Phil, and just one of his many steel bikes. This one a gorgeous, Nishiki.
Probably the single, greatest component of cycling lost on many riders are the actual people involved in our beloved activity. We, as a collective, seem to be obsessed with getting up at God-awful hours of the morning to pedal our little hearts out, looking the part, all the while getting lost in a haze of carbon fiber, heart monitors, and cadence numbers. What we fail to notice, unfortunately, are the people. You know, those other creature on the planet astride a bicycle which are not us.
Thus, whilst I was recently on a ride in the foothills of Claremont, California, I met one of those other people. A rider was stopped at the side of the road, and I pulled over to see if they needed any assistance. Happily refusing, and telling me all was well, we struck up a conversation. Turns out he not only rides, but makes a living at, and has an actual passion for bicycles. Plus get this: He likes people, too! Phil is the owner of Big Kahuna Bicycles. Buy, sell, restore, or customize, steel has never been more real in his world, and, after conversing with him for a bit at roadside, it would be hard to fault his philosophy on bikes and life. It was as if we had known each other for the better part of our lives.
After parting company, I replayed the chance meeting in my mind for what it was: A pleasant experience with another human being who was not only interested in bicycles, but also the people that rode them. How refreshing it was from the usual snarl's, frown's and stares from the kit-cladded, road-set.
So, the next time you are out cycling, instead of being the proverbial spandex asshole focused on humiliating people up that next hill, take the time to wave, offer assistance, or, dare I mention it, even say "Hi" to fellow riders.
Remember, at its core, cycling IS people.