Context: Person X likes to ride his bicycle. The context is a morning in a normal road, with a commonplace setting in a simple town locality. Some are riding bicycles, while others are riding scooters. I want to write:

While he doesn’t let go of scooters without a race, he makes it a point to not let any bicycle born human overtake him, and if they do so, he would overtake them back again within a minute.

By "While he doesn’t let go of scooters without a race", I mean to say that he does try to challenge scooters for a race, and evidently looses since he himself is on a bicycle. However, he does not let any other bicyclist overtake him. And if by chance any bicyclist overtakes him, he'll make it a point to overtake them back.


Is "bicycle born human" a correct usage? I am avoiding the term "biker" or "bicyclist" because this is a simple setting, so there are people like the milkman, the breadman, the newspaperman, etc. who are just riding a simple bicycle to commute from one place to another. I am worried that those two words refer to a rather exclusive set of adventurous cyclists with helmets on their heads.

PS: I hope it's obvious but, through that phrase, I want to refer to a human riding a bicycle, not a human "born" on a bicycle :P

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    Can you explain how you came up with that expression in the first place? What was your reasoning? Dec 13 '17 at 12:55
  • @CookieMonster I felt like I've heard phrases before which in general mean "y-born => being carried by y"... Dec 13 '17 at 12:58
  • I think I got you now. The guy in question must be some kind of tailgater. Dec 14 '17 at 1:56
  • @CookieMonster Thanks but No, that's not what I'd in mind. I did not mention tailgating. I meant person X to clearly overtake other bicycle born people. Dec 14 '17 at 2:07
  • Why don't you just use simpler language? Forget all that fancy vocabulary. Just say what you want to say in simple words. Dec 14 '17 at 2:09

He doesn't let anyone on a bicycle overtake him.

With respect to "let go of". The desired meaning is not clear to me in OP's while construction:

While he doesn’t let go of scooters without a race, he makes it a point to not let any bicycle born human overtake him, and if they do so, he would overtake them back again within a minute.

The expected structure is "While (although) he does not do X, he does do Y". Since he does wish to prevent anyone on a bicycle from overtaking him, the contrary of that would be "he ignores people on scooters". But "doesn’t let go of [sic] scooters without a race" does not have that meaning. I think OP means to use this construction: "let {someone} go without {something}":

He lets people on scooters go without a race...

That is, he does not bother to race people on scooters.

With respect to "back again", "back" is incorrect.

back = restored to an original place

Here is what you want to say:

.. He would overtake them again in a minute.

A runner, say, or race-car driver, who is in the lead, if he is overtaken, can get the lead position back or get the lead position back again.

I will lend you this book. I would like it back again.

  • (+1) That's actually quite neat! Dec 15 '17 at 2:44
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    anyone is a very useful word :) But it is easy to see how the phrase anyone on a bicycle might confuse or elude a learner! Dec 15 '17 at 10:56
  • Thanks for elaborating! In this part -> "He lets people on scooters go without a race..." I actually meant to say something like "He definitely tries to race with scooters, but doesn't push too much if they take the lead. However, losing to one scooter does not deter his zeal, so he'll try to race with the next scooter as well." Can this information be decently presented in a sentence? Dec 15 '17 at 11:37
  • OK, the contrast wasn't clear to me between his actions vs scooters and his actions vs bicyclists. Is the following a decent paraphrase of your intended meaning? He is willing to concede victory to scooters, though even they do not get by without a race; but he is unwilling to lose to a bicycle and quickly gets the lead back again when anyone on a bicycle overtakes him. Dec 15 '17 at 12:17
  • Thanks! I now feel that the whole scooter thing is making the sentence very clumsy. I think I should delete that bit about scooters. Thanks anyway! Dec 15 '17 at 13:11

Honestly speaking, I don't think that's a correct usage of the adjective borne (and please pay attention to the spelling). An airborne disease is one that's transfered from person to person through the air. Waterborne diseases are diseases that are spread through water. The idea here is that the first word (for example, air in airborne) in an expression so formed tells you what medium is used to carry the disease. I think, the most common usage of borne (there are some other less common ones) you typically hear is when people are talking about diseases and bacteria that cause them. I don't know why, but borne just doesn't seem to work for humans. You could say, however, airborne troops, but that's rather a technicality. It seems to me that this word is only applicable to things that are not human and have no intellectual capacity to make decisions on their own. That's probably why we can say airborne troops. The reason, I think, is because soldiers can't give orders, they must follow them instead. So, I would suggest that you look for an alternative way to describe a person who likes to ride bikes.

