Fifteen or even ten years ago, there were significantly less bike riders on our roads. If you were out for a ride, it would be common practice that you would always exchange a nod or a greeting with every cyclist you passed. However, with so many more bike riders on the roads, that need to acknowledge each other seems to have stopped. That rider coming towards you is now ‘just another cyclist’, whereas in the past, you may well have hailed him as some sort of long lost brother of the cycling fraternity.
Does this mean we have lost our sense of community? Is simply riding a bike now not enough to get a greeting from another rider? Tribalism in cycling also plays a part – mountain bikers don’t speak to roadies, roadies don’t speak to commuters and cycle couriers only seem to speak to each other. But regardless of what bike we ride, we are all out there facing the same challenges and enjoying the same freedoms: essentially, we are all part of the same cycling family. As bike riders, we have enough difficulties with car drivers seeing us as the ‘enemy’ without the need for friction between cycling tribes. At the end of the day, we all benefit from the solidarity and confidence that comes from a strong support network.
In the case of an incident, another cyclist can be a valuable witness and support when you may be feeling vulnerable or confused over what to do next. Whether it is calming you down, taking details of other people involved or checking your bike over, another cyclist knows what you need and what it feels like to be in that position.
We can also learn from each other – passing on our experiences and advice or helping out with a practical skill. If you saw someone fixing a puncture, would you just ride past or stop and ask if they needed any help? Let’s keep the old-fashioned community of cycling alive, with a nod and wave at everyone you pass and the offer of assistance when someone is in need. By looking out for each other, we can make cycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
We want to celebrate the cycling community and encourage a greater feeling of inclusion and support. So with this in mind, we want to hear about your #CyclingGoodDeeds! Have you ever helped out another bike rider or been helped out by someone else?