Cycling: the sport of Angry Loners?

I have recently taken up cycling as a hobby / exercise program, and I’m enjoying it greatly.  I told friends that "I needed a hobby that doesn’t involve sitting on my backside" until it was pointed out that’s the position for cycling.  Now I just say I need a hobby out of my Comfy Chair.  I digress.

So, for the past 5 weeks I’ve been riding 3-6 times a week, in nice short local rides (longest so far is 23 miles, so Lance I’m not), and have noticed something odd: less than half the riders I meet even provide a courtesy acknowledgment while passing (and this is Texas, where waving while driving still lives (but be careful which finger)). 

Other riders seem friendly, and perhaps I’m reading something into it I shouldn’t, but these folks either aren’t having any fun or are just loners.  Time will tell, but I wonder what other rider’s experiences have been?

Update: if so, perhaps I picked the right sport for me!


  1. Felix Kasza says:

    Dear Gruntdoc,

    you are perhaps like me in that you refuse to wear tights in screaming neon-colours. If so, you are now able to separate the bike snobs from the human beings.


  2. My tights are decidedly non-neon.

  3. Goat Whacker says:

    I also ride a bike for exercise and highly recommend it. I’m in the Midwest, and EVERYBODY acknowledges fellow riders. I always nod or wave at oncoming riders and can only think of one or two times it wasn’t returned.

  4. Aerospace Genius says:

    Perhaps cycling is your unfriendly fellow cyclists’ primary means of transport rather than an enjoyable hobby. Or perhaps they are “in the zone”, concentrating on the moment to the exclusion of all else. Or it could be the “walk and chew gum simultaneously” issue at work. Or perhaps they view anyone without a serious athlete’s muscle to body fat ratio to be beneath them. Or perhaps you are too friendly. Nah, that can’t be it.

  5. Everyone acknowledges each other here in Charleston. At least so that I’ve noticed so far…

  6. I took up cycling six years ago after my feet told me I was too old to jog anymore. I find cyclists to be uniformly friendly, particularly if you can find a cycling group that matches or slightly exceeds your ability. You will get better and better — to the point that 100 mile rides will become attractive. While I know that exercise does not prevent heart disease in those with bad genes, it sure has done great things for me. So keep riding. One day our paths will cross and I will wave.


  7. I would gladly smile and wave at bicyclists, but they are all passing me up — all I see are their backs. If I waved at the guys coming at me, I’d fall off my bike. I need a little more practice.