Coming up with simple axioms by which one can live is no easy task. Still, coming up with such axioms is my job, despite what my editor and everyone else tells me. Happily, I think I have finally realized a workable axiom, this one about weird cars and weird bicycles.
Here’s the axiom:
If someone is driving a weird car, the likelihood that you will enjoy talking to them is high; if someone is riding a weird bike, the likelihood you will enjoy talking to them is low.
So, I’m postulating that there exists an inverse relationship between weird car operators and weird bike operators when it comes to how pleasurable interactions with them are.
My experience has demonstrated that if you approach someone with an odd car, they generally tend to be friendly, willing and eager to talk about their car, and happy to share the experience in simple, enjoyable ways. They also often have a slightly self-effacing quality, as most unusual cars are, almost by definition, not the usual popular choices.
If you’d like a thought-experiment, picture someone in a King Midget. It’s actively hard to picture a real asshole driving a King Midget, right?
Now, my experience with weird bike riders is very different. Being someone interested in weird machines, I’ve talked to a good number of people on recumbent bicycles of varying designs, strange unicycles, and I think maybe even the rare penny-farthing.
The interactions with the weird bike crowd haven’t been that great. Recumbent bikers tend to like to lecture me about how wrong I am about bicycles, transportation, and, most likely, what I’m eating. They’re proud of their bikes, sure, but perhaps from years of marginalization and perceived slights, they seem to come off as a bit hostile.
Unicycle riders have tended to be attention-hungry people or clowns, and clowns are fucking awful, period. Penny-farthing or super-archaic bike riders are a little different. While some may be painful aesthetes desperate to let you know that late-Victorian life was way, way better (minus the cholera), some are likely just amiable history geeks enjoying themselves.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’m sure there’s assholes who drive Gurgels and wonderful people on recumbent bikes. But, based on my life experience and some informal polling, you’ll have more fun talking to some rando in a weird car than some rando pedaling a weird bike.
Is this just the worst sort of prejudice and I should shut my stupid mouth, or has anyone else had similar results? I mean, obviously I’m biased to weird cars, sure, so maybe someone with more mainstream car tastes or a real cyclist can let me know?