Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Are We A Fellowship?

I mentioned yesterday that I stopped at La Colombe cofee shop in Manayunk on my way home having heard that this was a place that cyclists often congregate after or during their morning ride. Indeed there were three cyclists in the shop. One man who looked older than me (but in better shape) dressed in really serious riding spandex with team logos. He hardly gave me a nod, let alone a smile. And two younger, athletic looking guys seated together at a table. One of the three had left his unlocked bike leaning against a parking meter outside the shop and because there was very little choice I leaned mine on the other side of the meter and locked it, being very careful not to disturb his nor to get too close to the car parked at the meter (which turned out to belong to the second of the two riders.) When I entered the store I said to all of them and no one in particular something like "I was really gentle locking my bike next to someone's so don't worry." And one of the two younger guys said, smiling, "well I was going to come out and have a talk with you if mine had fallen over." I smiled back and assured him his bike was fine and went about my business. The older guy left first. Then the two younger guys. One took off on his bike and the other lifted his on top of the car. In the process my bike fell over. I came out to fix it and nobody said a word. Not "I'm sorry" or even "couldn't be helped." Which reminded me of all the cyclists I pass or who pass me in the morning. Next to no one waves, which I understand, but precious few give the universal cyclist's helmet nod. Wouldn't you think there'd be some sense of camaraderie given the minority we still are and given the fact that its pretty unusual to be out at 5:30 or 6:00 on a cold winter's morning riding a bike? What gives?

I also wanted to take this opportunity to mention another cycling magazine. Actually not a magazine put an annual proceedings of the International Cycling History Conference. Their website gives all the details: Check it out. Here's a picture of one of their annual proceedings. They look great, the contents are on the website. Really serious cycling history.

And finally, this morning's ride: I left the house with the temperature at 27 degrees. (Annie begged off. I think her lower limit is thirty.) And had a perfectly comfortable ride for my 12.4 mile loop. There was less wind than yesterday. I was making pretty good time when I had to lose a few minutes to one of those dogs off leash that I complained about in my pet peeves post. Actually I encountered two or three that pranced across the road and that I had to be careful of, but all but one were quickly reined in, either physically or by obeying their owner's commands instantly. However, one owner could not get her dog to stop, could not get the leash on quickly and the dog was running at me so that I had to stop and each time I tried to move on, the dog was back on me. Finally, the owner got the beast under control and I continued on, yelling back: "You could at least say you're sorry."
Though she was not a cyclist and I can't lay claim to a shared fellowship, whatever happened to the shared fellowship of being human utilizing rules of civility and manners to ease the burden of that humanity? Without meaning to I've articulated a theme here this morning.

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