Last night’s commute home opened my eyes to a strange phenomenon of living CarFree, Human contact. I’ve discussed the openness of being on your bike and how you really get to interact with the environment that you must travel through. For the first time, I realized this holds true for human interaction.
I managed to have 3 really pleasant one-on-one conversations with perfect strangers in the course of my ride. Maybe my life has been dominated by academic and work conversations lately. In fact, I know that’s true so I may have lost touch with the beauty of random interactions without agenda, deadlines or stress and my ability to just enjoy people.
There are any number of factors that influenced these conversations happening but I honestly believe that the #1 reason is the bike. It is a conversation magnet. Good comments, bad comments, inquiries all spark conversation. Last night was a lot of “nice night for a ride, huh?” or “were you out in that storm?”. The bike serves as a really nice focal point that relieves the tension of striking up a conversation in an elevator or hallway where the pleasantries end at “How you doing?”.
But I think the biggest bike related factor that sparks conversation is the lack of intimidation. It is impossible for anyone to be intimidated by someone in a goofy helmet who is covered in flashing lights. I walked past a mirror when I got in last night, still giddy from the nice conversations I had, and immediately realized the 3 things I (as bike commuter) am not- Sexy, Cool or Intimidating!
It was a hard true to face but I couldn’t deny it as I stood there staring at myself all geared up and blinking. But if looking this way means I get to have nice little conversations with people everyday, then it’s well worth it! Well worth it!