If A Runner Passes A Cyclist When There’s No One Else Around, Should They Make A Sound?

I’ve noticed something while running in my neighborhood, and while I can’t say it will happen forever, there’s been enough of a pattern to make me think, “Huh. Weird.”

I run early. I’m usually out the door by 6AM. At that hour, unlike in the city, there are very few cars. I have more digits than I see cars. It’s very quiet. I love it. It’s before all the grumpy commuters come out with their grumpy faces and grump up the road. It’s a ghost town. But I do see quite a few people out running and cycling.

Every time I pass a runner–and I mean every single time–we exchange pleasantries. It’s like a nonverbal: “Hey! You’re out here too! Isn’t it awesome being up with the sun? Don’t you feel good about yourself? Well done, my friend!” (Well, this is what goes through my head. Maybe I’m a little too chipper in the morning.) The point is, it’s always pleasant and we always recognize one another’s existence. Not doing so, given the early hour and the emptiness of the roads, would seem so weird.

I also pass cyclists. These aren’t commuters, they’re avid–dressed to the nines in racing gear–cyclists.

(Now, here is where I do something stupid and write something I’ll likely regret. But who cares? I’m gonna blog like it’s 2001 before I considered every possible backlash or interpretation.)

None of the cyclists will even look at me to nod hello. I always want to! But nope. It’s as if we, the only two humans on the street, simply don’t exist.

So: why? Is this normal? Why is it joggers exchange pleasantries, at the very least they toss out a smile, but cyclists won’t even make eye contact? Do cyclists nod to other cyclists at least? Certainly they must. Because pretending no one is there seems very odd.

I used to feel this way about hiking as well. I once dated a guy who was always looking for the most secluded spaces to hike. And we found many! But on occasion we would see others out there also seeking seclusion. And I always said hello. Because, while yes, we were out there to avoid other people, other people were around. Saying hello seemed like the right thing to do.

It’s curious to me. I mean, not enough to lose sleep; I’m not angry. I’m more left wondering, which is what I do while I’m running; my mind meanders as much as my feet. Part of me wants to yell out, “Top of the morning to you!” at the next oncoming cyclist who pretends I’m not there.

Or maybe I just keep running by the same cyclist, we are in an opposing loop and he’s LIGHTNING FAST and just really grumpy.


  1. I run. On my cross-training days I bicycle. For the record, I ALWAYS say hi to runners I pass while on my bike! At the minimum, I nod and smile. But I live in the midwest. We’ll talk to anyone! :)


  2. I tested your theory last night while out for a run. I found there are two types of bikers, “out for a bike ride” people and “Tour de France” people. The bike ride folks say hi and wave. The Tour de France folks couldn’t be bothered to even make eye contact.

    Even in Minnesota, land of Minnesota-Nice, the cyclists won’t say hi. :)


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