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"Hey, Brother......"

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand Nov 6, 2009

There are a few phrases out there which belie their actually meaning. I've been watching a lot of bad movies lately and it seems like when someone starts out a conversation with "Hey friend..." that means that the smack is about to go down. Their is no warmth in the greeting. Clearly, there is an agenda about to be enforced.


A couple of weeks ago, I was out on a five-hour ride and decided to stop in one of my favorite local stores out on the California coast a few miles south of San Francisco. This store has wood floors and they have a sign posted outside asking that cyclists please remove their cleats. This makes sense since some road cleats can damage wood floors.


I ride on the road with mountain bike shoes and cleats. One nice thing about Sidi Dominator MTB shoes is that they are built with the same upper as their Genius road shoes. The only difference is the sole and the sole on the Dominators has a recessed cleat. Not only does that make it the Dominators easy for walking, but the cleat does not damage wood floors.


Because of this, I don't remove my cycling shoes when I enter this particular store. As I was about to enter the aforementioned store, one of the locals called out to me "Hey Brother, the sign there says to remove your cycling shoes." Obviously, I was not this person's brother; this is another one of those phrases.


I guess I could have gotten upset at some local, who doesn't even work at the store, trying to enforce some policy. Even though I wasn't on my bike, this seemed like it was heading for yet another "car driver versus bicyclist" confrontation.  The recently concluded road rage trial of the LA Doctor started because the doctor yelled at cyclists to 'ride single file' and the cyclists flipped the driver off. I thought it was the duty of the police to enforce the laws.


Confrontations never seem to resolve anything so, instead of starting something, I just pulled off my shoe and showed the local that I had recessed cleats and that the request therefore didn't apply. It was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do and my ride was just as enjoyable as before I made my stop.



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