6 March 2008

Pleasant exchange(s!) with motorist

Posted by todd under: Riding .

Every commuting cyclist gets plenty of chances to complain about drivers — the ones who don’t look, the ones who don’t see, the ones who honk, the ones who don’t give you enough room, the ones who won’t pass, etc., etc.

So here’s something a little different.

The other day, at a stoplight in the middle of rush-hour traffic, while I was on my way to the plumbing-supply store to get a new valve for my kitchen faucet, a gent in a work truck rolls down his window and says: “I like your green jacket!”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah — it is really bright — it makes you easy to see!”

“That’s good!” I said. “The chicks don’t dig it — but I would rather be unfashionable than dead!”

Then the light changed. He and I went our separate ways.

Well, not so separate. I saw him at the plumbing-supply store.

He and I talked a little more while we waited at the counter.

Him (gesturing toward the window, through which wee could see my bike): “Is that one of those … new bikes?”

Me: “It came out in … 1977, I think.”

“Oh!” he says, and smiles.

Nothing too profound here. But there’s nothing too profound about most things, transportation in particular. We are all just trying to get where we need to go, for the most part, after all.

A harsh word will be remembered long after it is spoken. But a kind word, or even a hi-how-are-ya type of word, goes a surprisingly long way.

2 Comments so far...

Laura Says:

7 March 2008 at 10:56 am.

I love the fact that he thought you had one of “those new bikes.”

John Says:

20 March 2008 at 2:04 pm.

I do most of my riding in blue collar factory cities. There is very little judgement, and lots of courtesy toward bikers and walkers.

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About the picture atop the page

Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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Art for art’s sake

I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!

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