|Passing cyclists usually acknowledge each other don’t they?|
I’ve always enjoyed the fact that in England passing cyclists usually acknowledge each other. Often with a cheery hello but at least with a nod or a grunt so it came as a bit of surprise to be pretty much totally ignored riding up the Rhine in Germany.
Now while it’s hard to interpret cultural codes the practices are quickly apparent. Here the rules are:
- look straight ahead
- ride past as if no-one’s there
- avoid eye contact
- say nothing.
It’s interesting how quickly we took this on board; no-one told us to stop saying hello but as is the way with culture, we quickly conformed to the norm.
Now while I’m sure it’s not the intent, the lack of encounter does make riding a little boring, removing the simple joy of human contact that comes from a passing smile, nod, wave or hello. So I decided upon a small counter-cultural experiment, to say “Allo” to every passing cyclist.
|Why wouldn’t you say ‘Allo’?|
It takes a bit of oomph to break with norms but the results can be interesting. At first I though it made no difference at all; the reaction I got remained mostly the silent same. But then Kirstie and Matthew caught me up.
“What did you say to that pack of cyclists?” asked Kirstie.
“Just ‘Allo'” I explained.
“Weird. Because everyone of them said ‘Allo’ to me. And that just doesn’t happen here.”
I wonder where else in life the ripples we send out turn up somewhere else?
|Ripples may spread behind you and you’ll never know|