Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-18-05, 12:19 AM   #1
Bloodstallion
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu
Bikes: Specialized Rockhopper
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Clothing a factor in motorist's respect?

Howdy. Do you find that motorists treat you differently depending on how you're dressed? Yesterday, I was all geeked out in Jersey and gloves and my Deuter backpack, looking like a cyclist (more mountain though because of my baggy shorts), riding through East L.A., when a passenger in a car full of teens leaned out the window and laughed at me really loudly. This has never happened before. I usually dress toned down, not in cycling specific clothing, but yesterday I was wearing a jersey and just the whole effect said "cyclist." I don't know if what I was wearing had anything to do with the incident, but it just made me think.

Do you find that motorists give you more respect if you're in full cycling gear? Do you get made fun of more when you're in full cycling gear? Does how you dress make any difference whatsoever on how motorists treat you? Just wanted to put that out for discussion.
Bloodstallion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 12:26 AM   #2
notfred
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,169
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Teens make fun of anyone who looks different than them... like people in spandex. I wouldn't read into it too much.
notfred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 04:46 AM   #3
Crash Dummy
I get hit by cars
 
Crash Dummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Washington DC
Bikes: Fuji Team Pro '05 / Ancient Bianchi commuter
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If your clothing causes non-teenagers to ridicule you, then you might be onto something. Teens will make fun of anything and everything they can. The other day, I was out for a run (sacrelige! ) and some kid yelled something incoherent at me. But regardless of whether or not it was negative, I still felt great because traffic was slow and I was outpacing cars on the sidewalk

On a side note though, if your "dorky" clothes get you noticed, regardless of whether you get insulted for them, at least people know that you're there. If they know you're there, they *probably* won't hit you.
Crash Dummy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 05:48 AM   #4
CommuterRun
Conservative Hippie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wakulla Co. FL
Bikes:
Posts: 4,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodstallion
..........when a passenger in a car full of teens leaned out the window and laughed at me really loudly..........
'Tis the voice of adolescent insecurity. Not all of them have it, some are more mature. And it's not necessarily limited to teen-agers. Nothing of significance to pay any mind too.

You should see me decked out in black spandex with jerseys that have pictures of giant roadrunners and big, red dragons and yellow suns. Especially when I've got a trailer full of cargo chasing my bike down the road. I guar-on-teeee there's some around that look funnier than you do.

Edit-By the way. They absolutely hate it when you smile, yell and wave like you know them. <DUDE, WHAT'S UP?>

Last edited by CommuterRun; 04-18-05 at 06:26 AM.
CommuterRun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 06:18 AM   #5
lilHinault
.
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: .
Bikes: .
Posts: 3,094
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Teens will laugh at you because:

(a) You're dressed funny
(b) You look like a geek
(c) You're simply there

If you're new you probably are showing it in body language - subtly, but animals and teens can pick up on that. They can smell nervousness a mile away, from upwind! Nothing you can do but ride, ride, ride and when you "own the road" they'll know it. And still flip you off once in a while.
lilHinault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 06:48 AM   #6
jeff-o
Recumbent Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Bikes: Rebel Cycles Trike, Trek 7500FX
Posts: 2,991
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You get more respect if motorists can see your breath and you're puffing like a raging bull. Of course, it has to be 5 degrees C or less to see your breath, and in California that's like an ice age or something.
jeff-o is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 07:12 AM   #7
darkmother
Get the stick.
 
darkmother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Toronto, ON
Bikes: 12 Y.O. Litespeed MTB, IRO Jamie Roy fixie, Custom Habanero Ti 'Cross, No name SS MTB, Old school lugged steel track bike (soon)
Posts: 1,543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, they all do that. Most of the time they're driving some POS Honda CRX, complete with a body kit sporting a huge rear wing and a front clip that looks like darth vader's mask. In such a situation, I am too busy laughing at them to notice.
darkmother is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 07:41 AM   #8
tibikefor2
Zinophile
 
tibikefor2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Vienna, Virginia
Bikes: Spectrum Ti, Spectrum Track and Lemond Propad
Posts: 865
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I find that if I wear a toned down cycling jersey which contains red, white and blue I do not have problems with motorists. I live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC and not East LA so that could make also a difference.
tibikefor2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 07:57 AM   #9
SaskCyclist
The Land of Living Skies
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Bikes: Kona Hahannah, Rocky Mountain RC-30
Posts: 307
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you dress like you just fell off the turnip truck and don't command respect in the way you ride motorists will treat you as though they know the rules of the road and you don't. I don't wear cycling specific gear; I wear bicycle commuter specific gear. Since there really isn't any gear made for commuter cycling, I wear a hi vis very light wind proof jacket combined with a reflective vest and blinkies. I ride as though I am intermittantly invisible (you never know when) but predictable. It seems to work for me. Very rarely do I feel my safety is compromised (any season of the year).
SaskCyclist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 08:22 AM   #10
DCCommuter
52-week commuter
 
