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  1. #1
    500 Watts kill.cactus's Avatar
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    I thanked a commuter today

    Do you do this?

    Walking through the downtown section of Ann Arbor, I noticed a woman packing a laptop into her panniers and mounting them on a bike. I stopped and said "Thank you for using your bike as opposed to a car." She said she loved biking and wished more people would see it as a viable form of transport.

    Other people heard this. I really think the sense of community bike commuters have can be strengthened by just thanking people for commuting by bike, or acknowledging them on your way. Plus, others hear it and may get to thinking...

  2. #2
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    No. I like cars also.
    mmmm....co2.
    Yummy.

    Actually, I like to mind my own business. Plus, there are quite a few cyclocommuters around in Denver. That would make for a long day.

    Oh I am not saying mind your own business. Merely that I like my alone time.

  3. #3
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    Yeah, I do it sometimes.

    It makes me especially happy to see girls on bikes. I'm a girl, and it's rare to see other women that are serious about bikes for fun and for transportation. And I live in a college town where there are thousands of bikes, which makes it extra sad. There are other gals that ride bikes around here, of course, but they tend to ride walmart bikes that don't fit and make noise, not because they enjoy cycling, but because it's faster than walking and they don't have cars. There are of course, the athletic racing types, which is also cool by me, but not to the point that I'd make conversation over it.

    It's so refreshing to see another girl using a practical bike. It's only happened once in the 2 months I've been here. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to stop and chat.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BikeManDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
    I stopped and said "Thank you for using your bike as opposed to a car."
    Never crossed my mind to approach someone with this statement. Kind of a creepy vibe going there...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwoloz View Post
    Never crossed my mind to approach someone with this statement. Kind of a creepy vibe going there...
    Yeah. A brief and friendly exchange between two people who share a common interest. Really creepy.

    Jalopy

  6. #6
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
    Do you do this?
    (SNIP)
    Other people heard this. I really think the sense of community bike commuters have can be strengthened by just thanking people for commuting by bike, or acknowledging them on your way. Plus, others hear it and may get to thinking...
    Do I do this? No. Your heart may be in the right place but your head is lost in wishful thinking. I think you will be disappointed with the results from your effort.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 10-07-07 at 06:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BikeManDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalopy View Post
    Yeah. A brief and friendly exchange between two people who share a common interest. Really creepy.

    Jalopy
    You've never lived in a big city have you
    Heres how I look at it:
    "Hello person I have no connection to, I was studying you from a distance and noticed you like what I like and I'd like to give you thanks for that, please be my friend"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwoloz View Post
    You've never lived in a big city have you
    Heres how I look at it:
    "Hello person I have no connection to, I was studying you from a distance and noticed you like what I like and I'd like to give you thanks for that, please be my friend"
    The city I currently live in is roughly the same size as the city that the original poster lives in. I've lived and commuted in cities as large as Toronto.

    I've never considered thanking a fellow commuter either but I do nod, wave, say good-morning quite frequently (even in "big cities" - gasp). Are these actions also "kind of creepy"?

    Jalopy

  9. #9
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalopy View Post
    The city I currently live in is roughly the same size as the city that the original poster lives in. I've lived and commuted in cities as large as Toronto.

    I've never considered thanking a fellow commuter either but I do nod, wave, say good-morning quite frequently (even in "big cities" - gasp). Are these actions also "kind of creepy"?

    Jalopy

    I've been all around Ontario and lived throughout the US...all I can say is Canucks are greatly different than Americans, and you should know that. In Canadia it's not creepy...in Michigan, very.

  10. #10
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
    "Thank you for using your bike as opposed to a car."

    It's obvious that we are just better people than all the cagers because we burn a few less gallons of gas and are in better shape. Everybody should ride a bike just like us.

  11. #11
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    I have lived in NYC my entire life, and if I have learned one thing about life in a big city, it is that interactions with your fellow humans are exactly as creepy as you make them. If you're afraid of or intimidated by strangers, people will indeed be creeped out when you talk to them. If you have a sincere, open, and friendly attitude, my experience is that most people will react in kind.

