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Old 06-12-11, 11:17 AM   #1
Sjixxxy
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Are people friendlier while you bike?

A few weeks back I got the notion in my head that I I bought a bike, I could use it help increase my productivity as a photographer by allowing me to carry my heavier gear further than I'd be able to on foot. I picked up a sweet old Schwinn Collegiate of the local Craigslist a few weeks ago, and have been building it up to carry my photography equipment. When all is said & done and its fully loaded, the whole mess of things should top the 50 pound mark.

I haven't got it rigged up yet to carry my load, but I've still been taking it out daily just to get my body conditioned to riding. What I've taken notice of if that a whole lot more percentage of people seem to say hello, wave, or give a "how do you do" as I pass near while on bike. When I set out on foot, the most I ever seem to get from people is a little courtesy nod that only happens if I pass within five feet of someone.

Am I crazy, or do bystanders seem to respond better to people on bikes?

I've only been at this for a little over a week, so I'm not sure if it is just a statistical anomaly or not. I sure hope it isn't as my main subject of photography interest is other people as they go about their day-to-day lives. If they tend to keep opening up in a way I've never experience while on foot, this can only be a boon for my art.

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Old 06-12-11, 12:02 PM   #2
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I think it's because you're not walking right into someone's personal space - I find the same thing. They close down and don't look when you walk past but smile and wave and chirp hello when you ride past. Even if you stop and say hello!
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Old 06-12-11, 12:20 PM   #3
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I've been mainly noticing this mostly from people who's personal space I wouldn't be entering even if walking. People on their decks, in their yard, across the road. Does being on a bike just give off a friendlier image?
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Old 06-12-11, 12:39 PM   #4
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Yes, it matters not if you are riding a MUP or roads, people find it easier to smile or wave than if you were on foot or in a car. Guess we seem less threatening..
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Old 06-12-11, 05:30 PM   #5
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No.
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Old 06-12-11, 07:29 PM   #6
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I think biking is somewhat like sailing. Out on the water people will wave merrily to each other while on the street they might not even notice each other's existence. Perhaps it has to do with the contagious spirit of fun that exists in certain activities. If you really want to enhance the experience try wearing bike shorts and a colorful jersey. I am constantly getting waves and smiles from pretty girls (at least until they get close enough to see how old I am!)
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Old 06-12-11, 11:03 PM   #7
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I think people assosciate bicycling with "playing" and everyone likes to see someone having a good time!

Sounds funny, but in my case it's true. I gave up my truck and motorcycles and bicycle full time, so people try and label me some kind of "serious" cyclist when really, at least 90% of the time, I'm having fun when I'm on my bike, whether I'm going to work, the store, or just around in circles! So, I guess they're right..
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Old 06-13-11, 06:21 PM   #8
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Generally I'm in a better mood when I'm on a ride, so it's probably telegraphed to some extent to others who naturally reciprocate. I generally don't wish a good morning as I meet others on a city sidewalk, but I tend to say that to other riders and pedestrians I pass on a pleasant rural or path ride.
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Old 06-14-11, 02:46 AM   #9
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I've met my fair share of cool people while riding my bike on either serious rides or bike party shindigs. It's a totally different world than being enclosed around steel and glass.
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Old 06-14-11, 01:52 PM   #10
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I vote for the "contagious spirit of fun!" (thks, Sculptor7).

I moved out of the big city a few years ago, but still go back occaisionally. I go for a ride around town whenever I am there visiting the in-laws, and I stop at every stop sign, yeild the right-of-way to every pedestrian on the MUP, and I get nothing but smiles from just about everyone! When I lived in the city I guess I saw myself as more of a 'road warrior,' and the reaction was more mixed.. I was beginning to think maybe my polite behaivior was the cause, but more likely the fact thsat I am relaxed and happy and smiling is what gets a happier response.
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Old 06-14-11, 02:08 PM   #11
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If you really want to see friendly people, get a trike. Especially a recumbent one. I have upright adult "granny" trikes and a recumbent tadpole trike. I get the most positive feedback while riding the recumbent, but I get a lot of it on the upright trike too.

This is the trike I usually ride. I bet something like this would be good for carrying photography gear. Notice it's being used to carry my brand-new Dahon Speed D7 home from REI. I am car-lite.


Worksman Port-O-Trike carrying Dahon Speed D7 by kittyz202, on Flickr
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