Today I went for a fun ride of 25km in the Spring heat. The feathery greenness that currently permeates the Essex landscape, the blossom & the light wind made for a very pleasant ride indeed.
A while back someone on Twitter was having a moan about other (mainly) cyclists not returning the greeting that he offers as their paths cross. He keeps a score (e.g. if he says “Hi” & the other cyclist doesn’t then it’s “1-0” to him). This interested me-anecdotally I felt that most people do return my “Hi” & most acknowledge my “Thank-you” when they make space for me to pass along the Flitch Way. Today was a public holiday in the UK so I decided to keep a similar score. I thought that I may come across a number of cyclists out on the back roads, like me enjoying the mid morning sunshine.
Almost as soon as I got started a couple of road cyclists whizzed down the Dunmow road in the opposite direction. I tipped them a nod and smile and said “Hi” but they either didn’t hear on the busy road or were too important to notice me heaving myself up the rise. Within 15 minutes, I was 4-0 up & wondering what the hell was up with these people? The sun was out & it too was warm to be serious about things!
My wife offers the excuse that they may be so in the “zone” that they don’t notice but I think that’s a poor excuse-all the cyclists who are good enough for that are in Italy right now or on an alternative racing circuit. Anyway, as I passed a variety of traffic, I decided to include walkers/hikers, horse traffic as well as others on 2 wheels.
The end score was 12-7 meaning that from 12 encounters, only 7 people offered a reply or said “Hi” before me. This included a person on a horse who let me past on the road and a couple of walkers. As a cyclist, I consider myself friendly & accommodating (except for taxis-they’re trash because they think that the road belongs to them) & am disappointed that this snap poll shows people who cycle as the exact opposite. I will continue to perform this poll in future and report back-it may be because those out today were “in the zone” or don’t know of this etiquette that exists in my world. I’m pretty sure that etiquette DOES exist because I must’ve learnt this behaviour from somewhere…
So I wonder how it is in other countries or other parts of the UK. What is the etiquette when on the road/track passing other cycling traffic? Do you nod, wave, say “Hi” or do something else that acknowledges a likeminded individual?