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Old 09-11-07, 07:53 PM   #1
Machka 
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Odd, interesting, memorable questions you've been asked

What are some of the odd, interesting, memorable questions you've been asked while on tour about your tour, bicycle, equipment, etc.?


One that sticks out in my mind happened on my tour in Australia. A group of us were barbequing supper at a campground, and various ones were asking my friend and me about the tour, and I think the subject of packing light had come up when one of the girls turned to me and asked, "What do you do when you run out of clothing?"


I was speechless for a moment.


I was equally speechless when I told the story to a group of coworkers a couple months ago, and one of them turned to me and in all seriousness asked, "What DO you do when you run out of clothing?"


I've also had women, particularly older women, take me aside and quietly ask me if cycletouring is hard on me as a woman. I'm not quite sure how to answer that question.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:13 PM   #2
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A couple of old farmer types asked me if I was trying to get my picture in the paper, "cuz there are easier ways to do it instead of riding cross country!"
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Old 09-11-07, 08:28 PM   #3
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Although this is probably fairly common (considering it's happened to me many, many times), I am always baffled by the question "Do you need a ride?"
I mean, what the hell? Do I look like I need a ride? It would be one thing to ask a broken-down biker if they need a ride, but to drive alongside them while they're riding just to ask that?
Even if that's supposed to be some sort of pick up line, I guess I'm just missing the point.
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Old 09-12-07, 12:51 AM   #4
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"Don't you get scared riding on the highway? I know I would." (If I was truly scared to ride the highway, I wouldn't be touring, would I?)

"How are you going to get up that mountain?" (One pedal stroke at a time, even if it takes me all day. No, on second thought, that's not quite right. Aliens in a UFO will whisk me to the summit and I'll cruise down the other side, rested and refreshed.)

"Did you get caught in that rain?" (Actually no. I took a cold shower with my clothes on and then went for a ride.)

"Are you with the road maintenance people?" (I was asked this question at a motel this summer. I was wearing a light jacket and shorts. The owner had seen me lean my loaded bike against the building and I was carrying my helmet. The only thing the owner noticed was my reflective safety vest.)
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Old 09-12-07, 05:42 AM   #5
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This is a frequent 'eye roller' for me: "You should put a motor on yer bike, you know... for the hills"

Last week, a comment from the hostel manager: "hey that's cool with the bike and all, but you spoil the looks by wearing a helmet"
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Old 09-12-07, 05:48 AM   #6
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Another one that has popped up a curiously high number of times:
me: "Im arriving in the UK and later will go cycling on to France..."
non-cycler-person: "You are cycling over the ocean?"
me: "Yes, I will be riding in circles the equivalent distance on the deck of the ferry as I cross"
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Old 09-12-07, 05:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
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"What do you do when you run out of clothing?"
I've had the same question when backpacking. My answer was "Laundry".
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Old 09-12-07, 08:16 AM   #8
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Riding on US12 in eastern Washington, a trucker pulled a biiiiigggggg u-turn and came to a stop in front of my daugther and I. He jumped out to the truck and walked back towards us with a slip of paper and asked "Do you know where the Dayton Wind Farm is?" I'd never been to Dayton or eastern Washington in my life! But with the maps I had, we were able to find his destination and sent him on his way.


I get asked for directions everywhere I go...I feel like a BLEEPing atlas!
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Old 09-12-07, 09:21 AM   #9
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I've had the same question when backpacking. My answer was "Laundry".
I think my answer was, "What do you do when you run out of clothing?"
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Old 09-12-07, 07:25 PM   #10
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I always get approached by people trying to offer/procure drugs, even though I look like an English teacher from a farm town. (I must be on drugs to travel like that!)

The last time I was in Italy a lot of people asked whether I knew Lance Armstrong, or if I had ever raced with him. (Does "30-something American guy on a bike" = part of the world-class racing set?)

