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View Poll Results: Do you assist fellow cyclists...strangers?
I offer assistance to everyone that looks like they need the help. 58 60.42%
It depends on the situation. 35 36.46%
It's not my problem. 1 1.04%
I don't trust anyone. Too unsafe. 2 2.08%
Voters: 96. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-22-11, 11:55 PM   #1
ChrisM2097
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Assisting others (strangers) with repairs on the road.

Have you stopped to help someone out while riding?

If so, do you assist nearly everyone that looks like they need help?

Do you just mind your own business and continue on?

Do you feel that "it's not my problem", or is it more of a safety concern?

just curious as to how you all view/act/respond to those who seem to be in need of help.

I've been biking since I was a child, but have just recent really gotten into the sport. A couple weeks ago I saw a woman, riding alone, and her saddle was nearly verticle, with the front pointing up. She had no tools, and it pained me to see her attempt to ride like that (why she didn't walk, I don't know). So I stopped and offered to help, since I had the tools in my bag. The rest of my group kept going, but I figured i'd just try to catch up. Anyways, she was hesitant at first to let me help, but was very appreciative after.

This was on a very heavily used MUP (Los Gatos Creek Trail). I was kind of surprised that no one else stopped to help...our maybe I'm the only person that carries tools every time I ride.
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Old 08-22-11, 11:57 PM   #2
itsthewoo
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I will almost always stop to help if they look like they need it.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:10 AM   #3
caloso
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I will almost always stop to help if they look like they need it.
Me too.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:21 AM   #4
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I do what most cyclists I've encountered do ... I occasionally shout, "Are you OK?" or "Need some help?" to someone who looks like they are changing a tire or doing some other mechanical thing to their bicycles. But it depends ... if there are two or more people working on the bicycle by the side of the road, chances are I won't say anything. Two or more people can usually take care of themselves. Or if the person looks like he/she has pump, tire levers, spare tube etc., and looks like the situation is well in hand, I'll keep cycling. But if the person is standing there staring at his/her bicycle looking puzzled or frustrated, that's when I'll shout out an "Are you OK?"

I don't, however, offer suggestions to people who are actually riding their bicycles ... even if their saddles are at an odd angle, or are too low or too high, or whatever. I figure that's their personal preference and they can make those sorts of adjustments themselves. I also wouldn't want to insult anyone ... the person could be a long-time, experienced cyclist.

I bet there are people who would look at Rowan's and my Brooks saddles (especially Rowan's) and might think that the noses of our saddles are pointed up quite high ... when in fact, that's the recommended, and comfortable, way to position a B17.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:23 AM   #5
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I always stop for a fellow rider. Lent out my frame pump a few times.
A few years back on the Westside path in New York city, I saw an old
lady walking her bike, an old roadie. I noticed the back tire wasn't
turning as she walked. I stopped and asked her if she needed some help
with her bike, "Yes, please" was her reply. I quickly noticed her brakes
were dragging on one side, I only carry tools to fix a flat; so I couldn't
center it properly. But I just used my fingers and got the wheel spinning.
The lady was very thankful and asked if I passed this way all the time
so that maybe I can help her again in the future. I laughed and said yes.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:32 AM   #6
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I remember a time I had a problem with my front wheel and I really needed to get home in time since I was already getting late.
So without any tool am stranded and helpless.
People would just cycle past me and move ahead without getting concerned.
Lucky enough an old man who was doing his exercise rounds pulled over to check on me.

Well when you are in search a fix its when you get to realize how important it is to help those in need.
Today I can not pass on anybody who is having a mechanical problem!!!!!
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Old 08-23-11, 12:35 AM   #7
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I don't, however, offer suggestions to people who are actually riding their bicycles ... even if their saddles are at an odd angle, or are too low or too high, or whatever. I figure that's their personal preference and they can make those sorts of adjustments themselves. I also wouldn't want to insult anyone ... the person could be a long-time, experienced cyclist.

