Is that a bike commuter or touring cyclist on new stamp?

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The US Postal Service gives a nod to exercise and fuel-effecient transportation with its release of four postage stamps depicting different styles of bicycling.

The set of “forever” stamps were released officially in Minneapolis last week. That stung some folks in Portland, where they were still celebrating after taking over the No. 1 spot from Minneapolis in Bicycling magazine’s list of top cities for bicycling.

Commuter or bike traveler?

Now I don’t want to stir up controversy here, but the Postal Service says the stamps depict a child on a bike with training wheels, a bike commuter pedaling to work, a racing cyclist heading to the finish and a BMX’er making a jump.

Commuter or bicycle traveler

Although the Postal Service says the second cyclist is a “commuter,” I think the artist depicted a bicycle traveler headed down the road to new adventures.

She’s carrying sizeable front and rear panniers and the top of something — a sleeping bag or tent? — is peeking up between her rear panniers.

Also, wearing a jersey, cycling shorts and bike shoes, she looks ready for a long day on the road.

In any case, all the cyclists are depicted in healthy pursuits. The Postal Service reminds us that bicycling is an activity that almost everyone can enjoy, and the exercise reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease and breast cancer.

You can buy purchase these where ever stamps are sold. If you’re a collector looking for something special — uncut press sheets, first day covers, ceremony program — check out the US Philatelic’s website at Beyond the Perf.

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