I was standing at the bus stop yesterday, on my way home from work, and I saw a gent on a bike that I’ve seen a million times. And yesterday, I realized that we’d met at least twice and chatted. But, in the midst of traffic and far-away-ness (I’m near-sighted), I have missed the connection between these “two” people and their being the same person until exactly yesterday. And then I felt like a jerk for never saying, “Hi!”
I think helmets have a lot to do with recognizing someone on/off his or her bike. I certainly do not want to start a fight wherein everyone calls everyone else a Nazi for how they feel about helmets. I always wear one, but I’ve also had more than my share of non-cycling head injuries, and my helmet saved my brain in April when I crashed on my head/face. Anyway, helmets seem (to me at least) to throw off the recognition we have of folks. People’s heads are shaped differently, and there’s no hair to see. The straps even change the shape of a person’s face. And sometimes one’s usual motion/posture are shifted a bit by wearing a helmet and leaning over a bike.
Certainly, I’ve recognized folks by their bikes, and some people I see so often, I can’t miss them. But if I meet a cyclist (like the gent I see most days) who’s not holding his or her bike and not wearing her or his helmet, I totally wonder she or he gives me a funny look when I see them riding. Maybe I’m just dense. I do rely on recognizing walking styles (etc.) to recognize people from afar. Maybe I should use helmet types? I mean, I’ve been recognized by my orange helmet a few times in my short ownership of it.
Am I the only one who has trouble identifying folks in helmets and in traffic?