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!