Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fahrradsport Wednesday - Smoking

About a month ago I was cruising along the bike path on my way to work. Up ahead, I noticed an old codger slowly pedaling along (not wearing a helmet, of course!). I caught up to him in no time. As I passed him, I noticed that there was a particular reason this old fart was going so slow. He was busy puffing on a cigarette while riding his bike!

But actually, this isn't the first time I've seen this since I've moved to Berlin. I wouldn't say it's common, but I probably see it once or twice a month. I have never, ever seen it before moving here from the US though. I chalk that fact up to a few factors 1) the rate of smoking is much higher here than in the US 2) There are a lot more people on bikes here and a LOT more using their bike to commute. 3) Smokers who are commuting to and from work tend to smoke (Lord knows I saw plenty of people in the US smoking on their way to work while in their cars). Thus, logically, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised to see people smoking while biking.

But it really is surprising. After all, cycling is inherently a healthy activity. Why would you ruin it with smoking? But it's not that; I know plenty of smokers cycle (and good for them). But it's the act of smoking while cycling that throws me for a loop. It's like spitting in the face of any benefit you might be getting from the exercise itself. But that's just it; none of the people I've seen smoking while cycling seemed to be cycling for the exercise; they were just wearing street clothes meandering along just like Gramps I mentioned above. I guess they're just getting from point A to point B and taking a nicotine hit while doing it. I guess it's the contrast of it more than anything...


christina said...

Yes, yes, I see it all the time - Germans smoke while they're riding their bikes to the health food store. :-)

lettershometoyou said...

They were probably the bio ciggies, the kind with no additives, so that's all right then. :-)
I joined a grass hockey team when I first came to Germany.
It didn't take long to discover that hockey took second place to smoking, drinking and gossiping about each other after games and practise. One of them was such a chain-smoker she'd take puff breaks during games.