You’re riding along and wave to a passing cyclist as is the custom.
And they ignore you.
Snubbing is a fact of cycling. Do you ever wonder, like me, how these rebuffers interact with the rest of the road? Do they spurn stop signs? Run red lights? Or maybe they just think they’re God’s gift to the bike? I couldn’t find any studies on the subject so I’ve gotten the wheels rolling with some highly technical classifications based on 20 years of field observation and some research on the Google.
Here are the five Snub Species:
The Big Deal—Easily spotted in colorful team kit, this agro amateur racer has usually just upgraded to Category III. The Big Deal lives for training, racing and talking about training and racing. He also won’t deign to acknowledge you on the road. Occasionally, even teammates get snubbed. The Big Deal’s cycling dreams and cycling ego are dashed after a few seasons racing sandbaggers.
The Warrior—Nothing wrong with being a weekend rider unless you’re oblivious to your surroundings. The Warrior is typically ill-attired—shorts and jersey when it’s 40 degrees, tights and jacket when it’s 75. And some force of the universe holds the Warrior back from acknowledging you. He doesn’t realize cycling can be social even between passing strangers. The Warrior needs a mentor.
Smuggie—One of the most experienced cyclists on the road, Smuggie knows better. But Smuggie thinks too highly of himself (or herself) to acknowledge a fellow cyclist. Smuggie’s bike is expensive; his kit is understated (unless he’s a master’s racer) but of the highest quality. And don’t expect idle chitchat or even a return “hello” at a red light, let alone a passing wave. Smuggie is beyond all that. And that’s just too bad.
The Goggler—As common as the prairie dog, The Goggler flashes a penetrating Secret Service glare when you wave—no nod, no smile, no indication of life beneath the shades. The eerie ogle of The Goggler gives you an uncomfortable feeling like he’s gawking at a large hole in your shorts. Try making a goofy face at The Goggler. If he continues his gaze, he’s legit. If he turns away quickly, he’s an evolving Warrior and just needs some guidance.
The Situation—It’s all about The Situation—the coldest, loneliest, windiest, snowiest, nastiest ride imaginable—and a big fat snub. As you pass The Situation you’re so excited to see another human on this harshest of rides, you add a “Hey man!” to your wave. The Situation keeps on going. You can only shake your head, ridding yourself of the stinging offense.