After my crash, as word got around to people with whom I ride, I got many wishes for speedy recovery, messages of support, and signs of sympathy. I was touched by the depth of feeling in many of them, and more than a little surprised by seeing who sent them. It appears more people have been concerned about me than I thought.
I know, though, that if I disappear from these people's lives -- for example, if I never get on a bike again, if I never see them on rides or at shared activities -- I will fade from their consciousness. I may not disappear entirely, but I won't have the presence that I do now. And as new riders come around whom I have not met, Plain Jim won't be part of the memory that all of these people share together.
It's not incumbent on others to remember me, or to reach out and be friends with me. Nor, do I think, is it my place to artificially insert myself into situations where I would not naturally be: for example, if I could no longer ride for some reason, it would be wrong for me to continue to show up at ride starts and PFW occasions to see people with whom I used to ride.
I would, of course, still like to see these people; one of the reasons I ride is to satisfy social needs. I choose to ride with the people with whom I ride because I like them, and because we go at a pace at which we can converse. (If you go back over past "Member Focus" articles in the PFW newsletter, you'll see that a number of them have tried rides at a faster pace than they liked, and have gone back to slower-paced rides for reasons similar to the ones I mentioned. And the chosen pace depends on the individual rider; there does not seem to be a pace where there is a cutoff: "Below this pace, chat; at this pace or faster, shut up and pedal".)
I'm going to look for ways to be in contact with my riding friends when I can't ride. I expect I'll be on the bike again in a month or less. But if I have another crash, or (perhaps) over another wet and snowy winter, I may suggest meeting for non-bike activities. If you have bike-y friends with whom you want to stay in touch, you may want to think about this, too.
(It's not enough to do this blog, or to email. There is some evidence that people benefit from in-person contact in a way that they don't from simple texts or email [those articles is not the one I was looking for, but they are the best I could find as I'm writing this].)
So, I hope to see you around... whether I'm riding or walking.