I’m coming to the conclusion that interesting encounters happen more often while you are out “just riding around”. That’s “just riding around”, as opposed to an intentional training ride — the dreaded 2×20 minute intervals, hill repeats, sprints, etc. For example …
Not long ago while just riding around I found myself helping an owner chase her dog that had gotten loose. The dog was faster than she was, but not faster than me (on the bike). I wasn’t able to actually catch him, but was at least able to keep up with him while she went to get her car and someone else to help.
The other day I found myself riding for a short while with a guy from France. I didn’t get the full story on how he ended up riding out in Geauga county, but apparently he lives out this way so I expect I’ll run into him again.
Today I was flagged down by a group of kids — who all looked to be under the age of 8 — selling tomatoes, gourds, corn, and peppers at the end of their driveway. This is why you should always carry money while riding. Kids not only love snagging a customer, but especially snagging one who’s on a bike (this applies to lemonade stands, too). One warning though: tomatoes don’t travel well in a jersey pocket.
Also today, just a few miles from home, I passed a young guy obviously out on his training run, straining to push an SUV up a slight grade. The driver had the door open and was also trying to push while steering. They were not going anywhere. I swung around to help. The guy said, “if we can get it over the hill I think I can coast the rest of the way”. (where that would be wasn’t entirely clear). So I left my bike in the grass, and while wearing my cycling shoes helped push the SUV the 500 meters to the crest of the grade. At which point it really took off and the driver scrambled to jump into the moving SUV. I went back to get my bike. The other guy took off on his training run. Definitely a first.
Probably not simply coincidence that these things happen while just riding around. If I’m not concerned with a specific training goal, I’m more willing to not only notice what’s going on … but also more willing to do something like help push a broken-down SUV. (BTW … I was SO tempted to tell the guy he wouldn’t have that problem if he were on a bike).