I bet there are people who would look at Rowan's and my Brooks saddles (especially Rowan's) and might think that the noses of our saddles are pointed up quite high ... when in fact, that's the recommended, and comfortable, way to position a B17.
If she was simply riding along I wouldn't have stopped. She looked like she was in pain, and frustrated. I saw her from quite a ways back and she was trying to fix the seat angle, but couldn't and mounted the bike anyways...that's when I stopped.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:53 AM   #8
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I have and continue to do so. The vast majority of the time, the cyclist is doing just fine when asked.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:18 AM   #9
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If I see someone stranded, I will ask if they need help or tools. The offer has been gratefully accepted on a couple of occasions.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:35 AM   #10
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In this age of mobile phones, I have become more egotistical. So, it really depends, whom is needing help, and where it is they're stranded.
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Old 08-23-11, 03:37 AM   #11
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I take the bus. Timing is important, so I may or may not stop. Also depends on what they look like.
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Old 08-23-11, 04:16 AM   #12
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I've asked a few stranded cyclists if they needed help and most said that they were okay.

I was out riding with friends in the Yorkshire Dales last year and spotted a cyclist with a flat rear tyre walking his bike along a quiet lane. We stopped to ask if he was okay and he told us that he was walking to somewhere where he could get off the road and phone his wife to come and get him. She was about 25 miles away!

He had a pump but no spare tube or patches. We offered to help him, but he said that he didn't need help. One of my friends gave him a couple of glueless patches and he said that he'd try fixing the tube when he got off the road but I could tell by the look on his face that he'd be straight on the phone once we had gone.

I don't understand how people can ride out in the middle of nowhere without the right spares, tools and knowledge to sort out the kind of problems that occur. And I really don't understand why a spouse would be happy to drop what they are doing and make a 50 mile round trip to pick up their partner in such circumstances!

On another occasion, I was having a snack at the top of a very steep hill during a local audax (randonneuring) event when I saw a cyclist walking up the hill with his chain wrapped round a stick. It had snapped halfway up the hill and he didn't have a chain tool. In fact he didn't even know what they were. He was very grateful when I offered to fix his chain for him and he said that he'd go and buy a tool the next day so he could fix his own chains in the future.

We got on pretty well and rode round the rest of the route together and he insisted on buying me coffee and cake at the audax control point which was located at a local cafe. I also bumped into him the following year and we rode together a second time.

On a different audax event, I had just descended a big hill when I encountered another rider walking his bike. I asked him if I could help, and he mumbled something which I didn't quite catch so I stopped and asked him to repeat it ...

Quote:
I said that it was nice of you to offer to help, but you won't be able to unless you have a spare set of forks in your bag!
And he pointed at the front of his bike ...



Yikes!

(Obviously there was nothing that I could do to fix that problem but I spoke to the organiser when I got back to event HQ and he told me that someone had driven over to pick up that rider and his broken bike.)
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Old 08-23-11, 06:14 AM   #13
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If I knew what I was doing I'd stop and help. I shouldn't admit this, but I couldn't even fix my own ride much less someone elses.
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Old 08-23-11, 07:15 AM   #14
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I stop. I was racing a triathlon last year and stopped once to help a kid who had dropped his chain. He was having obvious trouble getting it back on again. That one cost me. I looked later at the standings, and less than a minute would have moved me up quite a bit in my age group. I took quite a ribbing over that from my team mates. Oh well.
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Old 08-23-11, 07:40 AM   #15
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i always stop to see if someone needs help, on the road or definitely on a trail, and help them if they need it. it could be me someday, and has been me at least twice in the past.
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Old 08-23-11, 07:54 AM   #16
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I always stop. It seems that on the roads there's usually simple things to fix. On the MTB trails, the carnage is often too bad to fix. If that's the case I'll usually offer to take a note and give someone a phone call for them if they want. I've never come across a serious injury.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:03 AM   #17
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I've been helped out on the road because I'd stupidly left my frame pump on another bike and as this was in the days before cell phones and in a very lonely spot far from home it was a tremendous help.

