An Observation – Old men on bicycles in Osaka.
After reading an article in a British tabloid about a man being placed on probation for getting “frisky” with his bicycle, I thought of Osaka cyclists and the differences between aged women and men riders. No, I’m not suggesting that people in this country engage in weird bicycle sex – although it is possible some do – no, I’m talking about aged men on bicycles. Many can’t ride well.
I often see 65 to 85 year-old men (you’ll notice I left my own age demography out of the group ) wobbling along the sidewalks, teetering on falling off; oblivious to life around them.These male curmudgeons are not at all like their female counterparts who ride well and are able, for the most part, to judge dangers ahead of impact. The old fellas, however, can’t seem to control the bike – they’re only just moving fast enough to stay balanced or upright. It truly is a wonder, at times, how these men maintain an upright position at all – the laws of physics notwithstanding.
Now if you happen to be following behind one of these “Not Easy-Riders” and try to pass him, you will more often that not, have to risk sideswiping the guy or perhaps having to slam on your own brakes to avoid sending him head first toward the cutter. When you finally do see your chance to leave old Taro in your bitumen dust and pull out (so to speak) to pass and crank down on your pedals, old Taro wobbles across in front of you again.
So why are these old gents so hopeless on bicycles? I can hazard a guess and suggest that it is because after 40 or 50 years working in corporate Japan – taking the train or subway everyday to some high rise office building and working at some sedentary job these men have lost a lot of physical dexterity. Women, on the other hand, use a bicycle everyday throughout their lives and therefore maintain riding skills. Whether it be taking the kids to kindergarten, the daily run to the supermarket, over to a parents’ home for coffee and a chat or whatever, Older Japanese women, on the whole, are better cyclists than older men.