I had done my 7.5 hours slaving over a hot keyboard and enjoyed my ride home, I’d almost done my 23 miles when another cyclist struck up a conversation with me while we waited at some traffic lights. It was a man called Graham, about my age and one of those folk who chatted so naturally. The lights turned green and we started off. As Graham was continuing chatting and I kept saying “pardon” I turned into a side road so we could hear each other properly.
He admired my bike (my Thorn Audax) and mentioned he has his eye on a Thorn Raven. He asked me about the bike and then he realised I was the cyclist he saw in the LBS a few weeks back (taking in my bent wheel). As the conversation continued, he remarked on how unsociable and snobby some other cyclists can be.
“Tell me about it!” I exclaimed, knowing exactly what Graham was going to say.
“It’s as if you’re not worth bothering with unless you’re riding a really expensive and flash bike” and went onto explain how he always gives a nod or says a “Hi” to other cyclists but is mostly ignored.
I know exactly what he means. There we were chatting away, agreeing on all-things-cycling, we eventually set off on our way. Graham is correct in what he says and it reminds me of some reasons why other cyclists should get on with each other.
- Cycling with friends is a sociable thing to do. We all need some kind of interaction with friends to keep our minds well balanced
- Good memories come from good shared experiences that are nice to look back on
- Cyclists may need to help each other out when there is a need – mechanical problems far from home are difficult to solve. If you see another cyclist trying to repair a bike on the side of the road always make sure they are olay
- Difficult cycling conditions (head wind, rain etc) never seem as bad when with other cyclists
- You can often cycle faster without realising it
- Take turns at being in front so your companion has the benefit of your “slip stream” effect
- Cycling through the night with someone else is less scary than when you are alone
- Great to explore new areas with each other
- You can train together, building up your fitness with a friend brings some accountability. For instance, if you agree to go cycling at the weekend with each other, you are less likely to back out
- Cyclists need to support organisations like the CTC who work for the benefits and rights for cyclists
And as Graham is right to say some other cyclists are unsociable, we all need to check ourselves with this. Are we concentrating on being “in the zone” so much we ignore other cyclists? Are we ignoring someone who might need some help, or even a little bit of encouragement?