DCCommuter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes: Redline Conquest, Cannonday, Specialized, RANS
Posts: 1,929
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm not sure that "respect" is the right term, but there's definitely something about making a first impression on motorists. So much of human behavior is the result of split-second decisions made subconciously. Motorists often have difficulty judging the speed and trajectory of cyclists. When I commute, I make a conscious effort to look like a guy who spends a lot of time riding fast in traffic, so that when a car comes up on me and the driver has to make a split second judgment, his first impression is, "there's a guy who spends a lot of time driving fast in traffic."

For me that means a brightly colored cycling jersey or jacket, cycling shorts, and a helmet with reflective tape.
DCCommuter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 08:59 AM   #11
Monument Man
Senior Member
 
Monument Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: NYC
Bikes: Seven Cycles Odonata
Posts: 902
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I try to look very scary, very sure of my self, and agressive when commuting on my bike. Regardless of what I'm wearing (and I'm usually not in full blown jersey, etc) for clothes, the ATTITUDE I wear is one of ultimate confidence.

I stare people down, yell to claim my right of way, use lots of hand signals, and otherwise try to ride fast and look like I know what I'm doing.

Like DC Commuter says, I want motorists to immediately and subconsciously know I'm a guy who knows what's going on. I think that the clothes have something to do with it, The full spandex look isn't exactly the most, um, flattering, cool type of look but who cares.
Monument Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 09:12 AM   #12
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,975
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 906 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash Dummy
On a side note though, if your "dorky" clothes get you noticed, regardless of whether you get insulted for them, at least people know that you're there. If they know you're there, they *probably* won't hit you.
Tend to agree... on my commutes I wear contrasting colors... colors that clash... bright green and red. I just ordered this tie dyed looking jersey.

As far as the teens... for the most part they can be ignored... it is only when they get to be a bit older and still are not mature that they can be a problem. That attitude, coupled with booze is a bad combination.
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 10:04 AM   #13
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
Posts: 14,114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 439 Post(s)
Since it is human nature to judge by looks and that there is a wide range of cycling 'looks' that even a non-cyclist can notice, I am sure that how you look on your bike creates an impression to drivers.

I wear simple black cycling shorts and a hi vis t-shirt and a one color helmet. No other cycling bling.

I think this creates the impression that I am serious about being noticed, care about my safety, but not uptight about looking like a 'decked out cycling racer enthusiast' - overall I am a functional cyclist aka a commuter.

Maybe it works, cars give me good clearance, I don't get right/left hooked and never have had anyone yell anything derogatory to me and have had some nice chats with drivers while stopped at intersections.

Al
noisebeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 01:22 PM   #14
Kabloink
Senior Member
 
Kabloink's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Texas
Bikes:
Posts: 605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I noticed that I get more respect when I wear my orange mesh construction vest regardless of what else I am wearing.
Kabloink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 02:21 PM   #15
billh
Senior Member
 
billh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St Louis, MO
Bikes:
Posts: 1,254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes definitely. The best is when cute little teenie girls whistle and say something lewd like "Nice Butt". If they only knew I am twice their age, hehe.
billh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 04:22 PM   #16
Noif666
I'd rather be riding
 
Noif666's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Bikes:
Posts: 144
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had a middle aged man yell a nasty word in Greek at me yesterday. He was looking straight at me so it can't have been at anyone else because he was the only pedestrian around, and aside from me on my bike everyone else was in cars.
A few km's later a car beep at me for no apparent reason - it was a two lane road, I was travelling along the inner lane and they were in the outer lane. Just to keep this on topic, yes I was wearing spandex shorts and a bright orange jersey (which I though was reasonable seeing as it was overcast).
When I wear non-cycling clothes I don't seem to get people going out of their way to yell or toot at me, although the crappy drivers still exist, the kind that can't go around you leaving enough space...I digress. sorry
Noif666 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 05:31 PM   #17
G4teamG
Senior Member
 
G4teamG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Whittier, Ca
Bikes: 2009 Specialized Robaix Elite
Posts: 204
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
A car full of teens in East LA yelled something at you? Trust me, things could have been a WHOLE LOT WORSE! I would rather dodge laughs then bullets. Trust me I know. Keep riding and just smile back. Be safe.
G4teamG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 06:25 PM   #18
Mars
coitus non circum.
 
