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  1. #1
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    Have you as a cyclist ever been turned away from places or looked down upon?

    I've read a lot of threads and posts against bicyclists in a number of situations (e.g. being told not to ride on the roads, where to ride on roads and trails, not being able to lock up bicycles due to a lack of places to do so, not being allowed to bring bicycles into shops while on errands,) and so on. But this thread is about those. I've done a lot of bicycling where I would walk into places in full kit. No one gave me any guff if they objected until the following example.

    While vacationing on Mount Desert Island in Maine, I spend much of my time bicycling in and around Acadia National Park. Some of the park roads are paved with asphalt and are largely used by tour buses and people who with to drive around in their cars. Most of the rest consist of a network of gravel-paved carriage roads which are used by people riding in horse-drawn carriages, hikers, and a surprisingly large number of bicyclists


    All of the roads eventually lead to the Jordan Pond House, which is located in the center of the Island Since 1981, people were informed that it was a restaurant where anyone who could pay would be welcomed and sit down to a considerble meal. This wasn't quite true. For those who arrived dressed to the hilt, they were admitted and served. Meanwhile, bicyclists and hikers were turned away. As if that weren't enough, the welcomed customers looked at cyclists with disdain. Even those who didn't try to go in were looked at as if they shouldn't be there.

    Over the years, the restaurant built a place where tourists could buy cards and other stuff. As if it were an apology to bicyclists, they sold items like trail snacks, cold soda, hot coffee, and tea. Behind and under er the restaurant, restrooms were constructed so that one could relieve oneself and/or change into clean clothes. If that's an apology, I call it an excuse.

    Have any of you been turned away from establishments or looked upon as if you shouldn't exist? Please discuss.
    Last edited by powerhouse; 05-15-10 at 03:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post
    Have any of you been turned away from establishments or looked upon as if you shouldn't exist? Please discuss.
    Yes, I've been turned away from a not incredibly upmarket bar because of my cycling clothes. Although I was very annoyed at the time (not least because my wife and other companions that I was meeting there had already been let in while wearing skorts) I can recognize that they had a dress-code as many places do. That's their right. Basically all you can do is publicize the name of the place as cyclist unfriendly, as you are doing. No point in getting too bent out of shape about it though for a restaurant.

    I'm more irritated by drive-thrus that refuse cyclists.

  3. #3
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    good reason not to wear a cycling 'kit' when you ride in places like this


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    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    Yes, I've been turned away from a not incredibly upmarket bar because of my cycling clothes. Although I was very annoyed at the time (not least because my wife and other companions that I was meeting there had already been let in while wearing skorts) I can recognize that they had a dress-code as many places do. That's their right. Basically all you can do is publicize the name of the place as cyclist unfriendly, as you are doing. No point in getting too bent out of shape about it though for a restaurant.

    I'm more irritated by drive-thrus that refuse cyclists
    .
    You mean like, Arby's, Wendy's, and the like? Arby's refused to serve me because I came through the drive-thru on my bike -- their claim being that it endangered the safety of their employees, as well as mine. (WTF?!?!) I argued with the shift manager at the window, to no avail, and almost got into a fight with the clean-up kid who threatened to throw me off the property (OMG, THAT was funny, I had 50 pounds on him!)

    As a result of that, I took it upon myself to e-mail the corporate offices for Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonalds. They could have been cheating off each other's papers, that's how alike their crap answers were -- substantially the same as the Arby's dodge.

    Since all of them but Arby's have adequate lock-up facilities, and because I'm such an easy touch for my kids, we still patronize all of them -- except Arby's. No place to lock up? F off. You don't want my business.

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    In answer to your question, no. However, I have never tried to have dinner at a restaurant wearing cycling clothing. Many restaurants have dress codes. I don't see anything especially wrong with this. Who wants to eat dinner with sweaty stinky cyclists?

