Our House, In the Middle of Our Street

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Whenever we hop on our bikes, we not only expose ourselves to all sorts of elements, but we also come face to face with other bike riders.

Despite that, riders do not tend to talk to one another. We share space, but generally our only apparent common goal is coming and going each day from home to work and back home again.

Maybe that’s okay. Maybe we don’t need to be acting as though every commute is like the end of a Waltons episode (anyone besides me remember this show?).

For some of us, though, being a bike rider in the city means being open to connection in a way you can’t get by taking Metro or driving.

When riding, we tune into all the other people also on bikes. Our bikes identify us in a unique way. Our bikes make us nimble.

The street becomes more than a thoroughfare that paves our way to and from the office. It’s a spontaneous meeting spot with a friend. A welcome interruption from anonymity and get-there-itis.

This morning Felkerino and I encountered our friend Tony riding into work on his relatively “new to him” Rivendell. I was running late. Maybe Tony was, too. We were headed in opposite directions.

But upon seeing each other, we all turned around to hang out and talk. We talked bikes, gas cans, Surly junk straps, and bike touring in the brisk morning air. It was the highlight of my day.

Our house, in the middle of our street.

18 responses to “Our House, In the Middle of Our Street

  1. A squirrel ran across the floor of my house in the middle of the street today. We had nothing to talk about, the squirrel having made his point before I could say anything about it.

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  2. Such a nice little post, MG.

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  3. with a gas can in the front basket, how could you *not* stop to talk to him! Do tell…

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  4. Here, in Recife, Brazil, the cyclists do not talk to one another when bike to work, at morning.

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    • It’s nice to know it’s not only a Washington, D.C. occurrence. I think everyone tends to focus on going to their jobs. But I like the occasional social interaction :)

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  5. Wow, two pop culture references from when I was just a wee lad. :-)

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  6. “Our bikes make us nimble.”

    I like that. That’s exactly how I feel in those rare opportunities I have to ride in urbanity. Well, when I ride anywhere, I guess. Nimble, nimble, I am nimble.

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  7. i always am reminded of you MG when i think of the waltons.

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  8. oh, i forgot — youre too young to remember that song..but i remember the mtv video of “our house” all too well…it was good one!…

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  9. Good night, Mary Ellen. Yes, I liked that show!

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  10. Although I like the idea that we would wave or even chat with fellow cyclists on a commute, I think it shows just how few people use bikes for transportation in the US.
    I look forward to the time when transport cycling will not be unique enough to warrant a response. To use the standard example: I’m sure Dutch cyclists don’t all wave to each other.

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    • That’s an interesting way to look at it, as I think of my tendency to want to acknowledge or interact w/ those around me as part of growing up in a rural area.

      I generally don’t think there is much interaction on the commute now as it is, but the current bicycling/transpo cycling community is kind of like a small town. I often encounter people I know when out in the city riding.

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  11. My commute is early and most of my interaction is with the same people in cars at the same time. Always a wave. It is a small town. I get a horn beep and wave from the school bus driver as we cross paths on our appointed rounds! There is a young girl who rides a 29er that we trade waves every morning as she heads into the building where a couple of Dentists have their offices pretty close to the Lumberyard. I would like to talk to her sometime to find out her deal but I’m thinking she has no reason to talk to me.
    Good Post.
    BTW, I got my patch in the mail yesterday!!! Thank you so much!!!

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  12. Seeing more and more bikes here in urban Oakland, USA. Can’t say they’re all that friendly, though. )-:

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  13. This is one of the things I love most about biking too–running into someone I know and then actually being able to turn around and chat with whoever it is. The best mornings are when I pass or get passed by a friend, and then we can bike (at least part of the way) to work together:)

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  14. I got my patch! Yippeeeee!!! And thank you very much for resending the gold star for last year that must’ve gotten lost in the mail. <3!!!!

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