I was invited to a party last week, one where lots of my friends would be but also where I'd get to meet lots of people who don't ride. We then proceeded to joke about, asking if such people really existed. I think I've seen them, they're the ones who get in between me and Ben and jerry when I'm shopping, right?
One of the things I love about living where I do is the traffic. The first 25 minutes of any ride I'm constantly passing cars and being passed, I used to hate it. I'm a bumpkin at heart and if I pass five cars on some of my rides at home I'll ask the fifth one where everyone's going. I used to do rides in the alt camp where I would see nobody except the goats for hours, and I loved it. But now I'm learning to love the traffic as well.
Passing cars, motorbikes, busses and lorries gives me a little, 3 second window into the lives of others (which, by the way, is a much better film than the one that shares a name with this blog post). I can hear their music, see them check their nail varnish, do up their ties, watch them suppress or embrace the urge to dance, hear their children cry and their passengers laugh. I like to construct little back stories, imagine what it would be like to be them for a day. I like to guess where they're going, what they're doing and who they're talking to on their Britney spears' headsets. It gives me an appreciation of my good luck; I see people forced into nylon suits and high heels and it makes me happy that I still don't have to wear long trousers or socks at work. It makes me happy to be outside and traveling under my own power and it makes me grateful that I never have to eat my meals from a white paper bag with a logo that your grandmother had never seen, and you can't travel 10 miles without seeing.
I look at the old men on motorcycles and wonder if they get the same sense of freedom as I do on my bike. The young men in sports cars don't look like they get the same feeling of speed as they sit there revving their machines at 10 mph and give me the evil eye when I cut in front of their manicured bumpers to avoid one of San Diego's bottomless potholes or the remains of someone's bottomless big gulp.
I even met one of these people, I was having pizza after the velodrome, he said he passed me every day on his blue triumph on my green bike in by zebra kit. He said he wanted to honk because I looked like I was enjoying riding, but he didn't because he didn't know me. Now he does and now he can, and I'll have one less life to construct on the basis of 3 seconds of evidence.
Riding your bike is fun, wherever and however you do it. It's good for your legs and your soul and even if it's only a commute it's the best part of your workday. So ride more, drive less and lean to love traffic.