A Nice Bike and Compliments

I pulled up next to him. A man on an old bicycle, a man in all plaid.

“Nice ride, dude,” I said.

It was a nice bike, maybe from the seventies. A comfortable, but speedy upright riding position, sweeping handlebars, maybe three speeds and a trusty steel frame.

“Thanks man, it gets me around,” he replied.

And then, in the brief moment that followed, I saw him engage in that human tendency where once complimented, you feel an overwhelming desire to comment back. He gave me a cursory glance looking across me and my bike. But there was really nothing there. Just me, after work clothes, a cheap helmet, sunglasses and a nice – but not too nice – bike with homemade milk bottle fenders.

“I like your panniers,” he said.