Old familiars

Not having cycled on a regular basis for god knows how long (I’m too embarrassed to check), it seemed like I’d never been away when today I spied two regular cyclists that I used to see on my commute all the time.

The first is a well-built woman who always has her blonde hair tied back in a pony tail that peeks out from under her helmet and hangs down the back of her yellow fluoro jacket. She wears cycling glasses, too, which aren’t particularly stylish but obviously keep the wind out of her eyes. I couldn’t tell you what kind of bike she has, but I usually know it’s her simply by the two panniers that weigh it down on either side. I imagine they must be stuffed to the brim with heavy items because she cycles very slowly. In fact, this morning, she was cycling so slowly she almost got skittled by a bus she was trying to overtake. Sometimes I wish I didn’t see these things…

The second is a little man I have long called ‘the jockey’. I think I’ve been following this little grey haired, grey bearded chap for a year or more. He’s in his late 50s and couldn’t be much taller than 5’2", with short stumpy legs that barely seem able to reach the pedals. He looks like a little turtle with his knees all askew. But the most distinctive thing about him is the fact that I have never ever seen him stop at a light! He’s one of those cyclists that travels at one speed and one speed only and if that means he has to sail through every intersection regardless of the danger then so be it. Frustratingly, because he doesn’t stop for anything he always seems to beat me. On my route home tonight I passed him at least three times but he was still in front of me two miles down the road! I don’t know whether to admire his attitude or hurl abuse at him. They say the tortoise always wins the race — and I think, in this regard, they might be right!

Does anyone else see old familiars on their route? Or does this just happen to me? Sometimes I wonder if these regular commuters regard me as one of their old familiars. If they spied me today, I’m sure they were all thinking, wow, haven’t seen her in ages…

Total distance: 12.07 miles* | Ride time: 1hr, 14min and 25sec | Average speed: 10.25mph | Top speed: 18.8mph

* My bike computer wasn’t properly attached when I started off this morning — in fact it bounced off the road about 1/4 mile into my journey — so these figures are not entirely accurate.


3 thoughts on “Old familiars

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gives names to other regulars. Actually, some of the regulars I see have earned themselves names, and several other unnamed people are just indicators of how late I’m running depending on where along the route I pass them.


  2. Me too! I always seem to run into them (figuratively) at the same place, day after day. I don’t encounter many other cyclists, mostly I see the same people out walking every day.
    I guess we’re all creatures of habit and, yes, I miss them when they disappear for a while.


  3. I have a really short bike commute at present (which I have to augment in order to get more exercise as I’ve put on about 2kg in weight since autumn!), but I still see quite a few familiar people every day.
    I only give them names if I’m going to relate something that they did to someone else. So beared-recumbant-bloke, who zooms along with his Cambridge Cycling Campaign sticker on his machine is obviously fair game for naming.
    One of my friends tells me about someone who he calls the ‘screaming cyclist’ who hurls abuse at car drivers stuck in the traffic. We can’t forget the young bloke, the ‘chav-rider’, who cycles on the pavement and says “wot? WOT?” to people who openly puzzle at his aggressive attitude! He’s upgraded to a moped recently and fortunately doesn’t use that on the pavement.
    Of course Cambridge is full of other colourful characters Angry Wasp Man (who does ride a bike!), and Disco Kenny (who doesn’t) to name but two!


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