In your situation, you could simply say any bicyclist. Though not as fancy-sounding, at least a lot more comprehensible. bicycle borne human would literally mean a person who is carried by means of bicycles, but that's just not idiomatic and sounds like awfully awkward English. It gives the impression that they have no choice in whether they want to be transfered by bicycles or not just like waterborne bacteria have no ability to decide where to go. They go where the media takes them.

Could you please tell us some more about your sentence and what idea exactly you want to express with it because as it stands right now, the sentence is not the most intelligible one. The only thing that I can discern is that you're talking about a person who can give others a run for their money when it comes to bicycle racing. And if you do tell us more about your sentence, hopefully we will be able to fix it together. It's very difficult to come up with the right descriptives when the exact context is unclear or vague.

  • 1
    References like merriam-webster.com/dictionary/borne include usages like the railroad-borne news and definitions like transported or transmitted by. Also, I don't believe I was technically a disease when I was an airborne soldier.
    – Davo
    Dec 13 '17 at 13:36
  • Thanks. I believe your definition is too narrow, but we'll see what the community thinks.
    – Davo
    Dec 13 '17 at 13:55
  • Yep, "borne" was the first thing I thought of when seeing the OP's question. And I believe the passage in question refers to someone who is competitive on/in a (motor) vehicle; specifically "while he doesn’t let go of scooters without a race" refers to the person referred to always racing people on (motor?) scooters; and doing the same with bicyclists with mixed results.
    – Phylyp
    Dec 13 '17 at 14:04
  • "while he doesn’t let go of scooters without a race." I meant to say that he always challenges the scooterists for a race Dec 14 '17 at 1:36
  • let go of is just not the expression you would want to use because it means something that's entirely different from you're trying to say. Capisce? Dec 14 '17 at 1:42

No, 'bicycle born human' is not the correct term for refering to somebody riding a bicycle, because this person is not born on or from a bicycle. They are simply called a cyclist or biker.

If you really want to avoid using those terms, you could always use person riding a bicycle.

While bicycle borne human is not incorrect, it does look rather awkward in everyday usage and could be downright confusing.

  • To extend this answer a bit, 'borne' is the past tense of 'bear' in the sense of 'carry' eg 'the burden that I bear' vs ' the burden that I have borne '.
    – peterG
    Dec 13 '17 at 23:29
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    If I felt absolutely compelled to use it, I think I might be inclined to hyphenate the term: bicycle-borne human. But 99% of the time I think I'd heed your advice and avoid the term altogether.
    – J.R.
    Dec 14 '17 at 0:45
  • I have expanded the context of the question if you wish to have a look. Thank you! Dec 14 '17 at 1:44
  • While I edited my answer slighty, I still advice you should just use either (bi)cyclist or biker, as these words do not just apply to sportsmen, but to all people riding a bicycle.
    – Lars Mekes
    Dec 14 '17 at 7:15

Absolutely not, "bicycle born human" is ridiculous. You can, however, use the phrasing "born to ride a bicycle" or call them a "(bi) cyclist". You could also call such a person a "biker" but it could either mean "a person riding a bicycle" or "a person riding a motorcycle".

  • I have expanded the context of the question if you wish to have a look. Thank you! Dec 14 '17 at 1:47
  • I actually see the paragraph like this: "Even though he loses challenges in racing to scooters, he makes it a point not to allow other bicycle riders overtake him. If still they do, he makes an effort to overtake them back within a minute." Dec 14 '17 at 4:13
  • Well, he doesn't actually "challenge" the scooters per se. So, I think a better adaptation of your sentence would be: "Even though he loses to scooters, he makes it a point to not allow other bicycle riders overtake him. If they still manage to do so, he makes an effort to overtake them back within a minute." What do you think? Dec 14 '17 at 11:23
  • @GaurangTandon he doesn't try to race them? He losses before he starts? Dec 14 '17 at 12:31
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    It's OK though if you use "borne", for example Gifts For the Bicycle Borne Road Warrior or A long-range, bicycle-borne banana-vendor
    – ColleenV
    Dec 15 '17 at 12:30

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