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    They are private business, why shouldn't they be able to refuse service to anyone of their choosing. Many shops have those signs posted anyhow. Somehow I doubt a couple hundred customers are going to hurt their bottom line much. I haven't been in a McD or BK since about 2007 and last I heard McD was seeing an increase in profits in the midst of a recession.

  7. #7
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    Only once. I was @ a McDs with my Tri bike (yeah, pos'in it up). I was ordering my grease and was about to pay when the manager told me no bikes allowed inside. In a very crass and very tactless way... I said, F*** This and left. Never have gone back, but that might be due to a slight dietary change.

    As a manager myself I would have either politely explained the policy or just let it go since it was a to-go order or both - not just a get out and point response. Its not like I was dressed as a bum with a Huffy. 7/11 on the other hand doesn't even see me until I pull out my wallet, so thats good.

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    On my last visit there, I came off the trail soaking wet because I got caught in the rain miles away from the restaurant. I went down to the restrooms and changed into a dry jersey, shorts, long spandex pants, and yellow jacket that had a huge, red blinky clipped to it (turned off). Then I put my helmet back on, went and bought a cup coffee from the place next door, and sat down outside the restaurant door with a serious look on my face. My bicycle, a Trek 850 Antelope, with blinkies mounted on it, stood nearby.

    As time went by, customers began to notice me sitting there as they came and went. Some looked at me with the usual measure of contempt, but some customers who had been there a while didn't walk by so quickly. Others turned in my direction and exchanged words with one another. Several of these people looked and sounded as if they were from other countries. After a while, a woman walked up to me and inquired if I was a bicycle-mounted security officer regarding all the people who came off the trails!

    I suppose that restaurants might be able to make their own rules regarding dress codes but not informing the public about them until they get there and turning people away in a rude manner is an unorthadox way of keeping a customer base.
    In other cases, some people get the wrong idea. At the end of a charity ride, a large group of bicyclists rode into the town where we were stopping for the night. We hoped we could go into one of the bars and find out how much soda we could drink. Many establishments had hurredly closed their doors by the time we got there. Word had gotten ahead that hundreds of "bikers" were headed their way and it would be dangerous to serve them. It was their loss. We still had somewhere organized to stop for the night.
    Last edited by powerhouse; 05-14-10 at 09:59 PM.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    It was during one of my early 70's road trips, pulling up to a logging town's general store on a bicycle with long hair, hiking backpack, and sweat band was the only time that I can recall that I was openly disliked in a retail setting.

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    If I know I'll be going into a restaurant, I'll make sure to have some shorts I can throw on.

    I usually don't take my bike in places if there's a place to lock up.
    If there is no place to lock up, I'll politely inquire inside if I can bring my bike with me.
    If I can't at that point bring my bike in, I give another establishment my business.

    I don't even try to use drive-throughs (except of my bank, which at least at this branch, allows it) as most are clearly posted that they only serve cars (their business their rules).

    (So far my Grocery store and Pharmacy are very accommodating and they will keep an eye on my bike while I shop)
    I guess I'm just lucky to live in a fairly bike friendly town.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Nimitz87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post
    I've read a lot of threads and posts against bicyclists in a number of situations (e.g. being told not to ride on the roads, where to ride on roads and trails, not being able to lock up bicycles due to a lack of places to do so, not being allowed to bring bicycles into shops while on errands,) and so on. But this thread is about those. I've done a lot of bicycling where I would walk into places in full kit. No one gave me any guff if they objected until the following example.

    While vacationing on Mount Desert Island in Maine, I spend much of my time bicycling in and around Acadia National Park. Some of the park roads are paved with asphalt and are largely used by tour buses and people who with to drive around in their cars. Most of the rest consist of a network of carriage roads which are used by people riding horse-drawn carriages, hikers, and a surprisingly large number of bicyclists


    All of the roads eventually lead to the Jordan Pond House, which is located in the center of the Island Since 1981, people were informed that it was a restaurant where anyone who could pay would be welcomed and sit down to a considerble meal. This wasn't quite true. For those who arrived dressed to the hilt, they were admitted and served. Meanwhile, bicyclists and hikers were turned away. As if that weren't enough, the welcomed customers looked at cyclists with disdain. Even those who didn't try to go in were looked at as if they shouldn't be there.

