It’s not long into a ride before my friend is fed up with my cheery sing-song Moiens
“Moien!” , “tsk”, “Moien!”, “oh no”, “Moien!”, “Please stop!”, “Moiiii – eennn!”, “For goodness sake – SHUT UP”
I say “hello” to everyone. To dog walkers, to builders, walkers, workmen, kids out in a crocodile, their teachers; even to (gasp) car drivers. But above all and especially to cyclists. All cyclists. Of all types. It seems very strange to me but apparently there are quite a few who don’t like to acknowledge other “tribes” of the self-propulsion fraternity.
I say hello to full-kit fliers, to old men with a bucket attached to their bikes. I salute those on folding bikes, on VTTs, on tandems, on recumbents, handcycles and tricycles. Fully loaded tourers usually respond, people riding with young kids always do. But why doesn’t everyone? I’ve seen the studied aloofness when roadie meets mountain-biker with my own eyes. I assume it is because of the shape of my bike that those on mountain bikes are the category who ignore me the most.
Yet aren’t we all turning the pedals? Don’t roadies ever go to the shops on a bike? Don’t tourers ever mix it in the dirt when at home? We, surely, are a community; one big tribe. We have differing needs in detail, but overall surely a common interest. I long for the days that here in Luxembourg, like certain other European countries, being a “cyclist” is no more an identity than being a “motorist”. When everyone rides, then we can indulge our tribal instincts. Until that time we should form a united front.
None of us can help ourselves but reflect on the words of Elizabeth West, “When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments”. We pedal, we move. We travel, we breathe. We have fun; we have reached our destination; we have increased our life expectancy. If we have a safe place to ride. This is our fight, surely, not with each other?
So come on – next time you see someone, anyone, turning the pedals wave, smile or greet them – and if you hear that irritating sing-song “Moi-en” in return – then you’ll know it’s me.