It was a nice day on Wednesday and I had a few things to do at the office that could not be done from home so I took to the path. It was nice to meet two of the regulars.

Since changing my cycling route some years ago I travel on pathway for over half the distance. The longest section of the pathway is relatively remote for a city trail, going through a marshland past a former garbage transfer station, but I do meet the occasional walker or fellow cyclist. Since I’m introverted and on my way to work, I generally do not stop to talk to strangers but I have developed a few relationships along the way. When has that happened while driving in a car?

I wrote about Bill a number of years ago. I did not see him for a year or so and I wondered if he had died and actually became concerned that I would miss his funeral although I had no idea how I would ever find out. But then one day there he was hobbling with a cane and he showed me the shiny new braces on his legs! The dog he faithfully walked did die and now he walks alone and not as far but we continue to meet on occasion and swap stories about the weather, kids and grandkids, his adventures growing up on army bases, and even politics and religion if I do not have a schedule to meet. He never does and loves to talk.

Since I met Bill I have encountered a few other regulars in the morning. There is one older man who always has his earphones on, holding what looks like a real, vintage walk-man in one hand. We always nod to each other. There is a woman who is walking her pit-bull and always politely stops to hold him until I have passed for which I am grateful. If I am approaching from behind her I always shout a warning, “biker on the left” because I do not want to spook that dog! And there is the mysterious other cyclist whom I have never seen but see the tire marks if it has rained or if there has been a slight frost. This rider obviously gets going before I do.

For the past couple years my timing has given me the opportunity to meet Cyrus and Sally, a newly retired couple who walk their dogs. Well, they walked one and had one in a child’s stroller which I found kind of weird and funny at first until I found out that it was in its last days and they were basically doing palliative care. Although I’m not a dog lover, I was impressed with their compassion. Then last year it was Cyrus alone and I stopped to ask why. I found out Sally had some serious health concerns and was hospitalized for some time. I was glad to see both of them a few months later, minus the dog in the stroller. They are a cheery couple, former postal carriers who are familiar with walking. I meet them almost every day so I only stop on occasion but they always shout a friendly greeting each time I pass. “Have a good day Gareth.” Cyrus always says my name which makes me feel good. It was good to catch up with them this week and to see that they were both well.