Cycling and sociability.
When we talk about cycling being a sociable activity, we are usually referring to the camaraderie shared on the road with a bunch of other like-minded roadies, and the banter and teasing that goes on at the coffee stops. But what if you are a lone cyclist? By that I don’t mean the hapless ‘billy-no-mates’, the guy whom no-one will cycle with, but just someone who chooses to be on their own, for whatever reason.
When I am on one of my long trekking rides in a far-distant land, I find riding on my own is a much more ‘sociable’ experience. But what do I mean by that? Simple really….if you cycle with a partner or a group, you are much more likely to spend your time almost exclusively with them. It is, after all, the dynamics of that kind of setting. However, if you are on your own, you find yourself engaging much more with the local people in passing, and they are much more likely to want to engage with you, to the extent that they may offer you a meal or even a bed for the night. This has happened to me countless times.
More locally, in your own home environment, riding a bike through nearby towns and villages, you feel much less intrusive if you decide to call on a friend without announcing your arrival. It is so easy to roll up to a friend’s house, spend 15-20 minutes with them, sometimes sharing a coffee, and catching up with the latest news. To do that when you are passing in a car is quite different, both for you and the friend. Stopping for a casual unannounced visit feels much more intrusive in those circumstances…….and people seldom do it. As a result, there are some 12-15 friends who live away from my village that I see more often, albeit for short snatches, by riding the bike. And when a friend complains that they haven’t seen me for a while, then I know that my occasional visit is appreciated.