Cycling and socialisation

Today I was passed by a hoon on a road bike, down White’s Creek. I was dawdling along by the aqueduct in the middle of the track when, all of a sudden, there was a rush of air and the guy was 10 metres down the path. If I could have caught up to him I would have given him a serve about not calling out “passing” or anything, but the morning was to nice to spend in an argument. Across the road and halfway down the next path was a lady walking two dogs. I don’t know how the cyclist passed her, but I slowed down and called “passing” – she looked very gratified.

Cycling can easily be a trap for solitude, and equally a social bond. Both the boy racer (I imagine) and I spend most of our commute in the company of our own thoughts. As a touring cyclist you can spend hours alone with nothing to do but think. As a recompense, you can also be closer to nature and the surroundings. This morning I said hello to three ladies walking dogs. I waited while a woman backed out of her garage into a lane, chatting with her about the weather. I rode past a young guy playing bagpipes in a park.

None of this social interaction would be possible in a car. From there you only see the faintest hint of what is off the road. You’re trapped in a cocoon and by your speed, passing through life in order to reach your destination. You’re hurrying towards your death, whileI may not arrive at mine on time for all the flat tires, and chatting with the locals. My journey’s end will be a keenly felt reward for a life full-lived, not the purpose of the journey.

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