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  1. #1
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    Stopping for someone fixing a flat

    I was out on a ride today, and got a flat right at my turnaround point. I stopped to take a bite of a granola bar, and somehow got a flat. It seems to happen a lot. Is the only way to beat this to never stop when I'm out riding? Sigh, anyway...

    There were at least 10 other cyclists who passed by on the road as I was fixing my flat on the sidewalk. Only 2 bothered to ask if I was okay. The others just leaned deeper on their aerobars and continued focusing hard on...not looking at me as I waved? Keep in mind, I'm 16.

    Is it normal for 80% of cyclists to not ask if someone fixing a flat needs help? Do you slow down and ask the person if they need anything? Why or why not?

  2. #2
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I'll usually ask someone if they need help, but if it is just a flat, they'll usually just say "thanks, I've got it handled". I did have two people recently take me up on my offer of help. One was a guy who had expended all his CO2 cartridges and needed my frame pump. The other time was a woman who was walking her bike on the trail. Her stem was loose and she just needed an Allen wrench to tighten it.

    I guess most folks take a look as they roll past and if it looks like you have things handled they just press on.
    Last edited by Yo Spiff; 06-09-12 at 04:47 PM.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  3. #3
    Senior Member apollored's Avatar
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    I did help a young lad about your age when I was on my way to my bike club, he had a puncture kit but no tyre levers or spanner so couldnt take his wheel off or access his inner tube.

    I had levers so we managed to get the tube out of the tyre and patch the puncture which was very obvious and a big hole.

    I then pumped it up for him and sent him on his way with advice to purchase a spanner or tyre levers at least.

    Saved him a long walk anyway
    Apollo Revival MTB AKA Sunshine

  4. #4
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Friday I passed two cyclists with flats, the first said he didn't need help and the second did ask for some tire levers. I almost always will offer aid.

    However, several weeks ago I passed a kid about 16 or 17 walking his bike. He asked for some air and of course it didn't hold (tires are usually flat because there's a hole LOL) I'd have patched his tube if he asked, but I gathered from our conversation that he had no intention of learning how and habitually "took it in" to fix flats, beneath him or something like that. So I just continued on. I'm not saying that your situation was anything like that, but attitude counts for a lot.

  5. #5
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    I ask people if they need help, especially if they don't have tools or know what to do. If asked, I will just say "I am good" should no help be needed. One day I had a flat and changed it in front of a college when a guy on a BMX rolled up and told me that I should use thorn resistant tubes. I told him that I was good with what I had and needed to get to work. He sat on his bike and stared at me for a few minutes which I thought was annoying yet he never offered help. Some people!
    Two Wheels One Love

  6. #6
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    I did have all of my tools out on the sidewalk, which might be why some people assumed I was fine and didn't offer any help.

  7. #7
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    On a busy cycling road, if you're bent over fixing a flat I usually won't bother you. If you look like you need something I'll slow down and make sure you're OK.

    If we're in the middle of nowhere, I'll slow down and ask no matter what.

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    As much as anything else, the change here shows how cycling has changed since I started riding in college in the '70s. In those days I might see from zero to two cyclists on my 25-mile round trip commute, and if anyone was stopped, you'd always ask it they had what they needed.
    Today I see a dozen or so cyclists, twice that on weekends, and almost no one stops. Too busy going fast or something. Doesn't affect me, because I carry what I need, but I regret the loss of camaraderie. It's weird, too, that if I stop to offer help, which I almost always do, many people seem to resent it. Don't want to take help from a gray-haired guy?
    And I'm amazed at the number of people I see with no tools, no patch kit, no pump. Get a flat, give up and reach for the phone.

  9. #9
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    241, I grew up in a very small town in upstate New York so long ago that it may as well have been in a universe far, far away. I knew everyone in this town any everyone knew me. We had the same milkman for about 20 years and the same mailman for the same amount of time. The sheriff deputies, teachers and shop owners were all neighbors. This situation produces community wherein one cares about everyone else. In large part, this sort of situation is gone except for small town America and fewer people than ever live in small towns.

    Nevertheless, here in America and other places also, I have received at helping hand a crucial points. My attitude, from my dad, is to pay it forward. So regardless of how others may behave, you follow your standards and do your best to add positive actions to the world we all live in. I would suggest the reason we are all on this forum is, at heart, a search for community

  10. #10
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I always ask. I was driving once and had all my stuff in the back and give a guy & tube and got him pumped up & going.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  11. #11
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    On my way to work last year I came across a middle aged man who had come a serious buster. About 5 guys were stopped helping him. Poor chap had no recollection of what had happened. Just came-to on side of the MUP with skin off everywhere.

  12. #12
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    Thursday I had a flat on a section of highway just outside town and two cars stopped to see if I needed help. Same thing happened last fall when I got a flat. I was a bit surprised both times it happened.

