Urban Cycling

9 Types of Bike Commuters: Which One Are You?

A family riding together in a cargo bike as the commute

This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.

Cycling isn’t just a way to get to work and back. It’s a lifestyle.

The bikes we ride and the habits we practice tell us a lot about a person. The morning commute is always full of quirks and characters, but wherever you are in the world, you will bump into the same types of people.

We look at the nine types of bike commuters you’re bound to see when cycling in the city.

1. The Commuting Family

With the growing popularity of cargo bikes comes the inevitable commuting family. They’ve replaced the car with one bike, saving, or rather, spending, a few grand in the process.

Hauling groceries, smiling kids, the dog, and the kitchen sink, the cargo bike crusaders ride a sturdy steed equipped with every conceivable rack, prepared for any situation the world might throw at them.

Their bike isn’t just a bike, oh no, it’s a workhorse. A shipping container on wheels that can -and will- carry anything. 

 Practical, resourceful, and with a ‘get-go’ attitude, the commuting family might not be the fastest on the road, but they are the epitome of sustainability.

Commuting through storm

2. The ‘Rain Or Shine’

The Rain or Shine is the real trooper amongst the bike commuters.

These were the kids at school who wore shorts in the dead of winter. They don’t let the elements phase them. Whatever the weather, it doesn’t stop them.

They embody the age-old adage of ‘there’s no bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’. Whilst you find yourself opting for the warm comfort of the car, bus, or train, the Rain or Shine is unwavering, wearing their soggy clothes like a badge of honor as proof of their commitment to the power of the bicycle.

They might arrive at work looking like drowned rats, but you’ve got to hand it to them- nothing can dampen their sheer determination and grit. 

fixie fanatic

3. The Fixie Fanatic

The coolest of all the commuters, the fixie fanatic is the trendsetter of the office.

They don’t need wasteful components like gears or brakes. What use do they serve? They’ll tell you about the efficiencies of a fixed-gear drive system until they’re blue in the face. 

The Fixie Fanatic is one with their bike, literally! Or so they’d have you believe. Weaving through traffic, running reds, and skidding at every opportunity, they’re the rebels without a cause.

You can spot them a mile away with their track stands, cycling caps, and satchels. They ride to their office job but secretly wish they were a bike messenger.

Folding bike commuter

4. The Folding Bike Aficionado

There’s at least one in every workplace.

You see them on a crowded train or a bus, an unsuspecting-looking character. But once they’re off, it’s a flick of the wrist, and they’ve gone from a pedestrian to a cyclist.

That is until they encounter a small stone or dip in the road, which, thanks to the tiny wheels, invariably sends them flying over the handlebars. 

Regardless, the folding bike rider arrives to work with their Brompton tucked under their arm right up until their desk. Their bike is a statement of efficiency, practicality, and modernity, all rolled into one small package. Let’s face it: if you admit it, you’d probably quite like one.

the wannabe pro commuter

5. The Wannabe Pro

The wannabe pro is a sight to behold, dressed head to toe in professional gear adorned with sponsor logos for brands they don’t ride for.

Despite being massively impractical, they’ll ride in the drops of their carbon racing bike through the city, so ‘aero’ that they can barely see in front of them.

Every straight is a chance to set a new PB on Strava, and lord have mercy on anyone or anything that gets in their way. Fueled by dreams of podium finishes, what for most is a gentle ride to work becomes an imaginary new stage in the Tour De France.

But while they may never don the yellow jersey, their passion for the sport and dedication to excellence deserve some credit, even if they are misplaced.

e-bike commuter

6. The E-Bike Rider

It’s always the electric bike riders that we’re most envious of.

We see them cruising effortlessly, barely breaking a sweat as they fly to work. Hills, headwinds, and long commutes? They’re no challenge for the e-biker.

Their bike is a testament to their commitment to be a greener, more responsible commute, and they won’t let you forget it. To be honest, there’s a certain irritating smugness about them.

Whilst they may be part of a new breed of bike commuters, we’ve got to admit that we’re secretly jealous. On the outside, we’ll look scornfully, calling them lazy, saying that they’re taking the ‘easy way out’. But deep down, we know that if we had the money, we’d love a decent e-bike too.

Man cycling to work

7. The Cycling Evangelist

With an unwavering zeal for all things cycling, the cycling evangelist is the outspoken advocate for all things cycling. 

Be careful if you meet them at the water cooler, as anyone in earshot is doomed to hear about their ride to work this morning.

Armed with statistics about how good cycling is for the environment, how alive they feel, and how great of a person they are, they’re determined to convert even the most hardline drivers into bikers. After all, they’re the role-model employee.

Their dedication to the cause knows no bounds, but, to be honest, you wish it would. At least then, you wouldn’t have to hear about it.

man on bicycle cycling

8. The ‘Not Today’ Commuter

Keeping a keen eye on the forecast, the ‘not-today’ cyclist will opt out if there’s a whiff of wind or rain on the horizon.

Their commitment to cycling is as fickle as the weather, and they have numerous excuses for not riding on any given day. 

If it isn’t the weather, it’s something else. Maybe they’ve got a flat tyre that they don’t have 5 minutes to fix, maybe they’ve got somewhere to be after work, or maybe they’re feeling a little bit too tired to cycle.

It’s the could-be, or rather, should-be, bike commuter. Whilst they’ll come up with all the excuses under the sun not to ride to work today, they’re largely unconvincing.

discerning cyclist

9. The Discerning Cyclist

They’re a rare breed. 

They don’t just cycle for the sake of it or because it’s fashionable. They deeply appreciate the joys of cycling and will take any reasonable opportunity to do so.

And they’re not just passionate riders, they’re mechanics too. The discerning cyclist understands that looking after a bike is like looking after a child. It requires love, patience, and a bit of trial and error.

Their approach to cycle attire is thoughtful and deliberate. You won’t find them in spandex, but you also won’t find them in ill-fitting baggy clothes. It’ll be a quiet, modest outfit that you’ll see them in, but it’ll ultimately get the job done.

The discerning cyclist is the one that we want to be. They know their stuff, but they don’t brag about it. They cycle when they can, look forward to getting back in the saddle after a hard day’s work, and inspire others to do the same.

In reality, there’s no such thing as a bad bike commuter. Regardless of our type, we all know that cycling to work is cheap, healthy, and fun. At the end of the day, the only ones that are losing out are the ones that don’t give it a try. 

Share the 🚲 Love

Discerning Cyclist Store

Visit the Discerning Cyclist's Shop

Ride in style

Join our weeky newsletter to get early access to our latest discoveries.

Related reads