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7 Common British Cyclists: A Spotter’s Guide

Post compiled on behalf of Montague Burton who are celebrating the modern gent by providing dapper tips and style knowledge as part of their #justtheticket campaign.

The Discerning Cyclist has compiled a list of seven of the most common varieties of cyclist found across Great Britain, with the appropriate notes to help you identify them.
How many have you seen on your travels today?

The Hipster

One of the fast-growing cyclist breeds of recent years and one that is particularly prevalent in urban metropolises. The Hipster incorporates features of The Racer, with their fast speed cycling style (always upon a fixie) but with the fashion-conscious twist of The Chic.
Identifying Features:

  • Fixie
  • Beard
  • Skinny jeans and hoodie
  • No socks
  • Thick rimmed glasses (prescription optional)
Hipster Cyclist
Image by Edinburgh Cycle Chic

Speed: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Cost: 2/5

The Racer

A common breed in Britain and regularly seen speeding in packs along country lanes, The Racer is certainly a distinctive rider. Colloquially known by the unfortunate title of ‘lycra-lout’ among communities of fellow road users, The Racer can often be found at rural public houses between travels for liquid refreshments before recommencing their respective journeys – although no destination is necessarily required.
Identifying Features:

  • Tight-fitting lycra attire
  • “Funny-looking shoes”
  • Expensive racing bike
  • Aero-dynamic helmet
  • Athletic frame
Image by Fred Dawson
Image by Fred Dawson

Speed: 5/5
Style: 1/5
Cost: 1/5

The Safeness

Easily identifiable due to their vivid high-visibility outer layers, The Safeness boasts one of the longest survival rates of all British cyclists. They are also highly-respected between cyclists and non-cyclists alike for their uncompromising views on safety, both when it comes to physical protection and following of the rules and appropriate guidelines. 
Identifying Features:

Image by Garry Knight
Image by Garry Knight

Speed: 3/5
Style: 2/5
Cost: 3/5

The Chic One

The Chic loves style. Cycling never gets in the way of what The Chic wants to wear, with typical examples of outerwear including crisp slim fit suits for males and summery dresses for females. The Chic uses the bicycle as a commuting tool, travels at a leisurely pace to prevent the need to  get changed at the end of their ride.
Identifying Features:

  • Stylish attire
  • Urban bicycle
  • Leisurely pace
  • Pannier bags/basket

Speed: 2/5
Style: 5/5
Cost: 3/5

The Chav

Detested amongst all – including its own kind – The Chav can be found on streets and parks in urban areas, usually on a bike that doesn’t belong to them. Dressed head-to-toe in dark sportswear and Nike Air Max trainers, The Chav also tends to boast a shaven head and a scowl. An aggressor by nature, intimidation is high on the agenda with their bicycle (typically a ‘borrowed’ BMX) used as an escape tool.
Identifying Features:

  • Disregard for rules
  • Tracksuits
  • Baseball cap
  • Compulsory scowl
  • Typical pulling a wheelie
Chav Cyclist

Speed: 3/5 (dependent on pursuit)
Style: 2/5
Cost: 5/5 (stolen bikes are very cheap)

The Adventurer

Christopher Columbus on two wheels, The Adventurer knows that their bicycle is their vehicle to discovery. Found almost exclusively in rural locations – ideally forests or mountains – this cyclist is prepared for anything that nature can throw at it. The Adventurer also tends to understand the level of risk that comes with their pursuits and therefore wears the appropriate gear and helmet.
Identifying Features:

  • Mud spattered on face
  • Clear appetite for life
  • Helmet
  • Practical clothing
Image by Paul Stevenson
Image by Paul Stevenson

Speed: 4/5
Style: 2/5
Cost: 2/5

The Practicalista

Bin bags on feet, a sugru- mounted mirror and panniers galore are the signs of a true Practicalista. With bags packed with bungee chords, there is nothing that the Practicalista isn’t ready for. Innovation is also high on the agenda with the aim of making their bicycle the ultimate mode of transport.
Identifying Features:

  • Highly-personalised bicycle
  • Pannier racks
  • Helmet
  • Lightweight waterproofs
  • Trousers tucked in socks

Speed: 3/5
Style: 2/5
Cost: 4/5
Reputation among non-cyclists: 3/5

Pete Reynolds


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4. 👖DUER-All Weather Jeans
Waterproof cycling jeans. Seriously.

5. 🎒Rapha Reflective Backpack
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Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile

2 Responses

  1. Thought you might like the look of Cyclists: A Spotter’s Guide, published in November – it identifies 36 of the most common types of cyclist, who they like to ride with, and what their favourite habitats are like. Each cyclist beautifully illustrated. Would be happy to send you a copy if you’d like a look!

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