Since I started running, I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon with the large population of cycling enthusiasts in our community. At the risk of making a sweeping generalization, they’re typically very unfriendly. Well, towards runners, anyway. They respectfully greet their own kind when they cross paths — either with a nod of acknowledgement or a slight wave. But greeting runners…well, not so much.
At first I thought it was me. I don’t exactly look or perform like an elite athlete, so I say “good morning” or “good evening” to everybody along my route regardless of their chosen activity. Be it a dog walker or a garden waterer, I say hello to everybody. But cyclists have never seemed to reciprocate. Then, when I started running with friends on the weekends, I was told not to bother. “Cyclists don’t talk to runners,” I was told. “And runners don’t like cyclists.”
Ahh. So apparently there is a weird runner/cyclist code that I’d not heard about. Got it. (Well, isn’t that dumb.)
So after months of learning to ignore the spandex brigade, imagine my surprise when a cyclist passed me this weekend on a particularly tough hill during a long run. “You’re doing great!!” she shouted at me from across the street. Stunned, I smiled, waved and hollered my thanks. The best part? I wasn’t doing particularly well. I’m sure it was obvious I was struggling. It was horribly hot, the hill was steep, and I was panting my way up the climb. I knew that she was applauding that I was trying — and it was so encouraging.
Guess I won’t give up on those cyclists after all.
How much better would this world be if everyone cheered each other’s improvement efforts — even those of a stranger? How much better would we be?