About the word “bike”

In writing a blog about both bicycles and motorcycles I am going to have to deal with a severe limitation placed upon me by the English language. The word “bike”.  I don’t know how we got to where we are with both groups using the term. I have not done an etymology on the word, but it seems to me that bicyclists must have used it first, since bicycles were around before motorcycles. But before I go any further I need to stop and lay some ground rules.

Bicyclists, particularly serious bicyclists, do not refer to themselves as bicyclists, and damn sure don’t refer to their vehicles as “bicycles”.  Motorcyclists rarely use the terms “motorcyclist” and “motorcycle”. Let’s face it, they are just way too multi-syllabic. Both groups use the word bike and act like the other kind of bike does not exist. Which is particularly strange in the case of motorcyclists, who don’t like any comparison made between their motorized vehicles and pedal bikes. See how hard that is to do in one sentence and be clear about it?

SO, the upshot of all of this is that when I blog about motorcycles and bicycles in the same blog I am going to avoid using the term “bike”. I will be forced to use the other, longer words I mention above. Which will make the blog sound a little geeky now and then. Or a lot geeky sometimes. But I don’t see a way around it. If you have any suggestions or ideas on this quagmire, then please share them below. Until then it will be bicycle and motorcycle and no bike. Grrrrr….

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