LEGEND HAS IT, COMPLETING THIS SACRED RITE OF PASSAGE MEANS YOU’VE REACHED THE NEXT LEVEL OF CYCLING…
What do you do when you finally get to overtake another rider? What every cyclist does, of course!
IIwas about to do it. I braced myself to transform from a Noddee to a Nodder.
There are a number of cycling rites of passage that signal your transition from ‘newbie’ to ‘cyclist’ – for example, when you finally manage not to fall as you uncleat at a red robot, or the first time you catapult over the handlebars, or when your odometer clicks over from 99km and you break your 100-kay virginity.
So far, The Nod had been elusive. But at last, I was about to give another rider The Nod as I overtook him.
The Nod is a subtle movement; a small, almost unnoticeable head tweak that lands a powerful patronising punch. If you could put The Nod into words, the phrase ‘Ag, shame’ would come closest.
What The Nod does to the person who has just received it is destroy their will to live.
I had been the receiver of The Nod many times. Always the overtakee, never the overtaker. I had come to hate The Nod.
It was time someone ate my dust. It was time I became a Nodder.
And then it happened. I was on the mountain, making my way up the hill, when I saw a speck on the horizon. A few pedal strokes later, the speck became a fleck. When I looked up 897 pedal strokes later, the fleck had become a dot.
There were two possibilities: either cycling is the new carrots, and my eyesight was improving with every pedal stroke… or I was Gaining On A Cyclist.
About 10 minutes later I looked up again, and saw that the speck-fleck- dot was in fact a silhouette – this was a real
I practised The Nod. Don’t overdo it, I warned myself. Not too much. Keep it subtle.
person I was gaining on. My time had come! I practised The Nod. Don’t overdo it, I warned myself. Not too much. Keep it
subtle. A minute later, I was within striking distance of my two-wheeled prey, who I noticed had grey hair. Ahhh, I thought, a saddle-sage Silver Fox, with kilometres of cycling experience under his tyres! A few pedal strokes later, I was cycling side-by-side with my victim. He looked up; and, holding his gaze, I prepared to transition from ‘cycling zero’ to… well, not quite ‘cycling pro’ – perhaps ‘cycling zero plus 1’.
“Great day for riding,” I wheezed – although what I really meant was: Prepare to eat my dust, sucker, as you become my Noddee!
I tilted my head, poised to strike with a deadly Nod – but before I could deliver the brutal blow, the Silver Fox replied: “Yes, it’s beautiful. I’ve really missed it. It’s my first time on the bike since my hip replacement.”
Hip replacement, schmip replacement – I’ll take it.
I gave him The Nod, and rode off into the sunset.