It was too early in the season to attempt Wilfred. Instead of pushing further, I should have done a light 30 minutes, and left it at that. I should have. For the next few days my shoulders and butt will be reminding me of this neglected wisdom.
To Wilfred and back, 24 kms, in 1 hr and 7 mins. The length of time taken is one sign of just how much more challenging the hills en route to Wilfred are than the ones surrounding Little Britain. Here is an earlier Wilfred-related post. (Took me 1 hr and 35 mins? Yikes: those were knobby tires.)
Disclaimer: this is a gripe directed primarily at
road cyclists on country highways. City cyclists, who definitely have
their own issues, should keep their hands on the handlebars at all
times, unless signalling a turn. “What's that?” you ask.
“'Signalling a turn'? Qu'est-ce que c'est?” Oh, but don't get me started.
Alright: back to the highways.
You road cyclists — what a surly,
unsympathetic bunch you are. I should know: I've been in your number
for the past five years, and counting.
When I first took to the
highways and saw one of you approaching me from the opposite
direction, I figured the cyclist's etiquette was that of the
motorcyclist. You give a little wave, get a wave back, and off you
both go, grateful for the smidgen of bon homie.
But no. When I waved, what I got in
return was an impassive stare that all but said, “You're new here,
aren't you — ass-wipe?”
And you wonder why motorists are
antagonistic toward you from the git-go. They hate you — yet
feel twinges of remorse every time a Monarch Butterfly gets smeared
across their windshield. What accounts for this difference in
empathy? For one thing, the butterfly had the decency to wave.
If you're a road cyclist reading this,
there are two things I desperately wish you'd do. First and foremost,
I wish you'd study up on the rules of the road so that, at the very
least, you knew which rule you're breaking at any given time. Not
infrequently, that's been all of them at once. And — I don't know,
it must be all this fresh air you're inhaling — you have this
sanctimonious smile on your face as you do it, too. Combine that with
the outfit you're wearing, and it's no surprise people want you under
The second thing I'd like every road
cyclist to do is WAVE.
When should you wave? Whenever some
middle-aged putz on a bike is approaching you from the opposite
direction, grinning and waving like a fool who hopes you'll be his
friend, would be a good start.
But the most important time to wave is:
whenever a vehicle passes you.
Why? Because you're acknowledging being
acknowledged, even if only by a few crucial feet. “But,” I hear
you whine, “I have a right to that road just as much as any gravel
truck.” Calm down. You think I don't know that? I know that —
I've studied up on the rules of the road. But you are a bigger pain
in the ass than any gravel truck.
Speaking from personal experience:
most gravel truck drivers wait for the passing lane to clear before
they pass me. If that doesn't deserve acknowledgement, I don't know
what does. Look for that all-important side mirror, and give him a
wave, dammit. Make his day just a little easier to bear.
Oh, but those motorists have such a
chip on their shoulders — almost as large as the one we cyclists
lug around. It's time to thaw the cold war, kiddies. Let motorists
know you don't begrudge their presence on the road, even if that's a
bald-faced lie. Fact is, we've got to share, and as I learned the
hard way in kindergarten, a little friendliness goes a long way to
helping others share with you.
So go on, give 'em a wave and a phoney
smile. The motorists behind that gravel truck will all see your
graciousness, and it'll be good for 'em. In fact, it might just save
your life. And who knows? It might even save the life of that snooty
lycra-clad rebel-without-a-clue further up the road.
In fact, my name is Darrell Reimer. "Whisky Prajer" is a nom de plume I cooked up to spare my father a little embarrassment, and possibly contribute a smidgen of ironic play to The Larger Mennonite Story I was born into. My cover was blown some time ago, when I overheard my father forwarding this site to a friend. As for "ironic play", well, judge for yourself...