To Wave or Not to Wave?


Cycling Active this month brought up the topic of cyclists not waving or nodding at each other any more, the ‘excuse’ being that ‘there are too many cyclists’. To some extent this is true in busy parts of London but when there are just one or two cyclists such as in the provincials, where’s the excuse there?

I think one of the reasons why cyclists don’t nod at me is because they are male. It is a kind of male bonding thing. They don’t think perhaps that women can banter or they don’t want to talk to women in case she has a husband cycling at the back or something! And of course, I am not using ‘the right bike’. The ‘right bike’ is only dug out on long serious rides.

And it is too gang like – you have to belong the right ‘cycing set’ ie club, cyclist or commuter. Touriing cyclists are the most easiest to chat you, and we can swap tales and tips. They are often not in a mad rush either and they have more of a sense of humour.

But even with the ‘right bike’ and being on the other side of the road while a peleton goes past (I remember long distance training for the London to Paris)
there was no greeting. I think it just shows the type of club they are when they do that, it is just bad manners and cliquey. Even the Kent Velogirls mentioned in Cycling Active don’t nod when another lone cyclist goes past but I expect women’s clubs in other countries do ‘nod’.

In Britain there is too much of the stiff upper lip and you notice this thing even hotels when people don’t even say Good Morning to the people unlike other Europeans, such as the Germans, who do all the time, both customers and staff. None of this stupid snobby attitude that ‘I won’t say Good Morning to You’ because you are beneath me (SPIT!). Being more of a European in personality and genes, I don’t really ‘get this attitude’. I think it is particulary ‘Southern’ though.

‘Noddy’ type ones are normally pensioners but young couples do not bother at all.

Even if you nod at them, many don’t always acknowledge you.

I have got to the stage that I don’t bother unless I see they ‘look friendly I think if they want to be like that, that is their ‘problem’.

The magazine says as a rule cyclists are a friendly bunch, well only if you belong to ‘their club’ or ‘if you are in London Critical Mass or another CM. One of reasons why I like Critical Mass is that it is friendly and people talk to stranger all the time, no matter if you are male, female, scruffy on a unicycle,young or old. It is fun. Much more of a community feel.

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3 responses to “To Wave or Not to Wave?

  1. I have found in London the People are very Stand offish ,if you ask them for directions they try and Walk through you. They duck and dive to get away. There are exceptions of course with some being very friendly. But it seems the further away from London you get the Friendlier the People are.

    I have found the very Competitive Sportif Cyclists that you meet on the Road are too busy flying along trying to Boost their Performance to notice anyone. They normally have their Heads locked in the forward position and hunched over the Handlebars with a look of Pain on their Faces.

    Some Pelotons out on a Training Run give you a Nod and sometimes they might pass a remark on the Weather or on your Bike it depends how hard their Training is,whether it is Speed or Endurance.

    Our Cyclists in Ireland seem to be a fairly friendly Bunch and like to talk to everybody especially when they are not actually Flying along on their top of the Range Road Bikes and standing around.

    It is traditional to say Hello to other Cyclists whether Individuals or in Groups or Clubs and perhaps talk about Tactics, Bikes Equipment when they are at some Cycling Event or Ride. But then they might not speak after that at all until they all get together in the Pub or if there is a Party after the event.

    When I have been away in some Hotel whether at Home or abroad on the Continent it is always Traditional to Greet People. It is the English that are a bit Reticent about saying Good Morning or Good Evening until someone says it to them.

    With us we get highly Suspicious of People who do not speak and cant figure out the English when they remain silent,we like to Talk to each other a lot.

  2. I wave at everyone not driving a car out of sheer exuberant joie de vivre, and expect nothing in return. Since I live in Phoenix where everyone drives everywhere, I don’t wave often. When someone waves back, all the better.

  3. That’s great. Keep it up! We need more of that attitude over here.

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