sneetchbomb
Beggars Would Ride

Sneetches Get Steetches

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The Four Horsemen (no, not Waylon, Willie, Johnny and Chris, and not Conquest, War, Pestilence and Death. This is in reference to the four tall gringo expats on ebikes who appear regularly on the Road between Loreto and San Javier) were passing by as I popped off the trail onto the road. Like usual, I waved as I rode past in the opposing direction. Like usual, there was no acknowledgment or response.

I should be used to this by now. But it still got under my skin. I rode back into town, muttering under my breath about pinché gringos and star bellied sneetches. And damn, when the pinché gringos pulling that star bellied sneetch bullshit are “fellow cyclists”, the angst sinks its teeth into me in a way that is hard to shake. Cycling is an odd sport, and the ranks of cyclists are full of people who slot in somewhere on the Myers-Briggs scale with descriptors beginning with “I” and ending with “J”. Introversion and social awkwardness are par for the course. Not saying we are all like that, but I am absolutely describing myself here, and also pointing out that there sure are a lot of us introverts who gravitated to bikes at some point in our lives. Cyclists can be mighty damn clique-y and weird, and when it comes to the etiquette of sharing, we are absolutely our own worst enemies. The Four Horsemen passing as if I was invisible is not a new phenomenon.

I have written about this before, and this probably will not be the last time because it irks the living shit out of me. I have been riding bikes for going on 40 years now, and I have been waving at or saying hi to just about every single other living being I’ve encountered on the roads and trails during that time and as such have accumulated a pretty broad experiential database. And when it comes to waving or saying hi back, you know who sucks the most? Other cyclists in general. Mountain bikers in particular.

So, in Loreto, my mom and her cadre of elders have been performing an ongoing social experiment. They all moved to the town a few decades ago, a little before the recent tourist and expat explosions were detonated, and they reminisce about how it was impossible to go anywhere without running the gauntlet of greetings and conversations that the locals would invariably pile upon them. Fresh out of the USA, the elders were unaccustomed to such genial hospitality. They were not used to waving at strangers in greeting, saying hello to everyone they encountered, because back in the USA people were not, by and large, as comfortably outgoing. After a brief adjustment, they all agreed that this was a better way to go, and so they started greeting everyone in kind. They warmed up.

Then the tourist and expat explosions went off, the numbers of gringos increased, and the locals encountered more and more of those gringos who stared right through them and did not exchange their greetings, did not engage in conversation about the weather, the potholes on the highway, the fishing, or the quality of the midsummer heat. Eventually, the locals gave up trying to initiate friendly dialog, and now they no longer wave at all the pale foreigners filling their town with towering Sprinter vans.

The social experiment is this: In spite of the locals becoming less overtly friendly, my mom and the gringo elders still practice a form of “say hello to everyone” as they move around town. And, even if the locals may now seem a bit side-eyed and wary of gringos, my mother reports that if you say hi, if you strike up a conversation about goats and dogs, or spring winds, or scorpions and cockroaches, or anything really, then the locals will return that greeting, will engage in that conversation. Almost every single time. The gringos? Not so much. They will often stare right through the pale little old lady complimenting them on how well their Pebble Grey 144” wheelbase Hi-Top matches the sand on the beach where they are parked as if she isn’t there.

The concern that my mother and the elder expats share is that if this trend continues, then the locals will at some point eventually just give up on the gringos entirely and relegate them to some sort of transitory phantasm; cook their food, sell them their goods, take their money, but otherwise pay them no more mind than they would ghosts that they do not recognize. Strange ghosts are best avoided.

Fearing that that this will ultimately leave the world in a state of lessened goodwill, and that all our experiences will harden and grow colder to some degree, the elders keep on saying hello, talking to everyone about the wind, the color of the sea at sunset, the moratorium on clams. And I, in turn, have taken up their cause. Say hello to everyone. Riding past a giant slab of a man rag polishing his lustrous metallic blue Dodge Ram last week, thigh-sized biceps wreathed in tattoos that crept up onto his immense neck and cradled the base of his shaved skull, I shouted in my mangled Spanglish “Es brilla como un perla!”. He beamed hugely and thanked me with a spontaneous and delicate bullfighter-parody flourish of his rag. A tiny moment, a single thread in the weave of a day, goodwill kept afloat by the simple act of saying hello.

contact

Look, I'm not advocating that you sweatily embrace your fellow trail users one and all, but I am saying that it's pretty damn easy to nod, lift a finger from the bars, maybe even mutter a word of greeting...

