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Taking Care of the Neighbours - Winter Riders


Winter cycling is tough in the city. Everyone's visibility and patience is tested. Their combined despair at the greyness can make even the calmest person boil over and tempers fray. Everyone wants to move around quickly, away from the darkness, the cold and the wet.

In my day job I talk to colleagues across the world every day, but a couple of folks and I have a regular drop in each week. I talk to Juliette and team in Paris every Thursday morning and I speak to Jo in Hong Kong early every Monday. Though we see each other in person really infrequently, it's easy to forget that we are miles apart, when you can pick up the phone and share a few jokes, if you take more time than simply sharing blocks of text in emails to each other. 

There are moments when you realise how little that distance means and how taking care of each other feels natural, despite the distance. This morning, I'm talking to Jo and I was trying to approach the subject of whether we could move our call forward or back by a few hours, now the weather was getting worse. 

I live about an hour from the office by bike, around 13 miles door to door. If I am running late for our call, or the traffic is bad, its easy to start making stupid mistakes with large vehicles or stopping distances on leaves and puddles. Jo - being a lovely courteous guy - asks me in his most sensitive way, if it is wise to continue to cycle to work in the winter. I explain that I am training for a marathon in April and that it is doing me good, despite the cold and rain. He replies..

"I love cycling Sophie, but you know I don't want your last words to be "Goodbye Jo"

It makes me laugh, then feel kinda happy to know that despite only meeting briefly in person last January,  this is the totally natural reaction of a friend, who considers the safety of the person that talks data and computers with him once a week and is still a neighbour that he wished to protect from danger. We agreed to move our call forward to make sure I'm not rushing in future weeks. I agreed to take care of myself and not to forget to wrap up and stay bright. 

My faith in humanity was restored a little and the world seemed a little smaller and less unfriendly for the rest of the day. Despite the rise in hate crime, racism and divisions that appear to slicing up the world news each day, its good to know that most of the good people in the world actually care about each other still, as if they were neighbours in a giant village.


If only the bugger who nicked the lights off my bike tonight while I was training, gave as much of a f*ck about my safety too. Guess you can't have it all eh? xx

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