The Contraption Captains

The following excerpt is from “Bike Snob” by the popular bike blogger, Eben Weiss:

Well over a hundred years ago the bicycle realized its current form, and it has remained largely unchanged ever since. However, there are some intrepid souls who refuse to accept this, and who embrace alternative designs for human-powered wheeled vehicles. And by far the most popular alternative “bicycle” is the recumbent.


The recumbent strikes fear into the hearts of nearly every non-recumbent-riding cyclist. If you’ve ever seen a dog growl at a plastic bag caught in a shrub because the dog thinks it might be some kind of weird animal, then you understand the reaction. Cyclists all notice one another, so when we see something that looks somewhat like a bicycle yet places the rider in an odd position with his feet kicking at the air like he’s defending himself from an attacking eagle we become confused and disoriented. And when animals (including humans) don’t understand something they become angry and defensive.


However, Contraption Captains mean no harm, and they’re simply operating machines they feel are superior to regular bicycles because they’re potentially faster and they don’t require the rider to sit on a narrow saddle. Of course, they also can’t negotiate tight corners, they’re heavy, they’re difficult or impossible to lock to poles or bike racks, they’re unwieldy and can’t easily be stored in small apartments or offices, they don’t climb hills well, and they require big tall flags since they’re below automobile hood level. Yet none of these things keep the Contraption Captains from polishing their helmet mirrors, combing their beards, packing a day’s worth of supplies in their fanny packs, and taking to the roads.


Admittedly, when I first read this I felt seen.

A lovely decal from my family

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