Pack mules, carriages, and status symbols

Shout out to my unnamed friend for this one 😉

I was going through Limerick city with my bike after shopping. My backpack was full, and so were both panniers. The bike was heavy! It did made me work, and it was all worth it.

He texted:

How’s the pack mule?

I replied:

I’d say there’s a few more years in him yet. How’s the carriage?


There’s no denying that historically, there was an achieved status in being drawn in your carriage. Those cretins on the gravel road had better get out of your way!

There’s also no denying that its modern descendant, the car, has pretty much equivalent sense of right and privilege (only with MUCH better acceleration, at the disposal to the frustrated driver).

There are several disadvantages to the car as a status symbol, including the lack of feeling of success from sitting in traffic while walkers pass you by.


There’s special scope for promoting the bike as a status symbol! By cycling a trendy Dutch bike with a basket, whizzing past people stuck in their status symbol cars, there’s a certain elevation of status in the making.

While walking depends on your clothing to make a statement of your relative asserted status role, cycling has the special opportunity of signalling that through your bike.

As we continue to speak about walking, and then cycling, and then transit, as preferred ways of public mobility, let’s take the opportunity of raising the status of those who go by bike, reminding them that this is a real sense of freedom once more.