It maybe because of my history of mountain biking, and BMX, where stopping and talking to other riders – that were up until that point complete strangers – was the complete norm. Wether it be; out on the trail, in the local woods, at a jump spot, or in a skate park, it was always a given that you would spend time talking to these like-minded fools. Some would then no-longer be strangers, others you would never see again, but the socialising felt as if it were as much of the point of going out riding as the ride itself was.
Now I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not the member of a club and I’ll often go out riding on my own, but I have always been surprised by the lack of acknowledgement by other riders I’ve gotten whilst out riding on the road. I’m certainly not suggesting that I ride around the roads expecting people to smile, release a few fingers on their bars, or even say hello, but I do kind of think that it’s at the very least the polite thing to do to respond in kind if someone’s done it to you. And that’s the thing. I say hello to everyone I see when out riding. I don’t say hello to get a response, I say hello because it’s polite. But I always feel slightly disappointed not to see any signs of response whatsoever. I shouldn’t, I know that, but I do nonetheless.
Am I expecting a response because I think we have a kinship because we’re cyclists? Or course I don’t. I do however think we have a kinship because we’re both human beings usually out in the middle of nowhere. Not responding at all is just plain rude, but perhaps not quite as rude as being blanked. Yes, somehow I must have offended someone so much by saying hello that they’ve turned their head the other way. I’ve also come across a peloton of riders dressed head to toe in a brand of clothing synonymous with riding cafe culture, a group of riders you would assume would be very social, none of whom said hello. They all however looked a little taken aback when I said ‘hello again,’ to every single one of them when our rides crossed paths again later on that same ride.
I’m not the cheeriest of people, and I’m certainly not the most social, but at the very least I make an attempt at least to be polite.
All of this though will seem slightly at odds with my very next post…