Now that August is out of the way many of you may be sad. The riding seems to be nearing an end, the nights are getting short, and many of us are facing the grim thought of either riding the trainer or getting fat or both. The truth is, September is a great time of the year to ride. You might think the lemming is going to pontificate about the crackling of leaves and pretty colors and adorable squirrels hurriedly gathering acorns for the winter slumber, but no....
September is the time when most, if not all, charity rides are over. Not only that, but most CTS coaches have their athletes "cross training" at this time. This means that the cyclists you see out riding now are hopefully out there because they are loving it, not necessarily because they've been guilted in to finding at least $300 worth of pledges, wore out their welcome with friends, paid most of the pledges on their own, then fired up the old bike to ride the amount of mileage most of us ride just for fun. By the time the charity ride season commences, most charity riders are overtrained with the amount of fundraising they had to do and no longer riding, letting the bike hibernate until next season, sort of like this blog often does. And on the other end of the spectrum, CTS athletes are rollerblading, hiking, and doing "unstructured" workouts right now, anything but riding their bike.
What does all this mean? Well, charity riders might be some of the friendliest riders out there, but more hardcore riders seem to shun them as "freds" and really don't wave or say hi to them. In the context of a training ride it might be hard to distinguish a "fred" from another rider, or even to distinguish a CTS athlete from another rider. What happens then is all friendliness shuts down. No one waves, no one says hi, everyone is too stuck being way more hardcore than the next guy to even think about giving someone the decency to wave at them and acknowledge someone else loving the sport. It creates a "perfect storm" of unfriendliness.
But in September, with those two groups taking time off, you can wave or say hi to another cyclist and probably get a happy response, maybe even strike up a conversation with someone who shares the love the bike, here's how:
1) See another cyclist approaching
2) Remember what the lemming says, this is probably a friendly
3) Lift hand off handlebar and try to smile
5) See other rider's reaction
Don't be alarmed if not everyone waves at first, it might take some time for others to release their inhibitions. Don't worry, in the lone month you have to do it you won't overtrain your arm or grow unusually large muscles, that's a myth anyway.
If, by chance, you stop at a light with another cyclist, here's a great way to say hi.
1) Pull up to light with another cyclist, or see one pull up by you
2) Look at other cyclist
3) Say hi, or nice weather out today, or I like your Y-Foil
It's that easy! Some of you may not believe me, I've posted pictures of cyclists waving to prove that it indeed does happen. These do not look photoshopped, but then again, I'm no expert.