By Joel Zanatta
The Cycling Lawyer

The NHL playoffs have reminded me that when you are playing hockey and someone hits you hard you “take a number”.  The next time that you are on the ice you look for that number in order to return the favour.  Strangely enough, the concept seems to have a fair bit of relevance in cycling.

Since coming back from knee surgery I am slow.  My left leg is about half the size of my right leg and I do not seem to be able to put equal power through my pedal strokes.  Inefficiency on a bike manifests itself in much lower speeds and a whole lot more fatigue.  Cycling is about balance, fluidity and precision.

I am back riding my usual routes, but for the first time in a long time numerous other cyclists are flying past me.

When you are getting passed as frequently as I am you have a wonderful opportunity to observe the many different greetings that are offered by fellow cyclists.

Some pass with a word of encouragement, some pass with a kindly nod, yet others accelerate past without so much as a look.  Their disdain for a cyclist of my calibre is obvious.

I feel nothing but goodwill for the first two types of cyclists.  The ones who are having a great day in the saddle, who are riding with confidence and grace, and who recognize someone slower who is also enjoying their sport, albeit at a slightly lower level.  These people are a credit to the sport and truly make it welcoming for all.

But that third category, the ones who think that they are training for the tour and do not want to waste an ounce of energy acknowledging a member of the cycling community, I make sure to “take their number”. Because when I am back to form I will remember their jersey and I will take special care to turn them inside out on a climb.  And when I am passing them I will be sure to smile and greet them warmly as I pass them.  Just to let them know how it is done.

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