Tuesday, November 03, 2009

You had me at snot rocket

I've noticed over the last several years of riding to work that we aren't the most friendly group on the road or on the trail. I understand about on the road--we're all too busy trying not to get killed for small pleasantries. That don't-fuck-with-me face is sometimes the best defense we have against the cars, trucks and buses swarming around us, especially given that spandex is as effective at protecting us against motor vehicles as a kleenex is at stopping a 9mm bullet.

But on the bike trail during commute hours, it's just us and the occasional jogger. It wouldn't kill you to crack a smile. In fact, it's gotten so irritating how serious some of you are that for the past several months, I've made a point of greeting each of you with "good morning" or "good evening," and I've got a few notes for you...

The first note is that you are not on Team Radio Shack or Garmin-Slipstream or Rabobank or whatever team you bought the clothes for, so lighten up. If you were that good, you wouldn't have been riding on this suburban bike trail with me in July, you'd have been in the Alps, Pyrenees and on the Champs Elysee.

The second note is that it's not like we're strangers. I've seen you every morning and evening for the past several months.

The next note is that, although I'm not as prissy as Emily Post, when someone looks you in the eye and says "good morning," the appropriate response is not to

  • look down
  • look away
  • look away and spit
  • look away and fire a snot rocket
  • grimace and pedal harder (see above note about how good you aren't)
The appropriate response is "good morning."

You're welcome. There's no charge for that little bike etiquette lesson.

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  1. I continue to be less than encouraged to engage with any kind of wheeled vehicle other than as a passenger!

  2. Maybe you should yell "I said good morning!"

  3. I usually satisfy myself by laughing at their seriousness. C'mon people, we're out here because this is more fun than being in a car, not because we're masochists.

  4. Fun? What's fun? I am Levi Leiptheimer, so get out of my bubble space.

    In the real Washington, cyclists greet each other across the road. Sometimes they even say hi before I do. They always wave or nod, even when I am riding my old bike.

  5. CAGirl: That kind of socializing is viewed back here with suspicion and envy--it can't possibly be sincere, but wouldn't it be nice if we all said hello to each other?

  6. My personal favorite was the one who stopped to ask if I needed help while changing a tire, then peppered me with questions about how to do it himself should the need arise. Good thing I did not need help. He was friendly though. Everyone else who rode by offered assistance too.

  7. A few months back, we had about five of us down in the bike room helping a guy change a flat. Not that we all needed to be there, but it was a good excuse to hang out and chat. As far as I know, cyclists are required to offer assistance.