A Passing Rider

The beauty of the bike lies in its placement of the rider. 

You wake up. It’s still early, and you take a moment to let the morning surround you, enjoying those quiet moments when the drowsy day begins slowly blinking its way into existence. Keys, phone, wallet. Shoes, helmet, bibs. You and the bicycle. As you head out to the garage and turn the key, you’re already working through the route in your mind.  You roll down the alley with its large, sandy crack on the left (keep right). Left turn onto the street then right turn onto the path.  No need to look both ways, it’s only you out here this early. Look up and you can see the large, green neon beckoning you forward.

Pedals spin with a little difficulty. Your body remembers but your soul’s not in it, yet. You begin to hum a few bars of a song you have stuck in your head – what was it again? Then you hear it. Click, click, click. A rider up ahead coming the other way. Instantly you dress them down (we all do it). Knickers/Bibs? Messenger bag/Saddle bag? Fixed/Free? Friend/Foe?

What’s his story?

He got up. It was still early, and it’s been a hell of a week to give up coffee but still the pot sits empty. Shaking his head he got his clothes together and gathered his lunch. Keys, phone, wallet. Shoes, helmet, jeans. Him and the bicycle. He heads into the closet and grabs his standby. There’s nothing remotely resembling a mountain around these parts, but a solid commuter she makes with her stout 26” wheels and wide, knobby tires. Down the four flights of stairs and through the security door which locks with a loud knock behind him, disturbing the early morning peace. Looking up he sees the sun peeking through the clouds, beckoning him forward. The path is clear and open – nothing but the early morning bird song and that weird click the bike makes. Got to get that checked out.

He sees a roadie making his way towards him with a scrutinizing look.  As he passes by he can hear the roadie humming a few bars and he wonders why a grown man would be so into a Taylor Swift song.

The bicycle gives you a perspective. It ushers you into a world which you make your own at the same time that it makes you it’s own. Stereotypes are a form of self-defense. Everyone is worried about being made fun of, I believe, but how often do you hear a roadie actually verbally chastise a commuter?

Instead of allowing this perspective to tear you away, let it bring you together. They have two wheels, you have two wheels. They aren’t so different, and in many ways are more alike you than you’ll ever know in those couple of seconds. And no matter how alone you think you are – when you’re a grown man humming a Taylor Swift song someone will be there to make you feel like a fool. I know this much.

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