Tuesday, February 15, 2011

“Friendlies” can be found everywhere

I was at Cougar Mountain doing a few climbs this morning trying to beat the rain. I had taken 152nd off of Newport Way up through Horizon view to the top of the Summit neighborhood. Oftentimes I will pause here to take in one of the most majestic views of Mt. Rainier available short of being at Sunrise.

I had given a little wave to a woman walking her dog just before stopping at the very top. After adjusting my clothing layers, I decided to take a photo of the fast disappearing base of Mt. Rainier. Just as I had put my phone away, the woman called out from the opposite side of the street, inquiring unsolicited as to whether everything was OK. I told her that I was fine, and had stopped to take a photo of what she then called the “Wammer” view. She called out; “Have a great ride!” as she headed up the steps of her multi-million (even in the current market) dollar home. As I rolled downhill toward Forest Drive, Mt. Rainier had pretty much vanished into the rain clouds, but I still had the great view of Newcastle Golf club.

By the time I made my second trip up through Horizon View to the Summit, Rainier was totally gone and I was now in the rain cloud as well. Once again I stopped, this time to take a photo of the house where the “friendly” dwelled. Just as I pointed my phone towards the house, the woman happened to be walking by a front window. I saw her stop and then wave to me through the window!

As I rolled away I noticed the vehicles parked in the driveway. There was a huge black pickup and a tiny little Smart car parked at opposite ends of the drive, almost as if they were avoiding each other.

This time as I headed down I had a different thought in my head. As cyclists, it’s always safest to assume the worst about people and assume that the worst possible thing could occur at any time. This attitude does go a long way towards keeping you on your toes and out of harm’s way. I must admit that for me, my assumptions factor in the type of four wheel vehicle that may be nearby.

Were I to be out on the road and see a great big pickup about to make a left turn in front of me, I would very likely subconsciously react differently than if a Smart Car were in the same spot. Today I was reminded that generalizations don’t always hold true. In the case of the pickup and the Smart Car, I might be making poor judgments about the drivers of what I consider two diametrically opposed vehicles. The very cyclist friendly woman could be driving either one.

I’ll still be as vigilant as ever regardless of what kind of car or truck is around, but you never know where the “friendlies” might actually be. Isn't it great that riding a bike can put a smile on your face even when you are not on the bike, or when you are riding in the rain?

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