One of the best things about cycling in the city — besides it being fast, cheap, healthful, environmentally friendly, freeing and fun — is that it is a social activity.
A month or so ago, I struck up a conversation with a fellow bike rider at the set of ring and post stands outside my office. I complimented her on the flowers she had woven in her baskets. She complimented me on my â€œnot your bitchâ€ sticker. I told her it was from a ‘zine called Bitter Pie and that I had only put it there in a fit of nostalgia, thinking about my last bike, which was covered in stickers.
She pointed out her â€œstealing bikes is bad karmaâ€ sticker amidst the faux flowers.
I said the flowers must give her good karma on the road. I figured they must do something to encourage a more chilled-out vibe from cars. I mean, surely, a driver wouldn’t speed up behind and honk in rage at someone whose bike is covered in daisies and bluebells?
Naturally, a conversation ensued about the abundance of aggressive drivers in the city and what other useful anger management techniques could be employed whilst cycling. We both sing songs, for example. I suggested a few choruses of Dennis Leary’s â€œAssholeâ€ could do wonders for the nerves.
A younger woman that was with her, giggled and said, â€œOh you twoâ€ and that she thought we were â€œhilariousâ€. Clearly, not a cyclist, I thought.
When I went out for lunch, I saw her bike, in all its flowery glory, locked next to mine. As I got closer the floral spray seemed to spread across the bikes and then I noticed she had attached some of the decorative flowers to my basket. She had chosen some very neutral greenish-brown springs (that actually look a bit like pot leaves) for my bike. Good choice!
I love little kooky acts of kindness like this. Such a small gesture of cyclist camaraderie has had a big effect on my attitude.
Now, if someone cuts me off and yells at me to “get off the road”, I blow a kiss instead of giving them the finger.
photo by Caz Zyvatkauskas