Yesterday’s beautiful weather meant the countryside was a hive of activity. As I headed home at the end of my ride I passed many cyclists going in the opposite direction. Each time we passed, we repeated one of the accepted rituals of acknowledgement: a nod, a subtle wave, the occasional word of greeting.
That was until I passed Mr X:
Me: (Nodding head) “Morning!”
Mr X: (Waving fist in aggressive manner) “You @#~%er!”
… and then he was gone.
It’s perhaps an understatement when I say our brief exchange took me by surprise.
I understand that there’s tension between Car Drivers and Cyclists. I am also led to believe that from time to time there’s no love lost between Mountain Bikers and Road Cyclists, however I was always under the impression that Road Cyclists were civil to each other… until now.
As I cycled on, I considered the potential reasons why Mr X might have behaved in this way. To be honest, I couldn’t think of a huge number:
- I was flying at the time we passed each other. I was on a long descent, averaging between 25-30 miles per hour. I was on the final stretch of my ride and feeling pretty good about life. Mr X, on the other hand, was at the start of a long, slow, tiring ascent. Perhaps he was having a bad day and just couldn’t contain his frustration. I have a small amount of sympathy if this was the case.
- Perhaps he had Tourette’s Syndrome and I was on the receiving end of a verbal tic. The situation was completely irrelevant to his response. If this was the case, I would not poke fun. However I would encourage other cyclists to be ready for this eventuality so it doesn’t take them too much by surprise.
- The third option, of course, is that Mr X is an expert in body language and had watched me carefully as the distance closed between us. Having performed a thorough assessment, he had a couple of seconds to deliver his considered opinion. Perhaps he got it spot on!
Whatever the case, I would encourage you to be nice to each other, and if you can’t be nice, be honest!
Perhaps you look like George Clooney and his wife had been gushing over your attributes! Think positively.
LOL! Good point! Although with my cycling helmet, hat (to keep my ears warm), glasses and the weariness of 30 hard fought miles written across my face, it would have been a very good long distance spot!
The one thing I like about cycling on your own is that your often not on your own and that is down to the camaraderie of other cyclists. So I say ‘booooooo’ to Mr Grumpy and I hope I never pass him (although, the speed I go that is unlikely!!)
Thanks! I agree, that’s why it was so much of a surprise. From other feedback, it sounds like I may have goaded him in some way, but I say “Boooo!” too! Keep smiling!
if your ‘morning’ was a touch effusive he might have misread it as a bit gloaty but if that is the case a scowel or hard stare in return is all that is required as swearing uses much needed energy on a climb
Fair point! Thanks. I’ll have to temper my greetings in future to avoid them being misinterpreted.
It sounds like as well as my FTP, I should also work on my DSE (Disapproving Stare Effect). I certainly don’t want to be wasting energy!
Hi Paul; enjoyed the interview on PM; first time on your blog. The ‘angry’ cyclist has never happened to me…..yet. Where I cycle (Tyne & Wear) there’s an informal cycling community feel and I hardly ever pass a fellow cyclist (on or off road) without him/her saying ‘hello’. There have been many occasions (especially at weekends) where, in addition to passing the time of day, a fellow road cyclist will also ride with me for a while. It’s a great way to get fit and stay stress free – I love it. By the way, I think we’re both ‘Trek’ owners as well as off and on road? As regards my own circumstances, I’m nearly 52, so older than you. Up until recently, I’ve never classed myself as super-fit however, I believe that I’ve avoided health issues due to the fact that I’ve done ‘just enough’ fitness work to stay in reasonable condition. The summer’s when I cycle lots; round trip to work (20 miles) sometimes, and early in mornings at weekends. The winter however, is when it all seems to stop; wet and icy roads; dark mornings and nights. I’ve recently joined a gym. Although with a young family it’s been tricky to find the extra money, your story has convinced me that it’s absolutely essential and money well spent. I think the big factor is daily stress. I’m fortunate in that my job is reasonably low in stress however, I can imagine that owning your own business (as you do) will be more pressurised and certainly not the stress-free life that some still seem to think it is! Sure, you will have the benefits however, it’s far from an easy life. Stress is, I believe the hidden killer in society and it was interesting to hear in your interview on PM of your reaction to everyday stressful situations; I bet the fitness work has helped there? Somehow it makes you feel so much better and better able to handle life’s challenges. Thanks again for the blog. Will visit again.
Thanks Nick, I agree.
If there’s one positive that’s come out of my experience I’d say that it’s the fact that I’ve got myself fitter and that I’m exercising regularly. I think this is a major factor in general health and wellbeing.
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