A family of four on Segway personal transportation vehicles provided a moment of shared mirth between a runner and a cyclist today on a local waterfront path.
The four—who appeared to be a middle-aged couple and their two teenage children—stood astride the two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters as they listened to instructions from a fifth Segway operator, presumably a guide or tour leader. They wore matching fluourescent vests and black helmets.
Local runner Paul Cezanne, 26, was midway through an afternoon run when he spotted the group.
"Oh, man," he recalled thinking. "Get a load of this."
Paul Klee, a 44-year-old cyclist, had a similar reaction. He was biking along the same path, approaching from the opposite direction, when he saw the group around the same time.
"Look at these dinguses," he said he thought. "Wow."
As the two men passed each other, just a few yards away from the Segway family, they made eye contact.
"We both sort of grinned," Klee said.
"We shared a moment," said Cezanne, "for sure."
Such moments are rare. While cyclists and runners may appear to have much in common, experts say, the relationship between the two groups can be frosty.
"At best, runners and bikers tolerate each other," said Edward Hopper, director of the Institute for Socio-Aerobic Studies. "Moments such as this one provide a welcome break from that tension, as the subjects find common ground—namely, mocking a group of strangers who look like doofuses."
The moment was fleeting. Within a few seconds, Cezanne and Klee had left each other behind as they went their separate ways.
Shortly afterward, the Segway group shared a moment of their own when the boy, the tallest and most ungainly of the group, accidentally made his scooter lurch and nearly fell, prompting laughter from his parents and sister.
Sadly, Cezanne and Klee were both out of sight by then.