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I've done a fair bit of cycle touring, I've been a regular mountain biker and now I cycle regularly in the city. I would definitely say that cycling shapes my life and the way I think.

Is there such a thing as a philosophy of life that unites cyclists and are there any books, writers, or well known cyclists who talk about such a thing? Does cycling make people think differently?

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Google "Velocio". And go beyond the rather weak Wikipedia article. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 5 '13 at 16:24
    
You may expect to get some downvotes due to the prompts for discussion. I hope you don't mind if I edit to make the question a little more answerable. –  amcnabb Apr 5 '13 at 17:33
    
"Velosophy" (term courtesy of Grant Petersen. rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=63) –  WTHarper Apr 6 '13 at 0:20
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closed as not constructive by jimirings, freiheit Apr 10 '13 at 17:11

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1 Answer

Cycling is a varied experience including many different reasons to ride, such as commuting, fitness, or racing. Experience is further shaped by the type of bike and environment. The book Bike Snob tries to distill what cyclists have in common and presents the definition of a cyclist as someone who chooses to ride a bike even if they don't have to. The book further argues that there's no such thing as "bike culture". However, it also summarizes (in a humorous fashion) some of the types of cyclists and how they often view each other.

Even though there's no uniform bike culture, many individual people have their own philosophy. You may be able to find some biographies or autobiographies about cyclists who describe their own attitude toward cycling and how it changed them.

Of course, there are many groups of like-minded people who might share an approach to cycling. One website that often gets cited online is Velominati, which declares a list of rules for road cycling which they claim to be philosophical. This type of "philosophy" seems to be more about creating a sense of belonging than about any inherent truths about cycling--people want to be able to feel "in the club".

Given the variety within cycling, any universal philosophy would be limited to the vague notion of self-powered locomotion.

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I think one could argue that one of the biggest "culture gaps" among cyclists are between the roadies and the mountain bikers. While the roadies exalt such virtues as endurance, camaraderie, and overcoming "the suffering", they are also mocked for being a bit vain and having the whole "fashion police" thing. While mountain bikers are usually made up of more relaxed people bobbing merrily around the forest on full suspension bikes, while taking long breaks for candy eating. –  user1049697 Apr 6 '13 at 17:00
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The velominati rules are a good read if you're looking for a laugh. Some a definitely rooted in good practices, but others are just there for fun. –  Kibbee Apr 6 '13 at 23:53
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+1 for the Velominati reference. –  Carey Gregory Apr 7 '13 at 5:17
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