Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Fellowship of the Road 

"I was just admiring your levers."

Brake levers. On my bike. He'd overtaken me a couple of hundred yards back, grunting a "Hello" or some such as he went past, but I'd pulled up beside him at the next traffic lights.

"They're only the cheapest Shimano ones."

"Look the biz though."

Admittedly the handlebars on my bike are a little unusual and getting levers to fit wasn't easy; his bars were the same type as mine, and the levers looked... well... a bit basic.

"I had to file down the housing to give enough clearance."

It's not at all unusual to exchange a few words with fellow-cyclists; there are one or two I see fairly regularly. Even though it's an odd sort of relationship - one that exists just for a few moments on a handful of days a year - there's almost a bond that forms out of the knowledge of shared experience. It doesn't matter that the words are only about everyday cycling trivia - it's enough that two people have bothered to create a link.

I love the idea that it's okay to stop and chat to a complete stranger; a bit like exchanging comments on a blog. Except that of course they're never complete strangers - the very fact that they're on a bike means that there's at least one thing we know that have in common - and in London, like as not that includes the battle against the common foe of London traffic.

It's just a pity that we don't have the same spirit of camaraderie with every stranger that we meet, especially since we all share so many common experiences, including those battles of life.

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