Monday, June 09, 2008

The League of Barely Perceptible Salutations

It's another cycling post I'm afraid. It has been very interesting (to me) watching the numbers of cyclists increase as the year has gone one. The better weather helps for certain, and on good days there are easily 5 times more bikes on the cycle paths than on wet ones. But I reckon there's a cost implication too, as the ludicrous price of petrol continues its slow bite and people actually begin to experiment with having some money at the end of the month again.
Of course, there is a clear divide between "real" cyclists, the ones with the 1000 yard stare who talk bravely about their experiences cycling in "January", and the new wave of Johnny-come-lately fair-weather lightweight...well, you know. This leads to a kind of sneering bike-snobbery, mainly from people like me, which is unfortunately demonstrating that "road rage", the name given to the act of hitting someone over the head with your wheel brace until they stop moving, is badly named. It's simply "human rage", because it's beginning to infect the formerly friendly, tranquil lanes wending their gentle way through Granton and Drylaw.
It's caused by exactly the same issues as car-human-rage... bad indicating, refusing to give way and all the other petty but actually-very-serious-at-7-in-the-morning trangressions which make you want to...well...hit someone over the head with your bicycle pump until they stop moving. And that would take a while, pumps are not heavy. And you'd have to chase them, sort of like jousting.
Anyway, the in-crowd of the cycle ways can identify each other by the way they refuse to actually ever say hello, and seem to dread being seen to be friendly. But there is also the fear of being seen to be unfriendly, leading to a greeting which falls somewhere between a shrug, a twitch and something in your eye. Hill walkers will be familiar with the concept that the only two people for miles can pass each other in the middle of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula with only a grunt and a wry look to the rain clouds. Any more than that is simply being over familiar. Well, it's the same kind of thing. Heaven help the loser who actually tries to form the word "hello" or dare to identify the time of day with a mumbled "Morning" or "Afternoon". But conversely the regulars expect some sort of greeting which is where the Barely Perceptible Salutation comes in. You can't be taught it, you have to earn it.


  1. Anonymous12/6/08 02:56

    Good one.

    Mate. I'm in the Sneck from 2nd till 17th July. Must hook up.
    Pls let me know your plans.


  2. Good One.

    Mate. In the Tain from 15th till 30th July. Must hook up. Pls let me know your plans.


    Mate. Also need to fix dates for Annual Budapest Outing Feb 09. Are you up for it? If so will need to know which dates suit, Mark, C and I are quite flexible (despite our size)

  3. Runners (or in our case Joggers) are nine times out of ten, very friendly, always a smile and a nod and even, if breathing allows, a conversation in the passing. Is this because we look so knackered people take pity on us, or are runners just friendlier people!