Review: Mad Alchemy Resist B&W Socks ($14 USD)
(2018) I often recall a single event that embodies the negative cycling encounters in these parts of the state. A – then – circulated placard on social media had inspired the end result. While encounters favor motorists, the following approach may diffuse situations that could ruin a decent ride.
Several years ago the Missus, Mike (yes that Mike), and myself traveled northbound on River Road toward our favorite coffee supplier, Homestead Roasters. It was early on a weekend; the Missus was prepping for an event with a lot of hills so we went looking for them. Before we got to Bridgeton Hill Road a brief exchange led to a non-story.
We were riding in a pace line and quite to the right. I must stop here and reiterate that we were as far right as possible. I’m sure non-cyclists would question how far right we were. If we weren’t running over the white line, we were close to it. The nature of River Road was such that riding on the white line was the best bet to prevent punctures from potholes. I was at the back of the pace line when a black Subaru WRX zoomed by laying on the horn. Frustratingly the driver was from New Jersey. (Something about getting beeped at from an out-of-state driver has always bothered me, regardless of the transportation.)
In the brief moments from when the car came around to when it would disappear I had a few options as to how to react, if at all. Immediately I resorted to the simple gesture of waving to the motorist. There, down the road, the black Subaru WRX's brake lights screamed to life as I waved to it with my white gloves. In order to build suspense to a not-so-suspenseful story, I will add another paragraph with theory.
I imagined the conversation inside the car - assuming it had two occupants - went like: “Why are you stomping on the brakes?” “The cyclist I just beeped at is waving at me.” “Seriously? That’s why we’re stopping?” Then in my imagination the driver grips the steering wheel in frustration.
It’s possible the scenario played out because the WRX, moments after hitting the brakes, drove away. I have oftened wondered if the driver thought it ridiculous to yell at me for waving back as well as accusing me of setting him off for riding along the white fog line.
There are numerous houses along cycling routes with signs declaring “Hate Has No Home Here” among other slogans. Across the spectrum there are people not interested in fostering anger or hate towards other groups of people. I think this is what led to Mad Alchemy’s Resist socks.
On their site the Resist B&W blurb declares these socks were made as a reminder to simply be nice. Among the awful headlines including road rage, mass shootings, politics, and racism (as well as political racism) Mad Alchemy tries to remind the ambassadors of the road to diffuse confrontation instead of fostering it. I like to think we are all pretty nice people at heart; the cycling community is no exception. It’s also beneficial to remind us at the end of the day that regardless who is right or wrong in a confrontation a cyclist is always underpowered. Why act like we are owed anything?
In the headlines it seems hate is being overlooked all too often. It is up the niche communities to set an example as to how appropriate responses are constructed. Imagine the momentum if each small batch community reestablished the precedent to be nice. Imagine further if the cycling community spearheaded that trend. It would absolutely a bonus if Mad Alchemy’s missive to ‘Keep it Positive’ and ‘Share the Love’ restarted the whole movement.