It's Sillier By Bike

One thing I love about bike riding is the social aspect. I love riding with friends and chit-chatting as the city rolls by beneath our wheels. I really love all the chances to reach out and communicate with other riders and even drivers while on the road. I have a lot of quick little convos with drivers at stoplights. I like it. The traffic signal becomes like a ride in an elevator, a chance for a quick dose of small-talk.

Wanna chat?

With Lil' Oil on board the bike, the windshields and windows isolating drivers seems to melt away. Drivers and passengers are always straining to wave at the Little Oil, to get her to smile or at least acknowledge them. She almost always rewards their enthusiasm. We get a lot more eye contact, which helps me communicate with these folks as road users, stay safe and keep courteous. It also allows for some real social connection. And as my friend Urban Adonia is always pointing out, the street is a social space.

Obviously, other cyclists are even better, because they can match our pace and we can simply talk. Baby Oil has made many friends among the commute peloton. Sometimes these strangers will share something personal like a remembrance of their own time spent on a parent's bike. Fellow riders often root us on, ding their bells or even help us take the lane when we are climbing Pike Street in afternoon rush hour. Its very sweet.

Sometimes these random social encounters can be pretty silly. Lil' Oil likes to talk to strangers as much as I do and something about the ride really emboldens her.

She loves the Wheels on the Bus song and pretty much daily will instruct those waiting at bus stops to, "Go out and in!"

Mama Oil and I are activists and it amuses us to no end that the Lil' Oil is always calling on walkers bunched up at crosswalks to take to the streets.

"March! March! Hey-hey, Ho-ho! Cor'pate greeed has gottogo!"

Often, we'll be creeping along in downtown traffic and she'll just start calling out to pedestrians,

"Nice hat!"

"Nice 'brella!"

"Nice mustache!"

"Nice, nice... Nice people!"

The first time she can't decide what to compliment a stranger on, she'll settle on "Nice people," and from then on it's "Nice People!" for the rest of the ride.

Nice people.