I am cruising on my vintage bike, my silver and purple handlebar streamers making a subtle whish as I pick up speed. My ride is shaded by an exquisite canopy of mature Live Oaks, and I can smell barbacoa tacos from a food truck and a large Meyer lemon tree in bloom. An art car passes by, and I ding my bell and wave since my bike is an art bike of sorts, decked out with rhinestones and tinsel. I like to interact with people I pass because it makes me feel connected to the city. I’ve randomly biked by people I know walking on the sidewalk, shouted their name, and exchanged a high-five. I wave and smile at others blasting music and grilling out in their front yards. When I bike through the neighborhood on the weekends, kids on bikes playfully try to race me, pedaling alongside for a block and then turning back home.
Biking is full of these encounters, especially when biking on streets with low traffic and at a slow, easy pace. This ability of the bicycle to enable fun, random encounters is what makes riding a bike in a city like Houston so delightful.