15 reasons why the cyclist who just passed me couldn’t say hi

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off
Meredith Carroll
Courtesy photo

With most people these days looking as if they’re either on their way to or returning from a bank robbery, I’ve decided that, much like wearing an American-flag lapel pin after Sept. 11, 2001, saying “hello” at a louder than usual though not quite menacing volume while simultaneously giving the air a forceful high-five slap as I pass others just feels like the right thing to do.

Except lately there are signs pointing to not everyone — and bicycle-riders in particular — being on the same page about exchanging patriotic salutations. It may well be something in the water, because former Olympic cyclist and current Aspenite Scott Mercier even had to offer some etiquette tips in the May 22 edition of The Aspen Times after noticing what he characterized as a glut of riders on area roads, trails and paths in recent weeks acting like “that guy.”

Of course it’s an exaggeration for maximum effect to call all bikers “that guy” — there are definitely plenty of women cyclists, too. While it’s easy to pile on the Roaring Fork Valley’s many (many) avid and likely overserved JUS Aspen customers on two wheels that cost more than your grandparents paid for their first house, during these uncertain times I choose to believe there are good and valid reasons why the more than 50 bikers who passed me a few days ago as I got in a final hike up Independence Pass before it opens to cars on June 1 couldn’t say “hi” in return, never mind even just turn their nose up at me in acknowledgement. You know, like they do during non-pandemic times.

At the very least I knew they must be en route to something of critical importance, because all but one downhill rider failed to so much as announce their intention to pass. Don’t cry for me Argentina, though, because eventually you become acclimated to jumping out of your skin while something on a heap of complicated metal whizzes by at 75 mph with zero warning, right? Or at least there’s a pill for it, right? (Rhetorical question, duh: This is Aspen; of course there’s a pill for it.)

Because my goal in 2020 is to look on the bright side, I choose to believe one of the following excuses had to have applied to each of the passing bikers (just to be extra kind, let’s go ahead and ascribe two reasons to the guy who rode by and spat out “total asshole” at the same time he pointed his middle finger):

  • They couldn’t risk an inadvertent murder-hornet inhale.
  • They were laser-focused on not missing hate-watching even one minute of Lance Armstrong’s “30 for 30” documentary.
  • It’s my fault: That was the day I accidentally wore a Darth Vader mask.
  • New Yorkers. Can’t live with ’em (except for all the ones we can’t help but live with because they’ve all moved to Aspen over the past 10 weeks).
  • It’s my fault: That was the day I accidentally wore a Mike Pence mask.
  • They were a little too eager for the commencement of phase 2.
  • It was time to make the donuts.
  • It’s my fault: That was the day I accidentally wore a Sean Hannity mask.
  • They heard Noori’s Collection was having an overstock sale.
  • They worried their e-bike was running low on juice.
  • They didn’t want to miss the Save the Expanded Loro Piana rally downtown.
  • It’s my fault: That was the day I accidentally wore a Jared Kushner mask.
  • OK, maybe I’m not showering daily. In my defense, we’re in the middle of a pandemic (phase 2, yes, but a pandemic nevertheless).
  • They were running late to goat yoga class.
  • Hillary’s emails. Still.

More at and on Twitter @MCCarroll.