Cycling tribes: what sort of cyclist are you?

The cycling community is vast, and made up of an array of colourful personalities, which can be loosely slotted into tribes. Though in some cases, members of these tribes do not always mix when placed in close proximity to one another; the truth is that they are all united by one love.

We know we won’t have covered off every type of cyclist here – we bike riders are notoriously individualistic – but here’s a look at some of the most well known tribes…

Which type of cyclist are you?

 The Strava Addict


The Strava addict might, initially, appear as a perfectly normal riding companion. This will remain the case as you begin your ride – they’ll chat away happily and share the load.

And then. For no apparent reason, out of the seemingly blue, the Strava addict will ATTACK. Fighting for breath, you’ll chase down the Strava addict, desperate to hold onto the smoking rear wheel in front of you.

The Strava addict will ride at  a friendly pace on all terrain, except land which is proclaimed a “Strava segment”. When you catch up, you’ll probably find him/her checking the leaderbard to see if they have claimed the KOM/QOM, before the ride continues as before.

We are friends to the Strava-ites, and have a Strava group here.

Road racer


This is the rider that will sit on your wheel throughout a climb, only to smash it past you as the end approaches. Unrelentingly competitive, the road racer knows their tactics. They are also strong believers in the values and ideologies of the Velominati rules, and commonly heard quoting them to anyone who dares to disobey.

The benefit of riding with the road racer is that they know their riding etiquette, too, and though they’ll enjoy a little competition, they’re great at demonstrating the perfect way to take a corner and they will never skip a hand signal. Just remember one thing: Do. Not. Deviate. From. Your. Line. And you’ll be good friends.

All about the team, the road racer is often seen in club or team kit. In fact, we hear most of them sleep in team issue pyjamas.

For more roadie traits, check out “Signs you’re a harcore roadie.”


Sportivers love the hills

Sportivers love the hills

This rider loves the work. The sportiver relishes miles and revels in hills. Sportiver’s strive for the “gold standard” at events, and enjoy riding in bunches, some of them adopting race tactics in the final miles to shake off competitors, but mostly enjoying riding on new roads in new places.

Sportiver’s are fully catered for at our RideIt events, which take place across the country, year round.


Mountain bikers love the great outdoors

Mountain bikers love the great outdoors

The Mountain biker can be split up into a wide range of catagories: downhillers, cross country riders, endure riders… but they all like getting out and getting muddy.

Mountain bikers can be identified by the use of lexemes such as “gnarly”, “rad”, and “stoked”, as well as the wearing of plaid shirts. The MTBer will also usually drive a car which contains the foliage of a small forest.

These guys are a friendly bunch, always willing to include new members in their group – provided they accept and respect their opinions on the correct wheel size to adopt.

Our RideIt events also cater for MTBers, with awesome gnarly trail rides available across the country.

For more MTBer traits, check out “How to be a Mountain Biker”.


The commuter has a hardy soul. To the commuter, there is no better form of transport than that which is offered by the two wheels of a bicycle. They will ensure every pair of ears in the vicinity has heard this message.

Riding 12 months of the year has taught the commuter everything there is to know about dressing themselves and their bikes to cope with whatever the weather throws at them.

Lightness, quickness and responsiveness are qualities important to some commuters, but the true hardcore of the breed are more taken by durability and resistance to the weather.

The “urban cyclist” is a sub sect of the commuter. Often riding a brightly coloured “vintage” singlespeed with 50mm rims in a city centre, this sort of rider is more comfortable in chinos that a chamois, and can be identified by their carefully trained ability to track stand at traffic lights with an air of nonchalance.


Often spotted with numbers on their arms..

Often spotted with numbers on their arms..

A ride is not a proper workout unless it is followed by a run, transforming it into a “brick session.” Triathlete’s can be spotted by the lack of arms on their jerseys, often socklessness, and the wearing of cycling shoes designed to be removed easily in “transition”.

Triathlete’s are often seen riding on ‘tri-bars’ or triathlon bikes on group rides, setting them apart from roadies, who often eye them with a slight mistrust. You may also notice numbers written on their arms in black marker pen – these are race numbers, and means they are either racing, or raced recently, and are trying to maintain the badge (possibly showering and swimming with a protective plastic bag layer).

At Evans Cycles, we love all people that love bikes, and we’ve got lots of Tri kit available here.

Time trialist

A Team Net-App Endura rider about to begin a TT

A Team Net-App Endura rider about to begin a TT

Bradley Wiggins once said that it helps if you’re a “bit odd” in time trial. They do tend to look “a bit odd” in their attempt to beat all air resistance.

The time triallist/tester is often an insular individual. Riding a set distance solo as quickly as possible can be a torturous activity, and this tribe tends to enjoy the pain.

There are two groups of time triallists: The Boardman’s, and the Obree’s. The Boardman’s love data, science, and likely owns 1 or more powermeter’s. The Obree’s value feel and passion.  Neither group will ever be happy with their result, since it is always possible to go faster.

(NB: The author is a tester and has tried to remain unbiased.)


A cx bike might be lighter for carrying over obstacles

A CXer practicing the all important leap off/leap on

The cyclocorss riders emerge from hibernation over the winter months – this is because the summer months are just not muddy enough for them.

CXers like to race bikes that look much like road bikes, off road. They also enjoy being applauded with cowbells, and are at their happiest when caked in mud and eating Frites.

