticed by my bike, it is very unusual, and I have even been told by people "You're the bike blogger", that is how noticeable it is!


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