This is a guest post by Travis Fehr from New West Cycle, New West’s newest bike shop. New West Cycle is a community-oriented co-op specializing in reviving neglected and vintage bicycles.
As a home and part time bicycle mechanic, bicycle enthusiast, bike commuter, and believer in all things pedal-powered, I have come to rely on some practical and social practices that make my ride safer and more enjoyable.
One that I would particularly like to share is this: be nice.
Bike riders are a rugged, lonely, and sometimes maligned minority. The sideline is often where we ride, and so it follows that our presence can seem sidelined. One positive way to make your presence known is to think of yourself as an ambassador to the community of cyclists. For example, when a driver stops to let you cross the street, after the five previous have driven through your crossing without a glance, give a friendly nod, smile, wave, or some similar courteous gesture. The message will go to everyone within viewing distance that you are there and are friendly. Believe it or not, we can be intimidating with our chiseled quads and fiercely determined grimace, spattered with “essence of bike”.
There are of course different approaches to making our presence known, accepted, and respected. I am not dissuading bicyclists from using other methods, or claiming that this one will achieve the best results. I am suggesting this as a way to shed a positive light on our image, and I think you’ll find, like I have, that smiling while riding is not only a good way to make friends, but helps remind you of what you love about bike riding.
Besides, the bugs in your teeth nourish you with energizing protein!