Sharing one characteristic with the Triathlete, CXers like to hop off their bikes to run, occasionally, but unlike triathletes, will only do so when an object is placed directly in their path. The “flyling leap” is an essential skill – this refers to getting on and off the bike quickly. You will know if an error has been made in re-mount by the “crying yelp” uttered soon after.

Do you identify with one of these groups? Or are we missing your chosen tribe? Tell us in the comments… 


Dennis 2/04/2014

They forgot to mention Audax riders and tourers. they ride the heaviest bikes and rides for hundreds of miles/kilometers just so they can have nice cakes and beers along the way. 

mick davidson 2/04/2014

How about cyclists who ride mostly on their own as I and many others do? I do it for the fun, the freedom and to test myself against myself. 
Great article btw, I love reading about bikes and the wonderful people who make up the cycling world. 🙂

Richard 4/04/2014

How about the Folding Bikers who mix their daily commute with being jammed on public transport and then relish the opportunity to get out and cycle in the “fresh air” and on the “open roads” of London to get to work in all weathers
Thanks for the great article   

Foghorn 4/04/2014

Thanks Dennis… + one for audax and tourers… and cake and beer and a swim in the pond or stream along the way (for tourers this, NOT for audax: so 2 categories)…

Andrew Wilcox 4/04/2014

I second Dennis.  Bikes were built to go on holiday.  Every other type of rider is just preparing themselves for a tour.

Liam 4/04/2014

Agree – Audaxers are a growing breed and quite particular!
Often found congregating in village halls in the early morning or strung out in small groups on country roads in the small hours of the night they can easily be identified by elaborate lighting rigs and perspex route holders mounted on their handlebars.
They don’t care much about speed – just distance and the chance to chat to other riders.  Some have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the back roads and can talk you through how to rides from London to Cardiff without seeing a set of traffic lights or a roundabout.
Once upon a time they could be identified by their obsession with mudguards and Carradice but some cross breeding with Sportive rides and the more common roadie has led to some cool carbon being seen.
And every four years there is a mass sighting to be had on the epic 90 hour Paris-Brest-Paris.  2015 is the next outing!
They’re a friendly bunch and you can find out more at

tandemtim 4/04/2014

What about cycle tourists – a large population?

Jules V. 5/04/2014

Flippin heck, I just like riding my bike.

Sammy J Wolf x 5/04/2014

Cross Country MB for me 🙂 and i do really enjoy wearing a nice plaid shirt 😉 lol x

Kurzon Dax 5/04/2014

What about velodrome track riders? 

chris 5/04/2014

How about the ones who struggle from pub to pub?
There is the real skill, staying upright!

Linsey 6/04/2014

You’ve missed one group that could quite literally be described as a tribe – Messengers/Couriers

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Barbara Grace 7/04/2014

Overly blokey/sporty selection.
What about Cycle Chicsters, Frocks on Bikes, Velociteers (small,unique tribe of performing cyclists) Brompton Snobs (I’m one) and so on….

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Dave 11/04/2014

What about the recumbent tribe? Probably the most exotic, certainly the most laid back? 

Ben Phillips 21/05/2014

Nice although I agree a few additions wouldn’t go amiss. Touring is one of the best things about riding, allowing you to travel the world at a new pace and completely free! Here’s a few more I would include.

Trials Riding!! Some of the most visually exciting bike riding on small frames designed for maximum manoeuvrability and snappy power transfer. People like Danny MacAskill, Martyn Ashton and Chris Akrigg put this sport on the map and their you tube videos have massive viral support.

We also can’t omit our BMX brethren. An incredibly important leapfrog sport for many of todays world class downhill mountain bikers. This form of riding also allows cycling to have a presence in the skate park proving that its not necessary to travel far from home to hone your skills. 

Cycling tribes | Fat Girl to Ironman 4/06/2014

[…] If you can’t identify the different groups of cyclists, then this blogpost will help you out: […]

JohnnyLoo 24/06/2014

if you drew  Venn diagram of this bunch I’d be (probably standing on my own..) where the triathlete, MTB, Cross and Commuter circles intersect…given that I do Duathlons on a CX bike fitted with road tyres and reinvigorated my affinity with cycling riding a full suspension MTB!! but I mainly do it for fun, on me own!!

Herbie 24/06/2014

One-time Road Racer, one-time Commuter, now a Randonneur and Sportiver who rides hybrid and MTB for the love of it and training, and rides the occasional TT for old time’s sake. Don’t think I fit a tribe, just the community as a whole!

Andy T 24/06/2014

Good article.
I’m def a sportiver, though just want to be left alone; ban drafting by strangers at RideIt events!

Douglas 24/06/2014

What about touring? I enjoyed some sportives but really enjoy touring and going away for say 2 weeks on the bike touring. I m planning touring on the outer hebridean islands! Last year I toured with panniers and equipment the Skye, Harris and Lewis! Great fun!!! 

kristina 24/06/2014

No mention of orienteering riders!

derick 24/06/2014

what about us who use our bikes, like most use cars, shopping trips, shifting wood to long for the boot, and getting from a to b, out in all weather, sometimes with a small trolley on the back, our bikes live long lives only being replaced when nicked, covered with rust, scratches, mud and oil. comfy rides but will do whatever is needed 


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