Thursday, February 11, 2016

eBikes, Old Dudes, And Proper Road Etiquette

Why you pass me on the left?
Every cyclist is a pursuit to be had. Each time I see someone ahead of me it can end in one of two ways:

I catch them and take them

They turn off before I catch them

Every once in a while I get taken, but it's not a happy day.

The mantra of most bike commuters.

It's a curious phenomenon at first glance, but when you think about it it's basic human instinct: the competition, the urge to want to be the best. The first. The bravest. The winner.

I was passed by the really old dude on an ebike again last night.

I'm half way up the hill, almost home. As usual I am not biking fast. But from behind I see a bright light to my right that's not moving fast enough for a car, then a spinning sound. I turn over a few more revolutions and he's upon me.

The old man and the ebike.

This is the second time we meet like this so by now we ought to be on a first name basis, but still no "hello", no acknowledgement. It's an attack.

I silently accept what's clearly an invitation to The Great 164th Hill Race. Ebike or no ebike. I don't expect to win but I'm giving it my best. Revolution by revolution I am slowly gaining on him as he's barely pedaling. Our stroke ratio is his one for my every 10.

As I'm about to attack, he turns off the road. The race is over before it begun.

My interaction or lack of it with this guy got me thinking about road etiquette. In my book, one should at least say "on your left" or ring a bell prior to passing someone - and if you're feeling particularly friendly or oxygen rich, a "how's it going" can be thrown onto the plate of acknowledgement.

However, I'm thinking I might give this guy a pass due to his age. Judging by how old he looks he was probably raised back when courting a woman consisted of giving her a bonk on the head with a club, for then to drag her back to his cave. How can I expect him to be polite then? Him not bonking me over the head is most likely his version of being friendly.

Why can't we be friends...

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