  12. #12
    There's time now icedmocha's Avatar
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    I havern't thanked a fellow commuter (I have only seen maybe three or four in two or three years), but I have been thanked by a co-worker. I don't see anything creepy about it, but I live in a smaller town. When I commute through town people always say "good morning", etc.

  13. #13
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by discosaurus View Post
    ...not because they enjoy cycling, but because it's faster than walking and they don't have cars.
    Yet, isn't that one of the basic reasons for using bikes as transportation? Maybe they're only "making do" at this point, but hopefully they'll warm up to the idea and continue biking after college (even if they have to spend a couple years with a car before remembering their college biking days).

    Quote Originally Posted by threephi View Post
    I have lived in NYC my entire life, and if I have learned one thing about life in a big city, it is that interactions with your fellow humans are exactly as creepy as you make them. If you're afraid of or intimidated by strangers, people will indeed be creeped out when you talk to them. If you have a sincere, open, and friendly attitude, my experience is that most people will react in kind.
    I've noticed that, too; it's interesting. In small towns, where everyone knows everyone, it's easy to have whole conversations with a random person on the street. In medium-sized towns & cities, it's not like that; you know who you know, but other people are always "other" people, and they want to keep their space. When the city gets big & dense enough, it's like a sense of "default neighborliness" or something -- it's like everybody knows that they're in this together, and they'll treat each other as if they all have some insider knowledge.

    I've been in towns & cities of all sizes all over the US, and NYC still feels unique in that sense. It's a pretty terrific experience.

  14. #14
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwoloz View Post
    You've never lived in a big city have you
    Heres how I look at it:
    "Hello person I have no connection to, I was studying you from a distance and noticed you like what I like and I'd like to give you thanks for that, please be my friend"
    I hear "My friends and I noticed you have a laptop we could easily trade for drugs so we hatched this plan where I distract you so they can sneak up from behind and jump you".

    Just like when some random stranger walks up and asks "do you have the right time?" or "do you have a cigarette?" I hear "why don't you get distracted so you don't see what we have coming up behind you"

    Call me paranoid but it's saved my skin a couple of times.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  15. #15
    500 Watts kill.cactus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by threephi View Post
    I have lived in NYC my entire life, and if I have learned one thing about life in a big city, it is that interactions with your fellow humans are exactly as creepy as you make them. If you're afraid of or intimidated by strangers, people will indeed be creeped out when you talk to them. If you have a sincere, open, and friendly attitude, my experience is that most people will react in kind.
    Haha, yeah I get everyone's criticism. However I've had a ton of positive feedback. I'm attune to how people feel about me (especially strangers) and I've never gotten the "um... weirdo" vibe. I do live in a very liberal college town, so usually people are very happy and positive about exchanges with fellow riders.

    Maybe if you tried it with a sincere face people might change your mind.

    Oh, and I'm 16 so it isn't like I'm some old guy. yeah maybe that makes the difference... never thought about that

  16. #16
    500 Watts kill.cactus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    I hear "My friends and I noticed you have a laptop we could easily trade for drugs so we hatched this plan where I distract you so they can sneak up from behind and jump you".

    Just like when some random stranger walks up and asks "do you have the right time?" or "do you have a cigarette?" I hear "why don't you get distracted so you don't see what we have coming up behind you"

    Call me paranoid but it's saved my skin a couple of times.
    Actually I can't argue - I've seen two things on Discovery Channel about assaults or muggings involving more than one person.

    Good point. I'll keep that in mind :/

    Even pick pocketing

  17. #17
    hiphopopotamus wolfbrother's Avatar
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    wow. a thread about a friendly exchange between 2 strangers turned into paranoia about being mugged. nice work, guys.

