I find myself getting judgmental when I ride my cool vintage cruiser to work, and a spandex-wearing, safety-helmeted, racer-bike guy whizzes past me. Then I feel guilty for being judgmental. Then I figure he’s judging me anyway, so I may as well judge how uptight he seems with this snug clothing and sweaty pace. Why doesn’t he slow down and enjoy the ride? He should slow down and check out the beautiful old houses in the neighborhood Hell, smell the flowers!
I also catch myself getting pretty uptight when one of those cliche’d hipster fixed-gear riders goes by. Really? Skinny jeans and pithy t-shirt because you’re trying to be as cool as Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in “Premium Rush” with his brakeless, gearless fixie?
As I ride along (slower than the rest, enjoying the sites and trying to stay upright), I feel guilty for being so damn judgmental of other bikers. In fact, I realize I’m doing it because I’m assuming I’M the one being judged. Now we know what it means to assume; it makes an ass out of u-m-e. I often find myself thinking the safety-conscious race/health fanatics are judging me on my upright, laid-back helmet-free ride. They probably think that I THINK I’m getting a workout when in fact, I’m not really doing anything but enjoying a faster pace than walking while sitting on my butt (on a super comfy, wide cushioned seat no less).
When I stop myself from continuing this line of negative judgmental asumption (which is nothing more than a habit anyway), I find myself realizing that we’re all doing just fine. Whether I’m riding for pleasure or planet-saving, or whether I’m riding for fitness and racing success, I’m still riding my bike and doing an overall good (or at least better than sitting on my butt in front of the television. Wait. There I going being judgmental again).
It’s much like life. No matter how we decide to do it, we’re all just trying to survive. We would all do better to remember that when passing each other on the street, spandex or not.