Don’t Be That Guy

On Saturday, between a couple of road trips that spanned the end of last week and the beginning of this, I managed to get out for a ride with Sam. It was, what has rapidly become, our standard weekend ride with little out of the ordinary. But, just as we were parting ways, we came to a stoplight and were greeted, a little too loudly, by a gray haired, ponytail wearing, helmetless roadie, “Hey guys!” Actually, I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was annoyingly cheerful.

The thing about roadies (and I can say this because I’m one of them) is that we, as a whole, are often overly critical of ourselves, primarily, and, by extension, of others. On a ride we are constantly making snap judgements about the other riders we encounter. Oh, sure, most of our stereotyping is helpful-should I call out that I’m passing or will I just startle this guy off the road? If I put in the effort to close the gap, can I work with him? Does he need help with that flat repair? I wish I had that 6.0 Madone. If I did, he’d never be able to hang with me on this climb. So, with all of this internal judging going on, it’s difficult to be any more friendly than a quick wave or a head nod (often, in my experience, completely ignored). This isn’t to say we roadies are a rude bunch, we just don’t have time. Many of us might enjoy cruising and chatting with our friends but, at the same time, we want to own the KOM on the Iron Point Road climb. So, we judge and we, sometimes, forget one thing…

After looking back at us and nodding at our half hearted waves, the ponytailed rider looked back again and greeted the next cyclists at the light in the same manner as if we were all his pals, his buddies, his friends. It was incredibly uncool. He was acting outside the norm, offering passing riders more than just a nod or the flick of a wrist while carefully apprising every aspect of the their bikes, clothing, equipment, form and (potential) ability. He was, simply, having fun.

I smiled that last 6 miles back to my house.

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  1. #1 by Sam on December 14, 2010 - 4:51 pm

    I thought you realised who it was – the long white haired rider is ubiquitous on the trail, although he’s usually on a bench taking a breather. I’ve seen him dozens and dozens of times, always helmetless, always smiling, usually with a friendly comment to make, or if not, a hearty wave. A couple of weeks back I came across him on a bench, and as I passed, he fished out a cowbell from somewhere and clanged it enthusiastically. The guy’s a trail legend. Awesome.

  2. #2 by Michael on December 14, 2010 - 5:25 pm

    Yes, sir, I did recognize that guy. He’s never cowbelled me before. He’s my favorite.

  3. #3 by Sam on December 15, 2010 - 9:53 am

    Once I came upon him going west through the Rancho Cordova section of the trail, and I think he said “If you were going any slower, you’d fall over!”

    Odd thing is, he said it as I overtook him.

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