Convicts of the road. The fellowship of the wheel. Cycling is a broad church and it is a congregation united by the pleasure, fitness and memories gained aboard our self-powered transport. Racers or tourists, rough stuff riders or commuters we all share the invigorating enjoyment and freedom of the open road or trail.
You’ll already know or will have noticed that many cyclists acknowledge each other with a nod or raised arm when they pass each other, but it’s an action that seems to be increasingly neglected or unadopted by some riders.
A few years back I was lucky enough to ride in an area populated by numerous World Tour racers, including Giro D’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, and one misty morning on a climb used in the Amstel Gold race we passed each other and naturally nodded. On roads between the Ribble HQ and home I’ve also had a cheery grin of acknowledgment from one of Britain’s top road racers out on a spin. Yet strangely I can also be out on quiet roads, in pleasant sunny weather and be completely blanked by numerous riders. If the ‘nod count percentage’ from my fellow cyclists drops below 50% I am dismayed, but luckily there are still enough of us nodders out there to maintain my faith in cycle kind.
Fair enough if you are doing a training interval but nodding is one of the cycling customs which must not be lost. If you think you’re too pro or cool to nod, then I’m afraid you’re mistaken. Pro riders nod so why don’t you?
The year I had to endure a 30-mile commute and could not cycle to work I bought a classic Volkswagen and discovered that Beetle owners raise a hand to each other out on the road. Similarly, motorcyclists often nod to each other and ramblers say hello.
So, let’s unite to save the nod. Don’t be a non-nodder!