Just a thought… Civility isn’t just some optional value in a multicultural, multistate democratic republic. Civility is the key to civilization. [Van Jones]
Well, what a weekend! Hope yours was filled with fun and family, as ours sure was. Yesterday we hosted two cousins, their husbands and children and my aunt and uncle for a big ol’ family get-together. Grabbed some grocery store chickens, ribs and salads, tarted up my own store bought/homemade potato salad combo and voilà! A recipe for a super day.
Saturday, we donned our cowboy hats and joined in a neighbourhood Stampede-themed party. No, there was no bull-riding or chuck wagon races; we just sat, ate burgers in the warm summer sunshine and caught up. It’s an annual event and my memory of names is highly challenged, but we welcome the chance to chat with people to whom we usually just wave as they drive by on our dog walks.
Friday was a highlight of the year for Rob and me: we inflated the tires, checked the gears and headed out for a great, long bike ride. Some of it was in gentle breezes on paved paths along the ocean, some on gravel roads through fragrant forests and alongside verdant farmers’ fields (the last of which provided us with a cooling head-to-toe shower as we rode through the spray of an irrigation system). We even had a chance to shoot these beauties having a nice summer day as we passed by a farm. Happier ‘n pigs in mud, wouldn’t you say?
It just reminded us of how good a hot tub was going to feel at the end of our four-hour adventure. We stopped midway for lunch in a park, had ice cream at a local market and even did a bit of shopping. Perfection!
We obeyed the rules of the road, stayed upright and ended up logging 30 kilometres on our first ride of the year! No pain on Saturday, either (and, yes, this will be one GREAT BIG PLUG for my favourite natural anti-inflammatory SierraSil). All weekend I was grateful that nothing hurt. I certainly didn’t deserve it!
Let’s talk about cyclists for a second. I believe the majority of them – us – are respectful of the rules and our relationship with the four-wheeled travellers we so often share the roads with.
Your experience may differ, thanks to those who don’t: the ones who whiz past without so much as a word that they’re passing or perhaps even a ring of the bell. (Are bells only for us newbies? Because I’m nothing but grateful when someone lets us know with a ring that they’re behind us, whether we’re walking or on bicycles. The last thing I want to do is veer out into someone’s path and cause any dangerous situation.)
I don’t believe in riding two or four abreast, and yet that’s what we encounter when we’re behind the wheel. I understand cycling can be social: we chatted or called out encouragement or plans to our fellow riders Charles and Nancy as we enjoyed our ride. How else would I have spotted the eagles perched in a nearby tree, as I concentrated on remembering how to shift gears?
The worst of cycling seems to involve a hoard mentality. On Thursday night, Rob and I were out in our Mini. We came to a stop at a three-way intersection, checked traffic and then made our turn. Just then, seemingly out of nowhere, a vast group of about 30 cyclists whizzed straight through that three-way stop we’d just cleared, and kept going.
Rob exclaimed his surprise and added, “And I think the lead guy waved his fist at me.” I told him he was probably motioning to the group that they were going straight through. And then I wondered, why? Why is it that the rules of the road don’t apply to all of us?
If we had been a cop car at that intersection, would they have come to a proper, legal stop? I don’t understand the mentality that somehow, because they’re a group, they have different laws. They ride two and three abreast on narrow bike lanes, causing traffic in both lanes to veer and dodge and move over the centre line. It’s not as if it was a bike marathon; clearly, this group was just out for an evening ride.
I don’t get it. If you’re a cyclist and can enlighten me, I invite you to join today’s conversation on my FB page. I’m not bashing cyclists in general; I am one. I don’t like hearing people slamming a whole group of us for the actions and misbehaviour of a few. And believe me, when, after making a full stop and then proceeding through an intersection, I make eye contact with the drivers who’ve stopped and wave “thank you!”
It’s my hope and plan to be an ambassador for those of us on two wheels who have a healthy respect for (and even fear of) the motorists who share the road. I just wish we could remember to be civil to one another – in all ways, at all times.
Talk to you here tomorrow. And if I get enlightenment through those FB comments or via email firstname.lastname@example.org I will share those later in the week.