  18. #18
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kill.cactus View Post
    Actually I can't argue - I've seen two things on Discovery Channel about assaults or muggings involving more than one person.
    Yeah, and I read something in the newspaper about space aliens impregnating earth women with babies who will grow up to be members of the left-wing media bias and turn all members of their generation gay.

    EDIT: this thread is full of weird.
    Last edited by lil brown bat; 10-08-07 at 10:38 AM.

  19. #19
    ****** squegeeboo's Avatar
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    I've had people thank me before. If it's something simple, or a thumbs up as they pass in a car thats great. If it's them blatantly going out of their way to thank me and go into a mini-green tirade it's more weird than awesome.
    In the words of Einstein
    "And now I think I'll take a bath"

  20. #20
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    It doesn't really matter to me what vehicle a person uses to get around, as long as they're not being an idiot and using that vehicle in a dangerous manner. I wouldn't ever thank someone for using a bicycle instead of a car, but then again, I'm only doing this for myself. Those who are doing this for the environment or some other broader cause might have a reason to thank someone else for bicycling.

    I agree, bicycling offers a more personal experience with other members of the community who aren't in cars. That's pretty cool. I often greet walkers and cyclists as I encounter them. I just don't thank them.
    ax0n: Geeky and bikey
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  21. #21
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    As usual, it all depends on the specific circumstances. It could be done in a creepy way, like if you force the bicyclist to the curb, leap out of your car and rush at them to give them your greetings. On the other end, it could be a simple thumbs up as you pass them.

    Done properly I don't have a problem. I usually figure that a motorist saying that they approve of what I do may encourage them to move towards bike commuting themselves. I've had plenty of negative interactions with drivers, so a positive one is always welcome.

  22. #22
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
    wow. a thread about a friendly exchange between 2 strangers turned into paranoia about being mugged. nice work, guys.
    I didn't read anything at all about an "exchange between" two strangers . More like one stranger confronting another with a gratuitous, and rather peculiar, compliment. Though the one stranger may mean well, the other might not be in the mood for dealing with a pushy "friendly" stranger and may not react kindly to the intrusion into his privacy. Not every commuting bicyclist will consider himself a member of the pushy stranger's "community," nor welcome such a one way "friendly exchange."

  23. #23
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Yet, isn't that one of the basic reasons for using bikes as transportation? Maybe they're only "making do" at this point, but hopefully they'll warm up to the idea and continue biking after college (even if they have to spend a couple years with a car before remembering their college biking days).
    Hopefully, that's the idea. But it usually doesn't turn out that way.

    I guess my beef with "making do" with a bike is that I'd like to see more people enjoying EVERYTHING they do. If there's no passion for an activity, no matter if it's cycling, building model airplanes, education, whatev. why bother at all? That said, I doubt most people that use cars as transportation are very passionate about them, either. We really need to reassess our priorities.

    Anyway, other people's motivations are far more complicated than I can imagine, so I'm not discounting anyone's choices or compromises. The point is I'd like to see people outwardly happy more often. It's even more exciting when it's something that makes me happy, too. I'd likely go out of my way to make conversation with someone who rides a bike with a big, silly grin (like I do!) than someone with a killing face on.

  24. #24
    okay maybe not. mmerner's Avatar
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    If someone thanked me for commuting by bike, I'd be too confused to ride and crash in to the nearest ditch or wall.
    question everything.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I didn't read anything at all about an "exchange between" two strangers . More like one stranger confronting another with a gratuitous, and rather peculiar, compliment. Though the one stranger may mean well, the other might not be in the mood for dealing with a pushy "friendly" stranger and may not react kindly to the intrusion into his privacy. Not every commuting bicyclist will consider himself a member of the pushy stranger's "community," nor welcome such a one way "friendly exchange."
    To me it seems fairly obvious from the OP that this exchange was, in fact, mutual and friendly. Perhaps I, as a Canadian, am not only creepily friendly but also have trouble with simple reading comprehension.

    Jalopy

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