Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Social (Commuting) Network

One evening a few weeks ago I was caught (doesn't happen often!) by a couple of guys I know heading home - they also live in Chelmsford and commute on similar routes to me, so we quite often bump into each other. We got chatting and conversation got onto how social commuting by bike is; it's something that you'd initially expect to be quite a lonely thing, but if you commute regularly you'll know what I mean when I say that it's way more social than for example driving or taking the tube (which is famously unsocial and I thankfully don't have to do too often).

On a bike you are very seldom ever held up by traffic so you know exactly how long a commute will take, within a couple of minutes. You're in a good routine and leave the house at about the same time each day. As are most other bike commuters. You'll quite often see people (or bikes) you recognise at particular points or stretches of road. Chances are you'll at least nod to acknowledge each other. This simply doesn't happen if you drive.

There's a girl I refer to as the Kona Chick who I often see going the other way to my in the mornings. She always nods and is invariably riding a Kona bike - she must have a few coz i've seen her on 3 different ones.

On the same stretch of road there is a chap who I reckon is a school teacher, not sure why I think that but over the years this is the most common conclusion I've come to. He's tall and has a massive bushy beard and trousers that are way too short. He's worn the same red cycle jacket since I've been going that way, year-round (either that or he has a few of them!). The stand-out thing about this guy though is that he has never ever acknowledged me, even if I shout across to him, "Morning!"... most unsociable!

You'll meet other people too; at the moment, there are some roadworks going on in Stock, one of the little Essex villages I often go through on my commute. There is a bloke who's job it is to operate the temporary traffic lights at these road works. He's there in the mornings when I ride through and he's still there in the evenings so we have a brief chat when passing.
On my commute I've met a bunch of guys who over the years have become good mates. We often meet up on Fiday afternoons to ride home on an off-road route a couple of them have developed over time, ending up at an award winning little pub in Writtle. Now that the weather is picking up again we'll be doing this more regularly - can't wait! Should be a good opportunity to test out the ADL when it's built up!

No comments:

Post a Comment