    Over the years, the restaurant built a place where tourists could buy cards and other stuff. As if it were an apology to bicyclists, they sold items like trail snacks, cold soda, hot coffee, and tea. Behind and under er the restaurant, restrooms were constructed so that one could relieve oneself and/or change into clean clothes. If that's an apology, I call it an excuse.

    Have any of you been turned away from establishments or looked upon as if you shouldn't exist? Please discuss.



    any establishment can turn you away for whatever reason...having a bunch of sweaty hikers/cyclists in a resturant is gross period after the weekend rides alot of the riders go to a diner which happens to be in the parking lot we meet up and eat in full kit 1.) I think that is inappropriate dining attire 2.) you smell and are sweaty

    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    Yes, I've been turned away from a not incredibly upmarket bar because of my cycling clothes. Although I was very annoyed at the time (not least because my wife and other companions that I was meeting there had already been let in while wearing skorts) I can recognize that they had a dress-code as many places do. That's their right. Basically all you can do is publicize the name of the place as cyclist unfriendly, as you are doing. No point in getting too bent out of shape about it though for a restaurant.

    I'm more irritated by drive-thrus that refuse cyclists.

    drive thru's don't serve anyone in a car (peds, cyclists, etc.) because its a "safety" issue they say


    some of the replies are crazy...manager says no bikes inside and you tell him to **** off? and you wonder why cyclists get a bad rap...

    Chad
    Last edited by Nimitz87; 05-14-10 at 11:35 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Why go where your $$ are not wanted?!
    Have eaten in many restaurants/states in cycling clothes . . .

  13. #13
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    I guess the Jordan Pond house has changed their policy. I ate lunch there while mountain biking the carriage paths in the early 90's.

    Speedo

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    So far, I haven't seen any cyclist that was turned away.
    Got me a new smartwool socks.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    Yes, I've been turned away from a not incredibly upmarket bar because of my cycling clothes. Although I was very annoyed at the time (not least because my wife and other companions that I was meeting there had already been let in while wearing skorts) I can recognize that they had a dress-code as many places do. That's their right. Basically all you can do is publicize the name of the place as cyclist unfriendly, as you are doing. No point in getting too bent out of shape about it though for a restaurant.

    I'm more irritated by drive-thrus that refuse cyclists.
    I've had one or two fast food joints refuse me when I've ridden up to the drive thru and they always use the "safety" card. If it is unsafe for us on bicycles then why is it safe for those on motorcycles? I mean compared to a car we're both about the same size. But I haven't had any other types of business look down at me or refuse me service just because I was in a full kit.
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  16. #16
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    They guy that owns the Masonville General Store in Masonville, CO is known for his cyclist animosity.

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    I typically bring clothes to change into if I am going into some "sit down" restaurant, so I tend to avoid being turned away due to a "dress code;" not to mention that I am more comfortable in those clothes in that setting than I would be in cycling kit. (cycling kit can be quite cool if you are not actually cycling)


    On the flip side, I have to laugh at being allowed to go into the main dining room at the Yellowstone Lodge last August... We had been out camping for 9 days straight, and looked like it, and probably smelled like it. It was our first non-camp breakfast, and it was wonderful. Of course they did seat us in an area where there were few other patrons.

  18. #18
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    We've never been turned away. Some really nice places have, in fact, gone out of their way to make us feel welcome.

    If you want to break a dress code spend twenty dollars with the head waiter.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    They guy that owns the Masonville General Store in Masonville, CO is known for his cyclist animosity.
    Really? Hadn't heard about this situation. I'll make sure to take my business to some other guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyciumX View Post
    Only once. I was @ a McDs with my Tri bike (yeah, pos'in it up). I was ordering my grease and was about to pay when the manager told me no bikes allowed inside. In a very crass and very tactless way... I said, F*** This and left. Never have gone back, but that might be due to a slight dietary change.

