I’ve met quite a few people within a cycling related capacity but this one has stuck with me and still makes me smile to this day.
I was out and about, enjoying a cool, crisp autumn ride. I’d wrapped up nice and warm, possibly a bit too warm. By the time I’d gotten up the first hill which was only about 3 miles into the ride, I was baking. Still, I’d rather be too warm than too cold.
I was about halfway around the loop I’d planned to do, only about 25 miles. There are a few lovely country roads that point slightly downhill, and you can pick up a fair amount of speed without having to pedal very hard. Ahead of me was another cyclist. Unfortunately, when I see another cyclist a switch is flicked inside my head and I just have to overtake them.
I started to gently increase my speed, I knew the road and knew that there wasn’t a turn off until the junction about 2 miles. I had a good feeling I was going to catch him. To be honest, it didn’t take long. Unlike myself who had upped the pace, the cyclist in front was plodding along at a leisurely speed. I passed him with the usual friendly “morning”. To which he responded with a similar greeting.
I carried on further down the road, pleased with myself that I’d caught and passed him. Sad I know, but a man has to have a target every so often. I reached the end of the road and stopped in the queue of cars waiting to get through the red lights. I hear the familiar clicking of a freehub behind me, I turned and watched as the chap who I’d overtaken came passed on the pavement and make his way to the front of the queue.
As the traffic started to move through the lights, now green, I spotted the same cyclist pedalling off. He was taking the same roads that I was. This time I was just going to take it easy and catch him when I could. Once again, it didn’t take that long. Up ahead was a railway crossing with the barriers down. I slowly reached the back of the last car and pulled up next to him. He had an ear to his grin and happily said. “It’s fantastic to see someone young speed past me on these fancy modern bikes”.
I was pleasantly surprised. Usually, when you reach another cyclist, the conversation can be a bit stilted as you go through the usual hi, how are you? Cycled far? etc… I decided to take it as a compliment and we got talking. It turns out that he was 78 years old and still doing 40+ mile rides every other day. I told him that if I’m doing that sort of mileage by the time I get to his age I will be a happy man.
The barriers lifted and we started to make our way over the crossing, he said that it had been a lovely conversation and it was great to chat with a like-minded cyclist. I bid him farewell and carried on with my ride.
For some reason, I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. It really is the small things, and usually, ones that you’re not expecting. It just goes to show that having a quick conversation with another cyclist can be brilliant. I hope that I made his day as much as he made mine.
Has anyone else come across someone who’ve made them smile while on a ride?
Until next time.
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