The Four Horsemen? They stared straight through me. A week later and a thousand miles north, I was riding on a relatively busy network of singletrack just outside a North American city. Hikers, runners, mountain bikers, dog walkers and bird watchers were all encountered. I said hello to everyone I met, and they almost all said hello back. Even the mountain bikers, which, I admit, came as a pleasant surprise. But then again, of all the people I greeted, the ONLY people who didn’t say hi, or even nod, were on mountain bikes.

A long time ago, when I was first getting into mountain biking, I felt like I had found My People. I was young and naïve and the idea of finding My People was very important, so it was easy to cast a wide net. If we rode bikes, then we were obviously kin. Then I started racing, then learning about road cycling, then working in shops, then immersing myself in the history of the sport, then getting into one speeds, then being a magazine editor, then working inside the sausage factory itself spitting out brand marketing, and I kept running headlong into cliques and noticing all these formerly invisible defining boundaries, along with realizing my own biases and prejudices. Over and over, I would have to re-interrogate myself about what it meant to be a cyclist, and what constitutes “community”. And I discovered that, just like everywhere else in the human experience, we are prone to factions. It feels oddly fitting that the words “faction” and “fraction” are so similar.

For the record, I am fine with cliques. I do not expect that commuters and bike polo players are going to be attending the same pot lucks. I hold no illusion that crit racers are going to be hogging the keg at the annual Rampage viewing party. I get that only a fraction of any faction will be showing up for trail work days. Finding a scene that is fulfilling and accepting is a big and good part of life. But there’s a difference between being into a scene because it feels awesome to you and being into a scene and thinking it’s cooler than everyone else’s scene.

fourhorse

And let's face it; no matter how cool you may think your scene is, these guys are totally gonna burst your bubble...

Back to the Four Horsemen, and an attempt to pull this thing back onto the rails. The Sneetches, one of Dr Seuss’s more socio-politically oriented stories, was about a society of big yellow bird creatures, some of whom had stars on their bellies. The star bellied sneetches thought they were pretty hot shit, and looked down on all the plain sneetches. Then Sylvester McMonkey McBean came to town with a Star-On machine. For a few bucks, plain sneetches could get a star painted onto their bellies, and hey presto, they were now part of the cultural elite. Naturally, this bummed the living shit out of the star bellied sneetches, since the rarified air of their formerly elite status was now being huffed by every shabby pretender with a few coins in his pocket. Fortunately for them, Sylvester McMonkey McBean had a Star-Off machine as well, and for a few dollars more, sneetches could get their stars removed. Since starless sneetches were now outnumbered by star bellied sneetches, there was cachet in being starless. Untill everyone was starless again. And so it went, until the sneetches were all broke and Sylvester McMonkey McBean was rolling out of town with all their sneetchcoin.

I’m not saying the Four Horsemen were intentionally pulling any sort of star bellied sneetch bullshit. And I am not saying that mountain bikers think their star bellies put them ahead of other trail users. And I am definitely not saying that, within the greater sneetchdom of mountain biking, we are prone to looking down our long sneetch beaks at each other and thinking we are conditionally superior in our own eyes. Buuuut… when we don’t say hi to each other, when we don’t even lift a finger off our bars or ever so slightly nod our mirror shaded heads, when we stare right through our fellow cyclists or other trail users, that’s exactly how we come across. That’s some pinché star bellied sneetch bullshit right there.

Rigid singlespeed, 50lb full power ebike, flat bar graveleur, DoubleCrown with DoubleDown; I do not care. Skinsuit and tap shoes, forest hued baggies and uptilted helmet visors, matching lightning bolt pajamas and kung fu slippers; it’s all good. Pull the lens back far enough and we are all indistinguishable; tiny ants crawling around and bumping into each other in the same limited space in the same tiny eyeblink of existence that we share.

