"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
Seems fair. A almost always stop to be sure someone stopped is Ok. 99% of the time they are. If it is someone I know I may stay stopped and ride with them til the regroup next regroup point.
BUT it makes a huge difference that this is my choice. The stop itself is nothing, a feeling of responsibility is something entirely different.
Oh and stopping for someone who is glad for the help and/or company makes me feel good. Stoping for someone who feels entitled to help created a rather different feeling.
"Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx
Other than that the main call was either stopping or rolling when coming to a light that was changing.
And of course far too often 2 riders would call out at the same time, and not the same call.
I think calling out unexpected things can be worthwhile. Car back when there is a car that is waiting behind to pass or broken glass on a road that has been pristine for miles. But many groups do seem to overdo it. And only a fool thinks everythgni will get called out. For the really importnat things all you get is an explicitive.
Honestly even the skinniest scrawney guy is enough to stop harassment before it ever starts, as long as he is right there. The biggest meanest guy you can imagine is no tenough if he is 20 feet away.
Getting back to the harrasment thing, it does happen, and it can be off-putting. I double-flatted once in a downtown area. Walking my road bike, I got a few whistles, etc. That, I don't mind too much, since it's pretty harmless, and there were lots of people around.
But I think even the most fearless women (and I'd say I'm one) experience feelings of caution in certain situations. It's not a nice feeling, but we grow up being taught to be cautious. I was once riding an isolated rural trail, and I passed a couple young guys sitting beside the trail on their home-made motorized mountain bikes. A few minutes later, I heard them coming up behind me. I started to wonder if something bad was about to happen, like maybe just a slap on the bum as they passed, maybe worse, and so I watched my mirror very closely. I realized I was feeling vulnerable because I was alone and 'slow'; being fast is a big part of the reason I feel confident riding alone on the trails. These guys changed the dynamic by using motors (not allowed). Of course, the worst thing that happened as they passed was that I inhaled some rank fumes. But you never know. What if they'd just been waiting for a single woman to come along?
I can easily imagine, if I was slower than your average guy on a bike, I'd be a lot less likely to want to go for a solo ride. We frequently see news stories about men exposing themselves to women riding bike trails... the guy usually has arrived on a bike himself. That would be enough to put me off of riding isolated trails solo.
I can't imagine being "confronted with my BS" or "pushed" for 50-60 years. Motivation should be intrinsic. I don't need nor do I want some other person dragging me through life as if I were a toddler being told to finish her peas or else there is no dessert. Some people seem to confuse a marital type relationship with a parental relationship.
"Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx
I'd like to contribute my two cents to this topic. I've gotten a new bicycle for my birthday and would like to ride it more, but for several reasons I haven't done so.
About the bike first: it does matter to me what it looks like. I chose the bike from Target after I decided that I liked biking enough as an exercise option that I should get something better than my (rusty) mountain bike. I wanted skinny tires, having never had them before and wanting to go a little faster. I wanted a chain guard, since my mountain bike loved to grab my jeans. I wanted a rack on the back that I could attach a basket to to take my jack russel along, or to get a bag of groceries or something.
I was looking at Target.com when I found the cheapest hybrid I could with all that. I was not willing to put down $200 for it. I asked for it for my birthday. My mom surprised me a lot by ordering it online when we couldn't find it in the stores and paid an extra $50 in shipping costs. I would love to have a green bike (my favorite color, plus lime green would be pretty and very visible) and eventually I might paint it. The men's version was a gorgeous sparkly brown.
It was difficult for me to ride for several reasons even after I got a bike I liked. My husband is very worried for my safety and protective. The six miles it would take to commute to work is along a 55mph highway where he and most others speed. There is also a bare stretch which can get very dark. There is a shoulder glorified by signs to be called a bike lane part of the way. (The shoulder doesn't change, but after a while the "bike lane" ends, for some reason.) I can understand why he would not like me to ride to work at 5am alone.
I also am currently the only one in the house with a bicycle. It is very hard for me to leave a house and just go out for a ride. I had nowhere to go, for one thing, and I would feel odd going out by myself.
When I was alone with the dogs I would sometimes take my little 4-wheeled peddle car (no bike at that time) out for rides. I went 9 miles accidentally one day, but again, I felt bad leaving my dogs home alone when they would much rather have my company. The beagle wasn't thrilled about the bucket I put on a trailer to take him with me- he howled endlessly and I wasn't in the mood to work with him over it.