    Cyclists passing me out on the highway usually ask if I need help even if I'm just stopped having a snack.

  13. #13
    Conservative Hippie
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    I would have stopped and asked if I could help, but in my neck-of-the-woods so would a lot of motorists. I have learned to not stop on the highway around here. Someone will want to offer assistance.

    I stop for motorists sitting on the side of the road. At least I can offer the use of my cell. I once asked a dump truck driver if he needed a tow. He thought that was pretty funny.

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    Senior Member Nitram612's Avatar
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    I guess I just assume that if someone is fixing a flat they already have the tools for the job. I got one last summer and someone stopped to see if I needed help, he almost seemed disappointed when he saw my tire levers, patch kit, and pump out.

  15. #15
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I always ask if people need help when they're on the side of the road. I always carry a couple of spare tubes, tools and first aid kit. I got to help out a couple of times, and got help myself a couple of times when it was needed. I think it's important to always make sure the fellow cyclist is OK.

  16. #16
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    If someone looks like they are busy fixing a flat, I won't ask. But when I see a cyclist standing at the side of the road, I ask if they need anything. So far the answer has been no, but they always thank me for asking.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  17. #17
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GP View Post
    On a busy cycling road, if you're bent over fixing a flat I usually won't bother you. If you look like you need something I'll slow down and make sure you're OK.

    If we're in the middle of nowhere, I'll slow down and ask no matter what.
    This is pretty much what I do too.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  18. #18
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    Like most others here I wont usually offer help if it looks like the person has it under control (has tools out and looks busy). Once I did ask a guy who was playing with something and offered help but he needed to allen wrenches and I only had one multitool so I wasn't able to help afterall; lucky for the guy the biggest REI in the state was only a quarter mile away. Also if I see a cyclist that looks distressed and is standing next to their bike I ask if they are ok. Other than that I pretty much do my own thing.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    If I'm on stuck on the side of the road and need something that I can likely get from a passing cyclist, I will attempt to flag down said cyclist rather than simply hoping he/she asks. Reciprocally, when I pass a cyclist stopped on the side of the road I deliberately look at them and expect that if they need something, they'll indicate it to me in some way.

    There are not a lot of cyclists on the roads where I typically ride and it's been pretty common for passing motorists, and even a police car in one recent instance, to slow and ask if I need assistance.

  20. #20
    Still spinnin'..... Stealthammer's Avatar
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    I always stop and offer assistance to anyone who appears to be disabled on the road whether they are driving a car or riding a bicycle or motorcycle. Its just the way I was brought up, and having been a mechanic, fabricator, and machinist for most of my life I have had many instances where I was able to help someone out, even if it is just to loan someone my cell phone. I've actually met some people who have later become good friends this way......
    Just your average 'high-functioning' lunatic, capable of passing as 'normal' for short periods of time.....

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.” - Albert Einstein

    “We all know that light travels faster than sound. That's why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.” - Albert Einstein

  21. #21
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFourOne View Post
    I did have all of my tools out on the sidewalk, which might be why some people assumed I was fine and didn't offer any help.
    That's exactly what I would have assumed.

  22. #22
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    I've never seen anyone else with a flat when I'm out riding, but we did stop to put some air in a tire for another rider once. I don't see many other riders when I'm out, and most of them are riding or waiting for the light to change.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFourOne View Post
    Is it normal for 80% of cyclists to not ask if someone fixing a flat needs help? Do you slow down and ask the person if they need anything? Why or why not?
    If you were a good-looking girl I'm guessing the percentage of people willing to help would be a lot higher.

  24. #24
    Grammar Cop Condorita's Avatar
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    The last time I did the LA River Ride, a young man with no spare tube had flatted, and I just happened to still be carrying a spare tube for my "Orion" even though I was riding the Black Pearl.

    One morning I was out for a ride before work and came across a young man pushing his flatted bike (he was supposed to meet a friend, and didn't have a phone, either). I gave him all my emergency bus money.

    I was more than paid back for those kindnesses today when I flatted. One gent stopped and did most of the work; another slowed to ask if everything was okay; two more stopped when we couldn't figure out how to get my emergency pump to work; and another stopped to help after the first guy rode off without doing up the brake cable again.

    And yes, I always ask, even when things seem to be well in hand.
    That which does not kill me has made a massive tactical blunder.
    Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. Louis L'Amour
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  25. #25
    KingoftheMountain wannabe Savagewolf's Avatar
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    I always slow down to a crawl and ask them if they need any help if I don't know them. If I'm on a ride with some bike club friends who I know are very competent, I usually don't slow down quite as much but I still ask them if they are good. Usually the answer for them, if they aren't already waving me to go on, is that they are just fine.

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