Commute Conversations

Day’s Verse:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

One thing about commuting by bike: You can have conversations with your fellow commuters. In a car, communication consists of turn signals, honking, and maybe gesturing. I, on the other hand, rarely have a week go by without having cordial conversations with other bicyclists. Every week or two, I’ll encounter somebody and we really hit it off, and end up riding for anywhere from 3 to 10 miles together. It’s fun and community-building, and it’s something that keeps me coming back to bicycling day after day.

I mention this because this morning a guy rode up next to me as I rode on the I-90 trail. Here’s our conversation in its entirety.

Him: Hello.
Me: Oh, sorry. [Moving to my right, thinking he wanted to pass me]
Him: I’ve seen you commuting, and I just wanted to say…I like your style.
Me:[Surprised] Thanks!
Him: Happy riding! [Turns off trail]
Me: You too!

I smiled for the entire rest of the ride, until I saw the car with a license-plate liner that said “You people make my a** twitch,” after which I probably looked puzzled.

Actually, I was a bit puzzled anyway. What did that bicyclist mean by “style”? Did he mean clothing*? Or behavior? Or bicycling technique? Or my bicycle’s look? Clearly he meant something good, and at first I assumed my bike, which is pretty stylish. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if he meant that my good manners on the trail — always giving an audible signal before passing, signaling turns, slowing (ahem) at stops — or something else entirely. I’m still not sure, but nobody’s ever accused me of having style before, and I kind of liked it. Not enough to become actually stylish, mind you, but enough to wallow in the compliment for a bit.

* Given that I was wearing black Spandex pants with neon yellow reflective ankle bands, a neon yellow vest, a teal short-sleeved jersey, white-and-pink Fat Cyclist arm warmers, and my reflective helmet, it’s hard to imagine he meant clothing-wise.

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