Dear fellow cyclist: When you recommended to me that I “drink some water,” I thought you were making friendly conversation so that we might commiserate about the heat. It was 97 degrees out, and here we are, two folks trudging up a hill on our bikes! I was naturally disappointed when, after I responded with a friendly and chipper “I sure will!” as I passed, you then said (far less nicely) “at least shift down to an easier gear!”
Why? Was my breathy panting too distracting for you? Did it occur to you that I enjoy that extra burn climbing up that hill? Or that it’s really none of your business how I conquer a hill on my bike commute home after a long day at work? I hate to think this had anything to do with me being a woman, and you being a man. Although, you certainly didn’t seem to think the other men passing you needed any cycling lessons. Had I known you were really only looking for an opportunity to be a condescending jerk, I would never have responded. I guess I’m just used to cyclists in this town being supportive, friendly, and decent. Plus, I was passing you on my 1980s Schwinn, so clearly I didn’t need any help. Actions really do speak louder than words. I just have quads of steel, baby!