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  1. #1
    Senior Member hshearer's Avatar
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    Not-so-supportive family members

    I'm 37, and my mom just forbade me from riding my bike to work! I've recently moved back to my hometown, and it's not going over too well that I ride to work... I guess in their experience, they last saw me riding residential streets to school in nice weather, and are suddenly able to visualize me riding a 40 mile round trip on highways they know well, with snow still on the ground (though not on the paved shoulder). They seem to have forgotten that I've been doing this all my adult life. Suddenly, they are also trying to work out all the work-image logistics (locker room plus panniers... No big deal). My mom is firmly in the roads are for cars camp, my dad is worried I'll be run over.

    How have your experiences explaining commuting to your family been? Does the passage of time help ease their fear? Any tips? I've just been firm that I'm aware of the risks and do my best to minimize them, but that I'm not willing to give up the joy I get from riding in favor of a bus or car.

  2. #2
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Are you living with your parents?
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  3. #3
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    LOL! I'm 40 and I was grounded by my mom a couple of years ago because I rode my bicycle to visit her.

    So, yeah, looking for advice too. My mom did offer me money to give away my bike. I think she mean she'd buy me a monthly TTC pass. I refused and said my bike was much better even on torrential rainy days than any bus or subway.


  4. #4
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Perhaps you could try to convince them that you are riding responsibly.... assuming you are. Sheesh. Parents.... can't live with them... can't live without them. Fortunately, my cats don't care if I commute by bike.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  5. #5
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hshearer View Post
    I'm 37...
    ...my mom just forbade me...
    What's wrong with this picture?


    Maybe I'm lucky, when I first talked about cycling out to visit my parents (80-odd miles away) they thought it would be a great thing for me to do. Unfortunately it never happened before my mum died but recently I made the trip and my dad was thrilled for me.

    Maybe you're unlucky, or maybe you just need to tell your mum that you're 37 years old and quite capable of making decisions for yourself.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  6. #6
    Mirror slap survivor
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    I'm 41 and my mom still voices concern when I tell her I rode my bike somewhere. I'd say her concern is misguided, but I was hit by a truck about 5 years ago. I wasn't injured, but she did get the call to come to the emergency room. I imagine seeing your first born son strapped to a back board with a C collar on tends to worry a mother a bit.

    I still ride, but just to keep her worry low, I avoid the area where I was hit.
    "When I'm on a bike, it's like I'm 14 again, racing off to the arcade with a pocket full of quarters."

  7. #7
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    My parents know I ride, and worry about it. We just don't talk about it. I rode my bike to and from their house once just to prove I could do it, but I won't do it again out of consideration for the fact they worried about it.

    My wife supports me and that's all that matters. I moved back home twice in my adult life, and it didn't work either time. I didn't make it more than a week before moving out, because I couldn't go back to their rules.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Vlaam4ever's Avatar
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    This is one of the saddest threads I have ever read.

  9. #9
    Senior Member shriekingmonkey's Avatar
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    LOL. I'm 41 and started bike commuting last year. My wife was talking on the phone with my mother-in-law and telling her about it, and she asked, quite seriously, "Does his MOTHER know what he's doing?"

  10. #10
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vlaam4ever View Post
    This is one of the saddest threads I have ever read.
    +1

    It's a parents job to be concerned for the safety of their children no matter how old or independent they are. She's doing that, it's instinctual.

    It is also a parents job to be respectful, accepting, and ultimately supportive of the choices that their adult children make regarding their lives even if that is not the choice they would make for themselves. She's not doing that, and that's a behavioral choice.

    Unless she has physically disabled your bike somehow get your ass on it and keep riding it until she does accept you for who you are and what you want to do. Is she going to kick you out of the family for bike riding? Please....

  11. #11
    tsl
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    Cut the cord and grow up.

    If at 37 you still need Mommy's approval, I feel really bad for you. There's a growth stage where people outgrow that. It's called adolescence. Grow up finally.

    As for parents of adult children meddling in their kids' lives, they need to get a life of their own.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  12. #12
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    Mothers will be mothers. Its in their job description (probably their DNA). I am mid 50s, have children in college, have not lived at home since the mid 1970s, I started bike commuting in 2002 or 2003 and year-round for the past several years. When the subject comes up (not often), my mother still cautions me and thinks I am crazy. She'd be on the phone daily about it if I lived in the same town (plus add the people she knows who'd see me and have to say something, usually along the lines of "what's wrong that he can't afford to drive? Or take a bus?". They mean well. No matter how old, accomplished, or mature you have become, deep down, you are still and will always be their little boy.

  13. #13
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    I'm in my 40s. My mother lives 700 miles away. I call her regularly.
    Car-Free IT Geek
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  14. #14
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    Wow, I'm kind of surprised at the level of resistance to cycling some of you guys get. I'm more thankful than ever for supportive parents. I started riding my bike everywhere in 7th grade and I never heard any negative feedback. I even got hit by a car once & my parents had to pick me up from the hospital (where I woke up), but they still never gave me any grief. I lived with them when I cycle-commuted to my first job out of school 35 miles round trip. Getting grief about the ride would certainly kill some of the joy I get out of bike commuting.

