Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Code

Bicyclists have funny little codes, like, if you're on a bike and you're wearing the hilarious clothes, you're suddenly part of a secret society. You pass a bike going the other way, they briefly lift their hand as if they were secretly acknowledging your mutually privileged status. If a biker passes another biker changing a tire or sitting on the side of the road or whatever, not riding, they always ask to make sure you don't need anything. Why is this? Drivers of cars don't do this. Any hand gestures between drivers are generally less positive, and yet the drivers have the same kind of relationship as the bikers, don't they?

Today I found out that there's other stuff, too. Stuff that doesn't come out until a race. Like when the cop at the intersection stops you so traffic can go the other way, everyone starts yelling, "Slowing! Stopping!" A chorus of "stopping!" "On your left" and "car!" are also common things to hear. If there's debris in the road, like gravel or a water bottle, it is pointed to by EVERYONE and yelled out (" gravel!" "bottle!") by a few. There were also a couple of "biker down!" moments today, the news quickly spreading down the field. I guess all those 'race day' calls are simply to make everything safe for the ten thousand people riding the same course at the same time, but I still don't get the little secret wave, which occurs every day.


Anonymous said...

Interesting observations.
I think the secret wave means, "Unlike auto drivers who are surrounded by steel and window glass (insideness), we are outside, and as such, are more vulnerable. We should stick together. In the same way new moms share stuff they would never tell other people, because nobody else can relate.

~Kathryn~ said...

i've tagged you with a NaBloPoMo meme