The Giant that Bikes and Cycles

by Chikashi

Tony Lo via

I have not been particularly fond of the verb form of ‘bike’; I have always preferred it in its noun or adjective form.  I prefer alternatives like ‘cycle’ or ‘ride’.  I never had a clear reason for this preference.  I suppose that I just thought that ‘to bike’ sounds a bit strange because ‘one who bikes’ would be called a biker, which in my mind means someone on a motorcycle.  Of course, I am just rambling without a cogent inference, a miserable attempt at retro-fitting an argument to rationalise a preconceived notion.  And then, I read something this week that persuaded me that the verb form might have a useful place in our lexicon.

On Monday, the Financial Times published an interview with the very sensible Tony Lo, the CEO of Giant Manufacturing, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers based in Taiwan.  Replying to one of Robin Kwong’s questions, Mr Lo said, ‘The bicycle has already been around for 247 years, [but it’s] just in the past 10 years that people are cycling rather than biking.  With cycling you have to be more serious, so we try to promote the cycling culture.  Globally only about 15 per cent of people are actually riding bicycles.  So there are another 85 per cent who haven’t had any chance to really enjoy cycling.’  

So, there we have it.  ‘To bike’ is a synonym of ‘to pootle’.  I am comfortable with that albeit I may not start using ‘to bike’ immediately.