UNIVERSAL TRUTH OF CYCLING #14:
THERE ARE 2 KINDS OF CYCLISTS:
ONES WHO SAY “HELLO” AND ONES WHO DON’T.
Guess it’s pretty obvious which side of this issue we fall on, yeah?
Mountain bikers, you may be excused. Overall you seem to have the kindness thing figured out. Roadies…pull up a chair. This one’s for you.
Here’s the scenario: You’re out on a ride and see a cyclist or few coming toward you. Being a steward of the sport, you greet them as they pass. Sometimes it’s a full on “Hello!” Sometimes it’s a wave. Sometimes it’s just eye-contact and the little lifting of the hand off the bars thing.
Sometimes you get a nice greeting or a wave back. Nice. That small but bonding gesture. Then there are the ones who ice you.
Really? And I’m not talking about the times where they may not have heard you. I’m talking about eye-contact, multiple greetings and…nothing. Sometimes even a scowly-face.
Working on the middle-east crisis, handling the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan, fighting a raging forest fire, fixing a problem at the international space station - these are the kinds of situations where dead-seriousness and scowly faces are completely cool. Understandable. But riding a bicycle on a Sunday afternoon in perfect, Southern Californian weather? Nope.
Why should this bother us? Are we that needy? No. And honestly, most times we just let it roll off our backs. But overall, it’s about manners. When you think about it, technically, people don’t have to say please or thank you. They don’t have to smile at one another. They don’t have to respect one another’s personal space and well-being. But it’s what makes life tolerable. It’s called civility and it’s quite simple.
Roadies who actively race have the worst track record when it comes to this kind of thing. There’s a certain club on the west side of Los Angeles that has cultivated a culture of acting superior to all others on the road.
Lighten up, friends.
I love and respect our sport too. Between us, we’ve been doing it at a pretty high level for over 40 years. But we do it because it’s fun. Period. And yes, we race, too. Racing and kindness are not mutually exclusive.
And let’s break it down – we’re both out there putting our next-to-nothing bodies into the mix against multi-ton steel cars on tight roads. Oh, and we’re in form-fitting lycra.
In the great food chain out there on the roads we’re pretty down there. Seems like we need some solidarity.
So as you pass this little online article, let me be the first to wave and say “Hello.”
Hope you wave back.
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