My husband and I recently returned from a week-long 450 mile bike tour in Southeast Idaho. We joined about 300 other people on the tour organized by Bicycle Rides Northwest. This was our fourth excursion with the company and, as always, we had a lot of fun.
Bicycle touring is a wonderful way to see an area. We were able to ride on many quiet back roads and experience this beautiful country of ours.
What I love about this organization are the people, both the staff and the riders. They are some of the nicest, most courteous people you will meet. Their behavior was a great reminder of how enjoyable it is to interact with gracious people.
Here are four courteous acts we experienced on the trip that you can apply to any situation.
Ask your dining companions if they need anything
After many miles of riding, the hearty meals and snacks as well as the chance to sit down (without pedaling), was always appreciated. Once seated it was so nice when your dining mates would ask if they could get you anything when they had to get up. We were tired and not having to make the sometimes long trek to the food or beverage area from the dining area for dessert or a forgotten fork was so appreciated.
Even if you haven’t ridden 70 miles, it’s courteous to ask your dining companions if you can get them anything when you have to get up.
Hold the door for others
Because we were camping, there weren’t many doors we had to go through with the exception of the porta potty doors. Often at the rest stops there was a line of people waiting to use the blue rooms, as we called them. It was always nice when the person leaving the commode held the door for the next person rather than slamming it in your face.
Holding the door for people behind you is polite no matter where you are or what gender you are. This is not something that only men should do for women. It’s an equal opportunity courteous gesture. And, don’t forget to say thank you when someone does hold the door open for you.
Greet people warmly
The people who work for this tour company are always warm and friendly. Whether it was the folks loading our luggage on the luggage trucks, the catering staff or the shower truck operators, everyone made a point of saying hello with a smile. And, I have to admit, after long days of riding I would sometimes forget my manners and not acknowledge a staff person I was passing, but he or she would still say hello. It made a lasting impression and encouraged me to do the same next time I passed folks. Courteousness begets courteousness.
Whether you’re passing coworkers in the hall or walking by neighbors, make a point of greeting the people you see. It’s such an easy but impactful gesture.
Because this tour organization has such a great reputation, there are many regular participants who come back year after year. As I mentioned, this was our fourth trip with this group so we saw many folks we had met on previous tours. One of the riders came up to me and said, “You’re Arden right? You and your husband ride a tandem if I recall. I think we met at the Oregon tour six years ago.” Wow, I was so impressed! I hadn’t seen this man for six years and he remembered my name and that my husband and I ride a tandem. To my chagrin, I had not remembered his name, but he graciously introduced himself. However, I made a point of trying to remember everyone’s name I met and using it when I saw the person again.
I’m not perfect at recalling names, but I’m much better than I was years ago. I have to give the practice my full attention to be successful. But, I know how nice it is when someone remembers my name, so I strive to do the same.
Bike touring may not be your passion, but you can still practice these four courteous behaviors whether you’re interacting with coworkers, neighbors or friends. People will be impressed.