Mars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 2,495
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have found that when I am in my lycra, helmet, and "angry eyes" sunglasses I dont' get hassle from the motorists regarding driving issues. I think the full kit looks official and competent, so drivers aren't as sure that you are doing something wrong for exisiting.

On the other hand, full lycra does tend to attract more derisive comments from the little hoodlums and rednecks. But, my god, look at how THEY dress! Group 1, baggy jeans falling off, trucker hats, big fake gold jewelry. Hahahaha! And the other? Can you say plaid, or camoflage? NASCAR hats and jackets? How can anyone take THEIR clothing opinions seriously?
Mars is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 06:28 PM   #19
Dchiefransom
Senior Member
 
Dchiefransom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Newark, CA. San Francisco Bay Area
Bikes:
Posts: 6,205
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Definitely. If you ride naked, you'll notice the other road users giving you MUCH more room.
Dchiefransom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 11:41 PM   #20
Bloodstallion
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu
Bikes: Specialized Rockhopper
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, I'm not worried about those teenagers. It's just that that usually never happens to me because people say I give a scary first impression. It's not a conscious thing, but I use this to my advantage on the road and pretty much bully my way around. The only difference was that day I was decked out in more cycling specific, "dorky" looking clothing. It just made me think that the more intimidating you look, the more likely motorists are to leave you alone and give you your space.
Bloodstallion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 11:46 PM   #21
Bloodstallion
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu
Bikes: Specialized Rockhopper
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tibikefor2
I live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC and not East LA so that could make also a difference.
I actually don't live in East L.A., I was just passing through.
Bloodstallion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-05, 11:56 PM   #22
cyclezealot
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
Posts: 13,172
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 425 Post(s)
Best reply of this thread...Teens will hassle you just because you are there...Does not make a difference what you wear...What they think does not effect my behavior one bit..Their habits..They have no room to criticize anyone..Wear what you want..In fact why not hassle the little @@@@@@@@. I am little emotional , once the little jerks hassled me in front of a high school...Spit ant hit me on the knee...
Great, in traffic; Caught up with them ...Spit back.
cyclezealot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-05, 12:41 AM   #23
rmwun54
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 898
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's the attitude of the youth from the environment, East LA and other communities of simular tude. I know out here in San Gabriel I don't get any juice for what I wear but in certain parts of Altadena I would. So I gernerallly dress according to what area I am about to ride through to fit the tude. Plain and simple if I roll through places where a lot of attitude is apparent and colorful graphics when I'm riding in places like Palos Verdes, Laguna beach, or Malibu. That is just how it is.
rmwun54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-05, 02:04 AM   #24
cyclezealot
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
Posts: 13,172
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 425 Post(s)
a consideration in many American cities...Stand out..YOu might get killed..reality..Glad not where, i live...I think.
cyclezealot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-05, 06:37 AM   #25
UziBeatle
Friar
 
UziBeatle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Bacliff, Texas
Bikes: Mutant Huffy six speed, Garage Sale Deluxe Cannondale HB-200 Modified Glintmaster
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
On the teenager bit, speaking from a 48 year old (male) perspective here:

I've come to the conclusion, after years of observational studies and personal experience of being a
male teenager once, that the typical male teen is mentally ********. The degree of *********** varies from
teen to teen and seems to be inversly proportional to age (the younger the teen the greater the degree of
***********).

So , one must cut them some slack. Thankfully not all male teens suffer from the malady
as severely as some of their cohorts. Most grow out of it, some do not.

Teenage females, I must say seem to not be nearly as mentally defective as their teen male counterparts

A simple proof of this. Ever notice how consistantly one sees male teens (especially at the younger age of the spectrum) ride their bikes all over the road and almost INVARIABLY on the wrong side as they just randomly ride in brownian motion fashion all over the roadway? I've found female teens, when I do see them riding which is rare, tend to behave in a more adult and mature way in so far as bicycling goes. THat said with sufficient contact with their more challanged opposite sex bretheren the '***********' can rub off and they too, can be affected. I do believe the affliction is communicable in some way.

I must comment on the 'being seen' aspect of clothing. I tend to wear the brightest orange, red, to yellowish tops I can find, be they button up shirts made from cotton to something more evaporative freindly. On occasion I put on something bright green but try to avoid that as it tends to blend with
Texas green flora about here.

What bugs me when I see other cyclists about our busy roads here is that many don't seem to comprehend the aspect of visabilty 'fashion'. I've seen too many in all black, or some other WAY unsuitable
color combination that leaves them very hard to see in anything but the brightest of lighting conditions. I've been known to make a well intentioned comment about visibilty color as I pass by the party in question.


I hope I haven't offended anyone but if I have, have a good day I know I will. Off to ride!
UziBeatle is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:51 AM.