Louisville Bicycle Club
January-February 2008 Newsletter

PaCkMaN's CORNER
What is a "PaCkMaN"?

by


It has been nine years since I have been able to ride with you, so I have not had a lot of contact with members who have joined recently. And some people just never saw me at the time since I generally only came out for centuries.

It is a pretty simple etymology to Packman:

It was, from what I have heard, invented by then-LBC member Don Williams (since relocated), in or about 1994-5 as a reference to the large red backpack I carried on most club rides. It certainly distinguished me, along with my mountain bike, on club centuries and made me easy to spot.

The backpack weighed 20-25 pounds and held a variety of spare parts which I had found useful to have by experience, particularly when riding alone as most of my riding was, and usually enough supplies and groceries for a century or more without stopping at any stores. I sometimes gave out a bottle of sports drink or candybars to others in dire condition or produced refreshments in the middle of nowhere to other's surprise.

On bike trips I took across the USA and into Canada, the backpack also held dozens of maps, rolls of film (It was in the days before digital), clothes, music tapes and more spare parts, as well as souvenirs collected along the way. It was better than panniers for delicate things because through the seat, my back and the way it hung, the contents were more cushioned. A month in panniers tended to chew paper items up in particular.

That marker made the nickname known to many people who saw me at club rides who never knew me by name. I took it very much to heart as a badge of honor to be so wellknown by any name and so that people even today can attach an experience, conversation or sighting back then with my name. Packman, with a 'k' as I spell it, had to do with the video game Pac-man only in its homophony as a pun.

The style I currently use of alternate capitals and lower case is an affectation with a symmetry I find pleasing and is not really important. But if you split up the letters by case, you get a somewhat subtle mnemonic of a/k/a (also known as) PCMN, still phonetically 'Packman' without any vowels, as some ancient languages were constructed.


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