  15. #15
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks1g View Post
    Mothers will be mothers. Its in their job description (probably their DNA). I am mid 50s, have children in college, have not lived at home since the mid 1970s, I started bike commuting in 2002 or 2003 and year-round for the past several years. When the subject comes up (not often), my mother still cautions me and thinks I am crazy. She'd be on the phone daily about it if I lived in the same town (plus add the people she knows who'd see me and have to say something, usually along the lines of "what's wrong that he can't afford to drive? Or take a bus?". They mean well. No matter how old, accomplished, or mature you have become, deep down, you are still and will always be their little boy.
    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    I'm in my 40s. My mother lives 700 miles away. I call her regularly.
    There's a world of difference between mothers being concerned, with adult children staying in contact with their parents, and parents of people in their 30s laying down the law like the OP described.

    My parents may not approve of every single thing I do but I'm long past the age where they had any right to forbid me to do anything I chose.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  16. #16
    Senior Member SuncoastChad's Avatar
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    I understand your situation. I don't personally have that issue, but can appreciate the concern. I have three sons: 1 a former Marine, 1 active Army, and the third is a 19 year old who rides his bicycle EVERYWHERE while earning the money for his motorcycle.
    My wife "worries" about the boys a whole lot more than I do. Fortunately, we are a military family (I'm retired USAF) and so risks are just a part of our lives.

    As long as you can laugh about it, it's OK. Unless Mom is offering to buy a car, pay the insurance, and keep a replacement vehicle on tap I'm thinking you are pretty much on your own in deciding how to get to work and around town. Me? I'd hug her and get on the bike!
    Before hitting "Enter" or "Send" ask yourself: Is this true? Is this kind? Is this NECESSARY?
    I once had a Colnago/Campy bike built in Italy...then life caught up with me!
    Now I ride a Schwinn Beach cruiser to work!
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  17. #17
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vlaam4ever View Post
    This is one of the saddest threads I have ever read.
    +2

  18. #18
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    i'm 36. my mom still worries about my riding. hell, she worries about EVERYTHING, she's a mom, she worries when i walk across a street, she can't help it, it's instinctual for her, it's in her DNA. but fortunately she has learned not to vocalize that worry because she knows that i'll just make fun of her for it.

    then last spring when i got hit by a bus on a ride to work one morning, i tried to keep the accident from her for her own protection, but news of the incident did eventually get back to her and i had to hear about that one:

    "you were nearly killed by a bus and you didn't even bother to tell you own mother!?!"

    "mom, i wasn't nearly killed, stopped being so dramatic."

    "i could have lost my baby boy and you didn't feel it was necessary to call me!?!"

    "i didn't call you because i knew it would only upset you."

    "i'll tell you what upsets me, my own son not telling me when he's been in a serious accident."

    "ughhhhhhhhhhh"



    sometimes, you just can't win.

    my dad is chill though, he understands the immutable truth of the universe that a man is gonna do what a man wants to do.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  19. #19
    Senior Member njschmidt's Avatar
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    Haha, too funny. My mom voices less concern about my safety, and more about "what others will think" when they see me cycling around town (and how I won't find a "nice girl" to settle down with because they'll think I'm weird for biking everywhere). I think of it as a good filter, though... Would I really want to date somebody who judged me for liking to ride a bicycle?
    The Obesyclist, where I'll blog about my cycling journey towards leading a more physically active life.


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  20. #20
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    Tell mom you'll just run on the dreadmill at the gym, and ride the stationary bike, and die in a firey car crash, or from a heart attack like a proper American. She should be thrilled with your willingness to conform.

    Joe

  21. #21
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    I understand resistance from family members. What I don't understand is peoples inability to comprehend that. Bizarre as it seems to some...my Mom wants me to outlive her. That's not going to change whether I'm 20, 30, or 60. That means she will resist any attempts of mine to skydive, buy a motorcycle, ride a bike on the road, or do mixed martial arts. She regularly "forbids" me from riding my bike...especially at night. It doesn't mean I actually listen...but I respectfully disobey. While she has come to accept that I am going to ride she often isn't happy about it.

    As for the OP's question. They will "accept" that you are going to ride no matter what. Just keep in mind they will never be happy about it. That's okay. It's just because they care about you.

  22. #22
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    My parents don't really seem to mind. It's been a while before my wife became more or less cool with it though. Then we watched a movie over the weekend where the protagonist was riding her bike and got hit and killed and now I know it's on her mind again.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  23. #23
    idc
    idc is offline
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    My dad is car-free when he lives in his city apartment (has a folding bike), but he still thinks I overdo it because I ride through suburbs and do faster group rides etc. He thinks narrow tire/"big" wheel designs are stupid and impractical. I sort of agree but it's just too fun.

    My wife is fully supportive though she worries a bit from time-to-time. She's happy whenever I get one of the kids out the house with me on my hybrid though!

  24. #24
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    I'm thankful I have parents who treat me as an adult rather than a child. They don't offer opinions unless asked. We have a great relationship but it is on an adult level. They did their job raising me and they feel comfortable that I can make my own decisions. I think people give their parents and others too much control over their lives. You have no control over what someone else, like a parent, will do or say, but you have control over what you do in response to it. Be an adult. I do no advocate disrespecting parents, but you cannot allow them to control your life, your life will be a constant battle zone if you allow. Bicycling is only one small thing, but if you are married they will cause problems with your marriage. Be an adult, love your parents, but be an adult.

  25. #25
    Randomhead
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    this is what you get for not properly torturing your parents as a teenager. I used to really hate it when I would get into old patterns with my parents, now I have forgotten the part I am supposed to play so it doesn't happen.

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