Dear Dumb Runner,
Is it normal to want to clothesline cyclists who either a) refuse to announce their presence coming from behind while trying to win the Internets on a Strava segment or b) come at me and refuse to budge an inch from the middle of the road thinking they are on Stage 11 of the Tour de France?—Raymond, Fort Worth, Texas
Clotheslining is a bit harsh, but yeah, we feel your pain. Cyclists and runners share a peculiar space in the landscape of outdoor fitness enthusiasts—too often, there exists a certain tension between the two groups. Even when there's plenty of room for both runner and cyclist (and usually there is), each can see the other as a self-important, space-taking-up nuisance.
This has always struck us as odd, for a few reasons:
- In many ways, the cyclist and the runner are in the same corner. We're both doing something we love; we both value fitness and good health; we both just want to log our miles and make it home in one piece; we're both vulnerable, to some extent or another, to cars and other threats. Motorists sure seem to despise both groups equally. ("GET OFF THE ROAD!") In this sense, runners and cyclists should be natural allies. Not foes.
- There's a decent amount of overlap—i.e., many runners are also cyclists, and vice versa. You'd think this alone would engender a certain amount of patience, respect, and empathy.
- Endurance exercise releases endorphins, doesn't it? Aren't endorphins supposed to make us feel good? And if we're feeling good, shouldn't that translate to, you know, not acting like jerks?
So why can't we all just get along? We don't know, and we won't pretend to.
All we can suggest is practicing a little compassion. Make room for others, whether runners, cyclists, walkers, or whoever. Smile. Wave. And if they respond by being jerks, you can always clothesline 'em... in your imagination.