God2-Sistine_Chapel

Seriously, how hard can it be? These cats are completely stone chillin' and they've still got enough energy to muster a high five. Or a high one, in this case...

Say hi. Acknowledge this sliver of a miracle that we are all getting to enjoy. Say hi, because if an introverted old hermit filled to the brim with social anxiety can do it, how hard can it really be? Say hi, because it sucks to be a strange ghost.

Speaking of sneetches, let’s let McSweeney’s have the last word on that.

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Comments

velocipedestrian
+14 BarryW Kyle Dixon fartymarty Andy Eunson shenzhe NealWood Karl Fitzpatrick Pete Roggeman Spencer Nelson dhr999 Mike Ferrentino Blofeld Curveball vunugu

But McBean was quite wrong. I'm quite happy to say

The Sneetches got really quite smart on that day,

The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches

And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.

That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars

And whether they had one, or not, upon thars. 

We can live in hope, Mike

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Tbone
+7 Jotegir Jerry Willows Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano Spencer Nelson dhr999 Mike Ferrentino

Great article Mike. Nsmb honorary crew member Chambre had similar thoughts about this on Nsmb: just-say-hi

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Fasta_Pasta
+6 Lynx . Kyle Dixon fartymarty Carlos Matutes NealWood Cr4w KawaBunghole Kristian Øvrum Stretch TristanC Andy Eunson E-wok

My experience: this is an E-biker issue. Having slaved away many hours building a new local trail, I say Hi to everyone who comes to enjoy the fruits of our labour. E-bikers never say more than Hi, I guess assuming trail fairies built this track for them. They are impatient on the climbs, downright rude when stopping in the middle of a descent to see if their gigantic hog can make it through the Tech, and pigs will fly before I will see one at a Dig Day. My theory is that they never grew up with biking communities, just simply bought this "thing", this bike, begins and ends at each wheel. Sorry for the rest of us.

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BarryW
+2 Kyle Dixon Carlos Matutes T0m KawaBunghole Lynx . Pete Roggeman dhr999 E-wok

It's because they are motorcyclists and even then didn't learn to two finger wave.

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xy9ine
0 DanL Jman

i don't see enough e bikers to generate any meaningful greeting response stats, but still seems like hikers are the most highly represented non-acknowledgement demographic in this zone. 

speaking of motos & cliques - back when i was riding sportbikes, always thought it amusing which sub-segments would reciprocate waves; other sportbikes were near 100%, most touring, dualsport, etc, would as well, but as bikes lost bodywork / gained chrome, numbers dropped precipitously (though harley riders always acknowledge other harley riders). we're such a funny species.

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DanL
0

In UK it was pretty much everyone to everyone in my riding experience, but there isn't such a large Harley cult there which never skewed the numbers. It was a nod not a handwave and generally everyone gathered around vintage bikes when they were stopped at lights.

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craw
+6 T0m KavuRider Velocipedestrian Spencer Nelson Lynx . Stretch vunugu E-wok

I think the ebike allows noobs to bypass a major phase that was previously mandatory: putting in the hours building skill and fitness which forced interaction with a lot of other riders in varying situations through which etiquette was imparted.

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andy-eunson
+6 T0m dhr999 Lynx . Mike Ferrentino Metacomet vunugu

I figure the unfriendly nature is a symptom of living in crowded places. In downtown Vancouver the crowds are like a forest of trees and you look at the spaces between to avoid collisions. Plus if you greeted everyone you’d never get anywhere. But. At least keep a happy face. I make a point of smiling most of the time. Or at least look happy. Some folks seem to have, as my mother used to say, "A face like a meat axe". No idea what that meant but it was derogatory. On trails though I almost always strike up a conversation with strangers. Warn them of bear sightings, trail conditions, where you going. Same thing Nordic skiing or sitting on chair lifts. 

In the village the tourists tend to be in a world of their own. I don’t really engage them but I do smile at the kids antics and some adults. I have been known to photo bomb selfies. It doesn’t hurt to be pleasant. 

I ran into a dick a few years back Nordic skiing with my two Labradors. On ski trails where dogs are allowed off leash. This guy starts swearing at my dog and me because he was jogging up the middle of the skate track and was in this guys way. Shitty skier. He goes by me as I’m waiting for my old dog to catch up and mutters loudly so I can hear. I catch up a bit later and before I can call him out he apologizes profusely. Still pissed me off but better than nothing I suppose. 

The worst are the people that shout out "I thought dogs weren’t allowed here" in a know it all voice. They will get a "I’ve been skiing here for 15 seasons with my dogs and I can assure it dogs are allowed". "Cocksucker". People. Can’t live with them, can’t shoot them. I miss the uncrowdedness of Covid.

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LoamtoHome
+2 Andy Eunson Lynx .

the best is when hikers yell out "thought bikers weren't allowed here?" when it's a biking trail.  In the NS, if you are in a unsanctioned zone, it's about 50/50 if hikers are friendly to bikers or not.

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rwalters
+2 Andy Eunson Lynx .

Without fail, the hikers most hostile to mountain bikers are also the ones with dogs off-leash illegally. While I personally couldn't care less about off-leash dogs, I do love the hypocrisy:

"Hey! I thought bikes weren't allowed here?"

"Well, I think you're wrong about that, but I'm dead certain that your dog has to be on a leash here!"

They always love that response! Haha!

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+6 Niels van Kampenhout Pete Roggeman dhr999 Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson Lynx .

NSMB becoming a sort of BIKE mag revival is sweet. Perfect timing w/ pinkbike on a slide. Mike, you have always been my fave bike journo. The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame needs to get with it in getting you inducted. I get why RC is in but you have been huge for the sport over all these years.

I find myself always agreeing with what you write. However, it is good to read many opinions, even the uncomfortable. This entry was that for me. I know you have been out and about a long time but I just could not help thinking you are riding the wrong places these days. Either that or someone put an arse sticker, or worse , on your helmet.

I come under the Sprjnter driving introverted mtb rider category. I am always acknowledging others on the trail.I have traveled extensively and find most riders of all types are reciprocating. Even the hikers moto and horse people are a heck of a lot nicer than decades ago. Conversations with the 1% wealthiest, friends who live in campers, liberals, conservatives, pro athletes and weekend warriors have all resulted in meeting many thoughtful people. Yes, there are antagonists out there but very much so everywhere in life. We also all can have a bad day. I am only pointing this out because if one starts closing the door it will only get worse. 

PS I get many cannot afford a van but they are actually one of the best conversation starters. Especially when people find out it often cost less than or the same as what they are driving.

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GB
+5 Niels van Kampenhout Velocipedestrian dhr999 Mike Ferrentino slimchances57 vunugu Kristian Øvrum

I say hello to my neighbors walking a few blocks to the grocery store . Most say hello back to me .

On trail rides I say hello or nod to every person I pass . I don't get upset if they don't respond.  Different cultures . Maybe the quiet individual is attempting to reset their frame of mind  from some tragic event, going for a walk  in the forest.  

I think I hug cyclist for kicks . To see how comfortable they feel with my physical expression of joy . If I get eye contact with a doggo  I'm saying hello .

In the forest , in parks ,for the most part ,people are happy and engaging.  

Say hello to everyone.  Be friendly.  They don't have to respond.  Sometimes you have to show love with out any reciprocation. 

I'm old, I fell like I remember every biker being very friendly.   Perhaps that's when we truly were a fringe sport. Seeing another rider on the trail was a celebration.  

Time has changed the dynamics but my friendly greetings will always prevail.

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fartymarty
+4 BadNudes cheapondirt Spencer Nelson Kristian Øvrum

I try to at least nod to fellow cyclists.  At the very least you need to check out what they're riding so you might as well say hi or give a little nod.

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hairymountainbeast
+4 dhr999 flgfish slimchances57 vunugu

Having lived all of my 47 years in Bellingham, and seeing it change from a dumpy little mill town to... whatever it is today, it makes me sad how many people don't return a friendly hello on the trails and around town these days. In my memory, which isn't totally dependable, everyone used to say hello, nod or wave to each other. Now it is very rare. I agree with the theory that in a bigger city people are inherently less friendly, and maybe that has something to do with it, but I also saw a noticeable difference during covid that has continued. People just seemed to take "isolation" to a whole new level. 

I work in central Washington on occasion, and trail users in that area are often very friendly, and will not only say hello, but will stop and have a little conversation. There is a much lower population density in that area, and it's less frequent to see other trail users out on the trail.  

I think population density is definitely a factor.

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TristanC
+2 Mike Ferrentino slimchances57

I'm temporarily living in Germany. It's rare that people say hi to each other when they're out and about here - I think it's just a cultural thing. Staring past each other is the norm.

When I visit back home in the US, I ride with my friend Eddie. Eddie is nicknamed Eddie Everywhere because no matter where you go, somebody is going to know Eddie. He says hi to every person he passes - doesn't matter if it's the first person or the hundred and first person, and it sounds like he genuinely means it every time.

I should be more like Eddie.

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cxfahrer
0

Depends where you are, in rural areas people always greet strangers, they are curios about the reaction - here in a big town (Leipzig) it is so-so. Too many people. But when I am on a trail, MTB or just for a walk, I always at least lift a finger - as do the people I meet there. A smile, some words. Always helps. There are always the occasional assholes, shouting at you or staring blank. 

I found it strange in the US (many years ago last time there) that folks start literally talking out of nowhere to me about things I did not expect. I first thought it was personal, but it didn't mean anything, just talk. And though very difficult to have some real words, changing out thoughts etc, with US Americans.

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TristanC
-1 Lynx .

It's possible it's just the area (Schweinfurt). Not exactly a big city, but most of my riding takes me out into rural areas and there are a lot of blank stares.

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g-42
+1 Andy Eunson

Grew up in Germany - small towns, there's lots of nodding and saying hi, just like everywhere; big cities, it's more anonymous like you're experiencing, just like everywhere.

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Lynx
+2 Kyle Dixon Mike Ferrentino

Mike, feel ya man, really feel ya. I speak to everyone I pass/meet on the trails, even the moto-bikers, if only to nod or say a quick Hi, but I always speak. It's strange to me that you can pas someone, look straight at them and not even give the littlest of a head nod or acknowledgment. I've shown a good few visitors around our little island and the amount of times I've been asked if I know that person because I just spoke is crazy, heck when we first moved back here at the end of the 70s, we used to speak to just about everyone we passed, driving in the car whatever, it was just common decency.

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jman
+2 Lynx . Mike Ferrentino

Yep! I feel ya Mike..The truth is that while certain people you encounter in the green room these days may appear to be from your tribe, the reality is that these are not your people. 

I think the custom probably harkens back to an age when if you were impolite to those you met out in the middle of the forest, there was always a possibility one might draw ones sword and slice your head clean off. Alas..Those  days are long gone.

Reminds me of the old Surly bikes sticker. “Just because we both ride bikes doesn’t mean we’re friends”.  Haha…

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Patriciawhitman
+2 Mike Ferrentino Curveball

Hello. Thank you for the prose. It's like a cry of the soul...

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kos
+2 Curveball E-wok

Don't see this phenomenon in the least. Glad I live where I do.

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Lowcard
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I find that many of the North Shore trail users have become the same. I say hi to everyone, and I'd guess half look away like they've witnessed a murder.

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LoamtoHome
+1 Lowcard

I think this is Vancouver in general....  probably the most unfriendly, clicky place in North America.  When I go anywhere else, it's the complete opposite.

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Lowcard
0

I would agree wholeheartedly.

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NealWood
+1 T0m Kristian Øvrum Kos

Chance of acknowledgment is inversely proportional the amount of lycra someone is wearing. That's my experience.

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Bagheera
+2 Jotegir Lynx . Kos Kristian Øvrum

My experience is the exact opposite. Roadies tend to say hi (unless I'm wearing full enduro gear), endur-bros less so (again, unless I'm wearing full enduro gear). Most XC and gravel riders say hi as well.
The silent stare is mostly people new to riding and among those mostly ebikers. Older riders and teens are more likely to say hi than guys in their twenties.

When I was fixing flats trailside, the ones who stopped to ask whether everything was ok or if I needed help were a relatively unskilled rider on a cheap bike and a gravel rider. The endur-bros rode right past (and no, they were not going faster).

Just to be clear, I love enduro. I use endur-bros for guys on flashy big bikes who think they are skilled (some of them are, much more than me) and wear "cool" gear.

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kavurider
+3 Velocipedestrian Lynx . E-wok

The Endur-bro is a scourge...I imagine they are seeing themselves as starring in their own little Remy Metailler shredit and can't stop or wave because they need to look "cool".  

I see about a 50/50 split of eBikes/Bikes on the trail now.  Most of the guys on eBikes, especially on the easier trails, are hauling ass, looked angry and never wave/say hello/smile.  Maybe they are working through their demons, I don't know. 

And no, its not just eBikes, I see mountain bikers doing the same stuff.  I've been seeing a guy lately, fully lycra-racer'd out, heart monitor and everything (with his jersey open of course) absolutely hauling...but doing it on the easiest trail in the area.  He flew past me going the other way, no nod, no acknowledgment.  I can only imagine how many hikers/other riders he is buzzing past and scaring. 

I think its this "me me me" mentality that is creeping into just about everything.  Gotta go fast for Strava.  Gotta match and look serious for the Insta.  I don't know.

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T0m
+1 Mike Ferrentino

I have neighbors living in the same block that ride the little trails in our open space and won’t acknowledge a wave, nod or hello when riding. I’ve just come to assume it’s me and my non conformist bike and attire. Or they’re assholes; my opinion varies.

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SixZeroSixOne
+1 Mike Ferrentino

This "greeting/not greeting" phenomena has existed for years, with different slants on which sub-tribe of cyclist is the worse offending.

I find it highly assuming. Living in a big city with a lot of riders in a small geographical area, I'd never get anywhere if I had to acknowledge EVERY other outdoor/active user (try doing that in Stanley Park at weekends....)

I suppose about 50% of my rides are in low usage areas or at less popular times of the day/week and I'm more likely to greet any bikers/trail runners/dog walkers/hikers in those circumstances, so anyone like Mike could be butthurt depending on where I passed him.

The other thing is, a LOT of people ride/run/hike with earphones in if solo OR are deep in conversation with the ride/run/hike buddy and, I feel, either I don't want to interrupt their conversation or they don't even notice me....

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Lynx
0 Andy Eunson Kristian Øvrum

Sorry, if you're out on the trail running, riding whatever and you make eye contact with someone and don't even give a little head nod of acknowledgement, doesn't matter what "demons" or "angst" you're going through, you're an ASSHOLE!!!

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mikeferrentino
+6 Andy Eunson GB Lynx . flgfish Curveball vunugu

When I started to write this, it wasn't intended to telegraph my level of butthurtedness (which definitely varies depending on the day, the time of day, the angle of the sun, my level of dehydration, and the wave/notwave ratio already encountered...), but the whole piece kind of got away from me. As you and many others upthread have pointed out, population density can play a large role in this, and country folk are definitely a little more willing to make eye contact with strangers than city dwellers. That said, when it comes to encounters out in the world, I have consistently found that cyclists are less responsive to others across the board, including their fellow cyclists, regardless of population density. I don't buy into the "blame it on the noobs/ebikes" argument, either.

I'm not advocating we all go out and start hugging every other cyclist we see, but as Lynx pointed out, it doesn't take much effort to nod, or lift a couple fingers. And I really want to believe that these tiny gestures could be a groundswell of goodwill and acceptance that might have upsides that we can't foresee. Like when the sneetches found themselves all broke but in that moment discovered their oneness.

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Jethro
+1 flgfish

There are only two types in the human race (irrespective of clique/activity/gender/etc.......'Good Guys' and 'Assholes' :-)

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XXX_er
+1 E-wok

A couple years ago a guy came up to me in the p-lot and asked how is it was for E-bikes ? 

To which I replied nobody cares the club vp / both the builders and all the cool kids are on them 

so there is social license and  buddy moved up  here maybe its the people where you live as oposed to what they ride ?

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aktrnsplnt
+1 Stretch

I acknowledge that a friendly hello to other travelers is an admirable practice and never a bad thing but I am here to advocate for the space to indulge your introvert nature. If that’s your nature. It certainly is mine. Since the beginning, for me, riding bikes in the woods has been as much about solitude as it has community. In those early days going to the mountains was an escape from humans, or more precisely, specific humans and it was a time and place that allowed for it. Very few other users and near endless (small w) wilderness. 35 years later I live in a major metropolitan area with a high concentration of outdoor enthusiast and while I’m no longer running away from dysfunction when I head out for a ride there are times where the din of modern life and near constant interaction, digital or otherwise, has taken its toll and I need to find solitude in an otherwise very busy place. Sometimes I want to focus solely on the near meditative act of pedaling up a hill. Or bury myself in an athletic effort. Or find a state of flow that general eludes me in my daily life. Sometimes I don’t want to say hello. Or wave, or wink, or thumbs up, or fist bump. If this makes me an asshole fair enough. We all are sometimes and that’s ok. But to make that assumption has an opportunity cost. Everyone goes  to the woods for their own reason. Some reasons can be shared, some solely our own. I try not judge others encountered on the trails(unless they are the ones randomly distributing bags of dog shit, f**k those people). They don’t owe me anything and our experience in that moment is shared regardless of greeting. 

That said I always acknowledge another’s hello with a response proportionate to how deep in the cave I’ve gone, I’m not a sociopath FFS.

-A

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Roxtar
+1 The Chez

Mike, you have noooo idea.

I live, work, and ride in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Home of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Home of the atomic bomb, large numbers of mountain bikers, and, without a doubt, the highest percentage of insanely high IQ aspergers on the planet.

Combine everything you just wrote with 50% of the population living somewhere on the spectrum.

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heyride
0

I too say hi to everyone when out riding. The current crop that seem to not acknowledge are the handlebar bag crowd.

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zachary_miller
0

I, as always, really appreciate your articles Mr. Ferrentino! This one hits home as the rapidly growing mountain community I live in has seen a post-covid influx of folks from generally bigger cities and the human-to-human acknowledgements have been on the decline. I agree with your stance on saying hello and I refuse to carry a bell on my bike for that reason - it can come off as a passive aggressive "let me pass" ring. I'd rather just engage with a stranger by saying hello and pause for a second to let them by. Also, it's not rocket science to add in a few minutes for friendliness to an expected ride time if I'm planning on riding a known popular trail area at a popular time.

It does seem like there is also a building groundswell of core folks who are pushing for more friendliness out on the trails, especially as mountain biking faces access limiting threats on trails around the world. One of those folks is this fella who I've snagged some patches and stickers from. I've given the patches to buds who do smile and say hello and have tossed the stickers up in a few spots that seem to have frequent high-speed bad interactions... maybe it'll help?

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flgfish
0

This comment has been removed.

the-chez
0

I like that you wrote about this and acknowledged the masses of Entitled White Vans™ that litter areas. I guess if you spend $120k on a roving studio apartment you're above saying hi. But I noticed the trend as sports became more socially accepted/mainstream. Skateboarding, mountain biking and snowboarding would be my basis. Back in the day you all acknowledged each other as part of something secret, something nobody you knew in your family or school were likely doing. And it was a secret society. Then....X-Games happened. And things got more accepted. Then....olympics happened. Or maybe I'm way off base and it's just society getting less cordial and more narcissistic? Either way, I will still say hi or wave or nod every time I pass somebody. I don't even get hurt anymore. I know I did my part. I even get off my bike for hikers and equestrians (and yes, I even acknowledge equestrians even though they rip apart trail). At some point should we all just wear VR goggles while we ride? That way we can have the experience we crave? I already see people riding with ear buds.

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Curveball
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Damn. I have it good here. The other mountain bikers smile and say hi, even when I'm hiking the trails. They're much more friendly than other hikers. And yes, I smile and say hi whether I'm on a bike or on foot. I returned to a trailhead from a ride in Alaska and was offered beer and charcuterie from some bikers in the lot. 

On my neighborhood trails, I'll stop and say hi and compliment the dogs of the old walkers there. I'll talk to them a bit about whatever before moving along.

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