I’m going to especially enjoy writing this post, because the topic is my favorite kind of utility cycling. We have been writing a lot recently about general bicycle transportation, which is distinct from bicycle commuting, as commuting is inherently built around the idea of getting to and from work. General bicycle transportation includes running errands by bike, bicycling while traveling, and long distance travel by bike. And last but certainly not least, it includes getting around by bike. No, nothing fancy or technical here, we simply mean getting around to different places by bicycle. What places? Just about anywhere that doesn’t involve your job or work or chores – a caf©, a restaurant, a friend’s house, a park, a concert, a bike parade, etc. Naturally, the reason I’m especially fond of this topic is because its all about having fun!
Let me begin by explaining what I mean by “getting around”. It’s a pretty simple concept of course, but I want to explain it in the context of utility cycling. Our notion of getting around is tied directly to transportation, but it is separate from commuting, running errands, bicycle delivery, bicycle services, or community building (although it can tie in quite nicely with that topic, as well). For us, getting around refers to all those transportation activities that you do in your spare time to meet up with friends, eat out, go to entertainment, etc. So the utility of getting around by bicycle is wrapped up in the idea of completing these essential activities (yes, having fun is an essential activity) by bicycle. Admittedly, this category may be one of the least goal-oriented categories of utility cycling.
Getting Around & Community Building
Meanwhile, getting around by bicycle is closely related to community building. Bicycles have a unique way of bringing people together. There are often numerous opportunities to make friends and build relationships while cruising around town on a bike. The utility of community building by bicycle and bringing people together is all about developing networks with other bicycle riders, expanding the potential for riding bicycles, and generally bringing a positive vibe to bicycling throughout any given landscape. Community building as a utility cycling activity can take many different forms from cycling for a cause, bike festivals, social gatherings by bike, group rides, political protest such as critical mass, social action like the Ride of Silence, and more. Getting around by bicycle can be associated with any number of community building activities, but the important distinction is that it can be either a group or individual activity.
Share Your Stories With Us!
Perhaps the best way to really get at the heart of this topic is to have our readers share their favorite stories or experiences of getting around by bicycle. Remember, this idea of getting around by bike definitely has utility to it – the community building, the bicycle transportation, the fun – but it’s going to be a very different experience for everyone. So we welcome you to share with us your favorite family cycling experience, your favorite place to cruise to on the weekends, your most memorable bike parade, your favorite place to go on a bike date, anything that involves getting around by bicycle. We look forward to your responses!
And just as a teaser, I’ll share my most memorable experience of getting around by bicycle. It involved an Xtracycle, a big blue cooler, a potluck, a hot summer evening in Tucson, AZ, a park, a game of foot-down, and lots of good friends. A bunch of us cruised down by bicycle to a Tucson park one evening to share some grub and relax. The food, beverages, and friends all came via bicycle. When the sun started to go down, a fun game of food-down commenced, and we rode around laughing and having a good time. And when we were tired, we all cruised home. So as you can see, nothing complicated here. Just fun, friends, bicycles, and a little bit of utility.