Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brief Encounters

It's easy to remember the one lousy driver that cuts you off. It's easy to remember the one lousy cyclist that cuts you off. Focus on such isolated events, and it's easy to have a lousy day.

The temperature was falling through the twenties, light snow was adding to the six inches on the ground, and I was on my bike. It was a spurious trip, unnecessary in every way. Just the trip for a bicycle. I set the grocery store as my target.

Cutting through neighborhood streets designed by a planner with a definite artistic streak added time to the ride. Pleasant time. My tires cut through fresh snow and sent tiny pellets flying in all directions through the crisp air. A car passing opposite was illuminated under a street lamp. The driver waved, laughed, and shouted out the window to me, "You're on your bike. That's great!"

In the checkout line, the cashier greeted me as usual.

"One paper sack?"

"You've got it, but I think I made it tough for you this time."

"I like a challenge."

She fit the groceries in as if the package would be up for a building inspection. It would have taken me ten tries to do it.

"You're getting good at this."

"It's fun! Have a safe ride."

At the bike rack, another cycler was spinning his front tire.

"Enjoying the snow?"

"Oh yeah! I just got some studded tires."

We discussed them for a minute, and he rode off, grinning, into the snow. I set off, too, cutting through back streets toward home. A middle aged lady, walking, waved me down with a big greeting.

"Isn't it hard riding in the snow?"

"It's not as bad as you might think. And, it's a lot of fun!"

"I may have to try it. I've been walking since the snow."

"You'll do great. Just remember not to lean, and take it slow."

"I think I'll try tomorrow."

Scientists say that much of our happiness depends on positive interactions with others. If so, chalk up another one for the bicycle. And, if you're hesitant about riding in the snow, give it a try. It's not as bad as might think. And, it's a lot of fun!


Blogger Hjalti said...

That's a nice set of interactions. As the weather around here has gotten colder, my riding has dropped off. Posts like this motivate me to keep trying. Thanks!

12:15 PM  
Blogger Paul Cooley said...

Our studded snow tires have made riding in the snow and ice a real blast. Now if we can only get some snow down here. We're having a dry winter in New Mexico.

Last year, I was plowing through about five inches of snow on a must-do errand hauling the kids in the Burley. I really wished they made a sled runner replacement kit for the Burley's wheels. THAT would be cool!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Jim K said...

I frequently have good interactions with people when I bicycle to work. Tonite I met a guy that lives a few blocks away while riding home after work, and we had a pleasant conversation. Its been one of the unexpected upsides of commuting by bicycle.

Jim - Minneapolis

8:53 PM  

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