I will always at least slow down and ask if a cyclist of any kind on the side of the road has what they need. It's just common courtesy and good karma.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:20 AM   #18
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I always ask if everything is okay before continuing on, because I have been that cyclist before.

I have only actually had to help twice, but just the other day I was riding with my father who had decided to attempt a route a bit longer than he could handle (new to cycling!) and with sunset an hour away, we decided that I should go ahead without him to get to the car and I could backtrack and pick him up. Being new to cycling he hasn't gotten everything needed to be self sufficient just yet, and I decided to leave tools/pump etc. with him.Two miles away from the end of the route the chain on my fixed gear jumped off of the rear cog and lodged itself between the cog and the spokes on the rear wheels. I was stranded. Fortunately a cyclist riding by stopped and offered help. Using his chain tool I was able to unlodge the chain and coast most of the way back (~2miles). Would have put the chain back together but his tool was only good for road chains.

I just feel that what goes around comes around. I am grateful for any and all help I've received on the road and am glad to offer the same help to others as well.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:35 AM   #19
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Since you didn't clarify the situation I said it depends on the situation.
If I see a bicyclist on our back roads that looks to need help, certainly I stop.
If I see a bunch of thugs in a car in bad section of town that look like they need help...sorry.

Last edited by bigbadwullf; 08-23-11 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsthewoo View Post
I will almost always stop to help if they look like they need it.
I'll actually always ask if they look like they need help or not. You never know when you're going to need the good karma.
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Old 08-23-11, 05:14 PM   #21
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I always ask if they have everything they need. 95% of the time they say "Yes." and I continue on without stopping.

I don't carry hardly anything with me beyond what's necessary to fix a flat tire. I have made a few on-the-spot derailleur adjustments and even one or two derailleur hanger alignment adjustments.

It's been a long time but I remember having a flat tire on the Katy Trail. In the 10 minutes or so that it took me to fix the flat I had so many offers of help that it was funny almost to the point of irritation.
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Old 08-23-11, 05:35 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BicycleAndBikes View Post
I remember a time I had a problem with my front wheel and I really needed to get home in time since I was already getting late.
So without any tool am stranded and helpless.
People would just cycle past me and move ahead without getting concerned.
Lucky enough an old man who was doing his exercise rounds pulled over to check on me.

So you carry tools now?

Just curious, why do riders in need think it's the duty of the other riders to ask. Why does that rider in need not ask?

I myself ride by make eye contact but most seem to be smart enough to be self sufficient. If they do need something, they better speak up. If not, it must not have been that important.

Puzzles me that riders do things like spring for a $200 saddle take it on a first ride but can't spend $1 for an allen wrench. I have riders all the time approach me asking for a wrench to adjust their new saddles. It's annoying, having to unpack my bag to provide a tool they should be carrying. This happens once or twice a week.
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Old 08-23-11, 07:09 PM   #23
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Never came across the situation but would definitely stop.

Actually, I was driving someplace the other day and saw a guy changing his tire. I think I was on my way to pick up my kids at the babysitter. It was evident he had things under control and there was a gas station about 100 yards away where he could fill the tire if needed. I figured there was nothing I could do for him that he wasn't already doing and since the kids were waiting for me... If he looked stranded or helpless, I would have offered to help him for sure but this guy was already putting it back together.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:13 PM   #24
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I always ask, though never actually helped someone, they either didn't need help, or needed something I didn't have. We did run across someone with some medical issue, but there were already 4 people stopped, and since neither of us have medical training, we didn't stop. I figure the best thing I could offer was a cell call, but most likely one of them had a phone with a signal.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:22 PM   #25
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I said depends. I don't stop for Shady Grady when I'm with my SO but usually, yeah.
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