Now that we have moved and work is only 3 miles away and we have nice wide roadways here with low speed limits, and a much better area, I'm very much looking forward to commuting to work. I could also use the bike trail to go 6 miles to downtown, where there is a library and a game store. I have an enclosed child trailer that I hope to use to convince my roommate to ride with me. She has a nearly-one-year-old daughter. I'm partly nervous about going out in a new area, but mostly I have not ridden yet because we're back to having to abandon a household of people to do so. I also have a slow leak in the rear tire and its a convenient deterrent when I know I'll have to spend a bunch of time using the tiny frame pump to get the bike ready to go.
For me the vulnerability is a big factor. I am small at 5'2" and have never been in a fight in my life. I know size doesn't matter- my husbands aunt is an inch shorter and could beat the fight out of an aggressive horse and does so on a regular basis. If I knew for sure that I could at least defend myself against an attacker, perhaps I'd have more confidence to ride alone. The chance is remote, but as another poster pointed out, we are taught from a young age to be wary of being caught alone. I plan to learn some form of karate once we're settled in here.
I never really considered a bicycle as a form of transportation before. Or recreation, really, since we're back to going out alone is a strange thing to do with two sisters who could go with you. We went to McDonald's once for ice cream. The bike seats hurt us for 3 days afterwards, I remember. We didn't try that anymore, though it was a neat idea. If my mom had encouraged us to ride more and gone with us or organized trips, perhaps we'd have kept up with it. As it was, a bike was a christmas present to be used a few times a year and then sit collecting dust and rust until we got a new one.
Good for you! I have some pepper spray velcroed to my handlebars, as I commute daily in an area with stray dogs and other threats.
That slow leak may be a teeny, teeny tiny thorn in your tire..
Last edited by alicestrong; 07-22-11 at 10:08 AM. Reason: oops
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
A slow leak in a tub can easily be found if yuo have a sink. just fill it and hold the tube (or in practice a part of the tube at a time) until you see bubbles. Even the slowest of leaks is visible. The chance the the leak is in the valve should not get forgotten.
If the tires are installed professionally then the decals on hte tire will line up with the valve. Why? because that way once yuo find a leak in hte tube yuo can line up the tub and tire again and check for thorns of glass where the leak is. (A quick check of the whole tire is worthwhile also.
One of the most annoying things to pickup in a tire is a bit of steelbelt material from a car tire. It can be very difficult to find and remove. I've had it happen three times and only once found it on the first try.
The idea of using water to find a leak by air bubbles is a good one. I hadn't even thought to check it yet, but Grandad uses soapy water all the time to check the bead of car tires. We even have a little doggy pool so I can dunk the whole tube at once. I'll be sure to do that, thanks. I happen to have a patch kit that came with a multitool
And just so you know, I am definitely looking forward to getting some skirts and riding in them. I'm a beader and I thought I could make gorgeous sparkly skirt guards instead of crocheted ones. My husband and roommates and I just started P90X and I'm a sewer. I plan to get some patterns after the 90 days and make some awesome clothes to go with my improved physique. It's amazing how simply changing diet will improve your mood and therefore self-esteem. Exercise of course contributes, and I know I'll get to that point soon, this is a restart for my husband and I. We'll make it this time!
It's a Carbon Fiber Monocoque frame, and it only has a single frame tube! It has a lower step over height than a diamond frame mens bike. Though clearly, it is not marketed to women as a "Ladies Bicycle", the BP Stealth Monocoque frame design shows how Carbon is uniquely suited for manufacturing or building light-weight, high-end, ladies bicycles.
I would say that the BP Stealth design could be re-designed with an even lower step over height, at a cost of only a few extra grams of Carbon.
Did you know that Carbon Fiber tubes, of large diameter, can be filled with Foam ? , to prevent crushing , allowing the wall thickness to be extremely thin? It kind of works like air in a tire- when it's filled, it keeps its shape.
In the mean time, if anyone asks for a copy of the Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle designed by Mellisa, I will tell them I am not currently building anymore bikes, but then I will direct that person to http://www.bpstealth.com/
Heh, the only thing is, the price is not listed on the BP Stealth website, and you know, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it".