All last winter—and much of the past 18 months or so—I’ve traded morning waves with three guys who ride together along my route to work. Sometimes it was only one of them. Sometimes two. But often, all three. It was always fun to see their headlamps coming toward me in the winter darkness and to have a second or two of friendly interaction with some other riders.
This past summer, I finally had a chance to say hello when I found two of them changing a flat near the Fred Meyer store on Dimond Boulevard. I crossed the street and introduced myself and asked where they ride each day. They were friendly guys and said they had always wondered what my story was, and what had happened to me on the days when they didn’t see me. The same things I wondered about them.
That’s one of the cool things about bike commuting. Strangers riding in the opposite direction on a regular basis become a fixture in your day. When they’re not there, you wonder if they’re OK, especially if the absence lasts awhile. Did the friendly woman’s bike break down? Is the old man sick? Did the young guy change jobs or move away?
Now my three friendly guys are missing. I haven’t seen them in weeks. Not even their tracks in the snow. Did their morning routine of meeting for the commute fall apart? Have they changed their route? I have no idea.
But I miss seeing those headlamps coming through the darkness.