I don't know about you, but often I pull aside someone and have a chat when out and about. Whether novice or experienced, a quick 'How long are you out for?' or 'How far you going today?' sparks up a conversation.
Riding yesterday and pulling alongside a cyclist I commented that it was "good to see so many new cyclists on the road". Replying the cyclist in question replied 'How do you know I'm a new road cyclist?' to which I replied 'You're helmet is on the wrong way round?'. It was a tell tale giveaway!
Looking back to when I first started, I made every faux pas there was to make. You could spot me a mile off as someone new to the pastime, probably you still can! Anyhow, it got me thinking as to the clues to look for, apart from a helmet the wrong way around!
Tell Tale Clues
- Reflectors still on the wheels.
- Bike doesn't have a saddle bag.
- Wearing trainers and using toe clips.
- Wearing shorts without pads.
- Wearing sports socks.
- Pushing hard gears unnecessarily.
- Wearing huge amounts of luminous gear.
- Riding with a rucksack or back mounted hydration bag.
- Being overdressed on a hot day (often in wet weather gear).
- Riding a B Twin or Halfords Carrera bike.
- And the list goes on.....
The point of the post is not to ridicule but to look for the signs and always ensure you've got an encouraging word as you go past. Remembering how tough it was when first starting out on a bike, everyone rides past you as you are going slower, many people don't stop and say hello, often you want little bits of advice of have questions to ask and a friendly conversation can pave the way to ask - what might seem an obvious question.
As more and more riders hit the road, I'm sure you encounter many new cyclists on the weekend run. Some may well have their helmets on the wrong way (it's not the first time I've seen it), be walking home as they can't fix a flat (as happened today) or be going up a climb really slowly (in the wrong gear).
If you are a more experienced cyclist, look for the obvious clues, invest a few minutes of your time in a short conversation (if you have it) and see what a difference you can make to someone starting out.