To quote Dennis Miller (back when he used to be cool): “I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but…”
On a long-ish, 3.5 hour ride last Friday, as we rode past rider, after group, after rider, a close friend (and a cyclist of very high pedigree) brought something to my attention.
“Watch this” he says, while approaching an oncoming cyclist. ”Hi” he says, calmly and warmly.
Nothing back. He does it again. Nothing. Again and again, nothing and nothing.
Until we pass a grisly 60 year old vet on a steel Marinoni, and imagine that – he says hi first.
This lack of civility ruffles my lycra feathers a fair bit, and here’s why. The average roadie is somewhat new to cycling, and is disproportionately passionate. Said roadie invested at least a few grr on a bike and accessories, then bought some kit; maybe a local team, maybe Rapha. This person makes his or her love for cycling known. They follow Spartacus and used to follow Lance. At a social event, they will identify themselves as a cyclist and, without hesitation, offer opinions on the subtlety of team tactics or Sagan’s probability of green in this year’s tour. They’ll order delicate coffee and shave their legs and spend 2 hours and no dollars in a bike shop on a regular basis.
But they won’t lift a hand to wave back or even acknowledge another rider? Note the detail there - it’s wave back, not wave first.
To thoroughly investigate the social dilemma of alienation within subcultures is beyond the scope of this rant, but I can tell you who does wave back and why. 2 groups wave back. 1) Old school, older riders wave back, because they were riding when seeing another cyclist was rare – you waved at each other with pride. 2) Racers. If you head out to a Tuesday/Thursday night crit with any regularity you’ll start to recognize people – and these people are peers through suffering. Glotman waves at Speed Theory waves at TNA waves at Tod’s waves at Triple Crown waves at Evo waves at Red Truck waves at Atomic waves at Wedgewood waves at Vets….
If team BMC happens to pass team OPQSL on a base ride in January somewhere, they’d probably pull over and chat for 10 minutes. But we can’t wave back; “I mean, did you see his kit? Nice USPS jersey, jackass”
On a mini-tangent Strava is part of the problem. I know it’s harsh, but Strava can FRO.
That’s it, that’s all. If you wave at me, I’ll wave back. Always.