Also, like Cyccomute, everyone asks me for directions. This is especially funny when I'm the foreigner and they're asking in their own country, in their own language.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:55 PM   #11
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I get the standard question from many people, "How much does a rig like that cost?"
I reply: "about $1400.00 AUD for the bike, not including the gear (tent, racks, etc etc)".
Most people rely with, "you know that you could get a decent 2nd motor bike/car for that price".
Then I think that you're probably not someone to be sharing the joys of cycling with.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:13 PM   #12
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I was coming out of a supermarket in a small Florida town. This woman didn't say it exactly like this, but she asked me if my seat hurt my "family jewels." Her follow up was; "You know, Lance Armstrong had cancer down there, and I think it was from one of those lousey bicycle seats." I've had numerous questions/comments about how uncomfortable a bicycle saddle seems. I just tell everyone that I'm a hard-ass.

I had another guy ask me; "Do you have to peddle your bike, or does that motor thing behind you have enough power to get you over the hills?" He was refering to my BoB trailer. I didn't say anything, just shook my head and peddled on...
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Old 09-12-07, 09:27 PM   #13
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I get the standard question from many people, "How much does a rig like that cost?"
I reply: "about $1400.00 AUD for the bike, not including the gear (tent, racks, etc etc)".
Most people rely with, "you know that you could get a decent 2nd motor bike/car for that price".
Then I think that you're probably not someone to be sharing the joys of cycling with.
Ugh. That's why I rarely disclose the amount I spend on my bikes to a person I don't know. To these people it's okay to finance that new $1500 on a blow your retinas out sized plasma screen TV on a Best Buy card, but a bicycle can't cost more than $100. If I know the person asking is interested bicycles, I probably will give him the dollar amount because the question is from genuine curiosity. Otherwise I just say I paid "enough", or "a bit".
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Old 09-12-07, 10:00 PM   #14
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One of the more memorable comments said to me, as I was riding to Belfair one sunday morning, was that he (appeared to be a somewhat paunchy 40yoa), "always loooved riding his bike as a kid" and "thought it might be fun again" when he "could no longer be an athlete." Then pulled into the entrance to the golf course. I'm not svelte but I'll bet he doesn't ski anything but downhill.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:45 AM   #15
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I just love it when you tell someone that you have ridden half way across the country and they then warn you about some hill between you and the grocery store or whatever as if you have never seen one.

Another good one is when they look at the bike the gear and stuff and ask if you got here on that “push bike”, I always want to answer no we have our motorcycle in the big stuff sac on back.

After many years of touring I have been warned about the mean nasty people down the road many times (always down the road never from where I have come from). HUM
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Old 09-13-07, 03:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I get the standard question from many people, "How much does a rig like that cost?"
I reply: "about $1400.00 AUD for the bike, not including the gear (tent, racks, etc etc)".
Most people rely with, "you know that you could get a decent 2nd motor bike/car for that price".
Then I think that you're probably not someone to be sharing the joys of cycling with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mchaz
Ugh. That's why I rarely disclose the amount I spend on my bikes to a person I don't know. To these people it's okay to finance that new $1500 on a blow your retinas out sized plasma screen TV on a Best Buy card, but a bicycle can't cost more than $100. If I know the person asking is interested bicycles, I probably will give him the dollar amount because the question is from genuine curiosity. Otherwise I just say I paid "enough", or "a bit".
I tend to go with some like "my soul" or "months of pain and suffering". It tends to send people away or people find it funny and end up being intersting to talk to for a bit. (this is not touring but just when out and about on my bike in general)
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Old 09-13-07, 07:01 AM   #17
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Our least-favourite conversation goes like this:

Person -- "Where are you going?"

Us -- "Around the world."

Person -- "Oh, where have you been so far then?"

(we name places)

Person -- "How did you get across the oceans?"

Us -- "By plane, of course."

Person (now looking disappointed) -- "Hummmmm. