Bikers (as in motorcyclists) acknowledge each other in passing. You see the subtle wave between the oncoming biker and the one you are following in your car. There is a connection between those who are out on the road, feeling that engine roar or purr (depending on the bike) beneath them.
Cyclist (as in bicyclists) also share a camaraderie. Pedaling my way between Stanfield and Hermiston on 395 I was stunned by the sudden presence very very close to me. “On your left” I heard the deep voice say. I knew exactly what to expect and that he expected me to hold my line so he could safely pass. The someone passing me was a tall lanky cyclist. He looked back and said “hope you are having a great ride” as he distanced me. Coming down the hill by the water tower (yes the one responsible for many letters to the editor. You know… the trade mark watermelon replaced by “Watch Hermiston Grow”) I saw another riding pedaling up. My speed was picking up and I hardly ever remove my hands from the handle bars. The rider looked up and acknowledged me with a nod and a wave. I manged to return these friendly gestures. There is an understanding between riders. And we acknowledge that with these greetings
When Anne and I first started riding together, I was very slow. I am slow now so you can imagine what it must have been like for Anne to ride with me then We planned to meet at the Mormon church (in contrast to my meet up spot with Nancy, the Last Chance Tavern). I watched for Anne and when I spotted her, I spotted another rider with her. Anne must have acknowledged the rider coming in as she was headed out. The rider turned around to join her. The very fit 60 something gentleman saw two women who looked like they were “riders” and decided to take another spin. We can really look the part wearing our bike shorts and jerseys, don’t ya know! We slowly pedaled out to Space Age and gentleman rider (GR) left us in his dust. We stopped to use the bathroom and hydrate. After our defueling and fueling break, GR pulled up. “Where have you ladies been?” Um, well we had gotten there in our own time, that was for sure. We crossed the highway and rode out Echo Meadows . GR started commenting on Anne’s bike and giving riding advice. His manner was not too appealing to Anne (she lets her thoughts be known) and before too long he was at my shoulder offering cycling tips. Not wanting to lose my balance, I ever so slightly turned my head to him and said “Look, its enough for me to stay upright on these skinny tires. I don’t need your help right now!!”. I don’t make a habit of being rude to other cyclists, or really to anyone. It must have become obvious that neither Anne nor I were interested in improving our riding under GR’s tutelage that fine day. Another rider turned onto the road heading our direction. GR acknowledged him, and was acknowledged back. “See you girls, I am going to ride back to town”. Off he went. Harmless. GR gave us alot to talk about in rides to come.
About 10 years ago I offered to help a young deacon with some accent reduction so he might be better understood by the congregation. Last fall he returned to our church as a priest. After the long passage of time and the thousands of people he must have met in numerous churches he served in, he remembered my name! WOW I was impressed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out my business card. He said “I called you but they didn’t know you there”. (How quickly one can be forgotten by some but remembers by others) I saw him again on ASH Wednesday, the first day of Lent, You know…the reason behind Mardi Gras? I went to a midday service to receive the ashes, the symbol reminding us to repent and be saved…that we came from the d
A wink, a wave, a nod, a smile, catching an eye across the room… in that split second of acknowledgement we understand each other. In this world on misunderstanding its a good place to be. Pray for more understanding. Pray for more connections in this unconnected world.