Saturday, April 18, 2009

On being friendly

A co-worker once said that the Lycra-clad roadies seem stuck up because they never wave to other cyclists. Huh. That surprised me, because I am a Lycra-clad roadie and I thought I acted friendly to anyone who wasn't honking at me.

In fact, interacting with others when I'm cycling has been one of the serendipitous surprises I've had on my bike. I enjoy waving to other cyclists, no matter their style of cycling. I greet and wave to joggers and pedestrians and folks in their yards and on their porches regularly.

So what about the things my friend said? It turns out, he is right. Even as a uniformed roadie myself, I am rarely acknowledged by other roadies when I encounter them. I really have no explanation for this.

It's too bad, because they are missing out. Motorists are physically isolated from the pedestrians and cyclists, and they miss out too. A cheery hello will always draw a positive response from a jogger or pedestrian. They seen startled to be engaged. Startled, but gladdened as well. A connection, a heightened sense of community.

Maybe the roadies are seeking to travel with the same anonymity as motorists do. I like the texture that being a part of those around me brings. Just as I enjoy being out in the elements, the wind, the sunshine, the smells, the heightened awareness of the space around me- the incidental inclusion of people I come across is part of that. I like seeing the wildlife my bicycle allows me to sneak up on. A view of the world that a motorist will never have, isolated in their cage.

The joggers, the walkers, the folks in their yards and on their porches, I bet they are motorists when they travel. It is an opportunity for us to be ambassadors for our sport, a chance to put a neighbors face on the cyclist in front of them in the lane. It takes such little effort, it costs not a thing. Perhaps it could pay big dividends down the road.

Thanks for stopping by, ChipSeal

1 comment:

  1. I find the folks in their yards & garages to be the friendliest. That and the folks in their bathrobes getting the morning paper...