    As a manager myself I would have either politely explained the policy or just let it go since it was a to-go order or both - not just a get out and point response. Its not like I was dressed as a bum with a Huffy. 7/11 on the other hand doesn't even see me until I pull out my wallet, so thats good.
    I don't think you were turned away for being a cyclist. I think you got turned away for bringing the bike into the shop. Seriously, do shops normally let you do this? I've never expected to be allowed to bring my bike inside.

  21. #21
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    You mean like, Arby's, Wendy's, and the like? Arby's refused to serve me because I came through the drive-thru on my bike -- their claim being that it endangered the safety of their employees, as well as mine. (WTF?!?!) I argued with the shift manager at the window, to no avail, and almost got into a fight with the clean-up kid who threatened to throw me off the property (OMG, THAT was funny, I had 50 pounds on him!)

    As a result of that, I took it upon myself to e-mail the corporate offices for Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonalds. They could have been cheating off each other's papers, that's how alike their crap answers were -- substantially the same as the Arby's dodge.

    Since all of them but Arby's have adequate lock-up facilities, and because I'm such an easy touch for my kids, we still patronize all of them -- except Arby's. No place to lock up? F off. You don't want my business.
    All from the same manuals, written by the same types of marketing people. Let me guess: their responses didn't really commit to anything, did they? Other than to say, "well, that's our policy, and it's for your safety."

    So, do the drive thru counters at America's fast food joints serve motorcyclists?

    The Newton Cemetery, Newton MA, does not permit bicyclists. Same excuse: "It's for your safety". I was told that I was welcome to leave my bicycle outside the gate, and walk to any gravesite I wished to visit. Well, something smells bad, and it's not the Boston fish pier. At the Newton Cemetery (which is a private corporation, able to make any rules the like) one can only assume that if I were to drive in with an early 70's muscle car, with open loud, open exhaust pipes, it would be acceptable under their policy. I can understand if they don't want people riding around a cemetery aimlessly, but if you have a friend or relative buried there, which is my case?
    In neighboring waltham, the cemeteries are owned and run by the city. Bicyclists are permitted, with some simple rules. Riding only on paved roadways, all vehicles must yield to funeral processions.

    If they don't want my business, fine. They won't get it, and I have no problem passing the word.

    No problem at my local Trader Joe's. Good bike rack, lots of cyclists go there.
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  22. #22
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    I think powerhouse is getting turned away because of his fetish gear, not because he rides a bike.

  23. #23
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    I was almost turned away once, but things turned out quite different than I expected. Three of us stopped at a small store in Ward, CO (it had to be small, there were less than 100 people in Ward). The owners were none too happy to see us, but we got to talking about how the one female of our group was feeling quite ill and they pointed out a pile of T-shirts they were selling to raise money for a local boy's needed liver transplant. We bought three or four shirts and the next thing we knew they were putting us up in a cabin for free. The store had a shower in the back and they left the door open for us to use it. That was a very memorable tour.

    That said, I feel that bike is the new black. We can't count on equal treatment anywhere, especially the justice system; when we are killed no one does jail time.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
    So, do the drive thru counters at America's fast food joints serve motorcyclists?
    If that's not a rhetorical question, and you really wanted to know, the answer is yes, they do.

  25. #25
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    I think the bias against cyclists is all in your mind. They are biased against people who don't follow their dress code. If you rode up dressed in khakis with a blazer on, they wouldn't turn you away because you rode a bike. Many people today believe that they have a "right" to dress however they want on another person's property. I salute those business owners who are willing to set some standards, even if it means losing some business.

    When I want to eat in a "fine dining" restaurant while casually dressed, I ask the hostess or maitre d' if I'm appropriate. If they say no, I ask them for directions to a more casual restaurant.


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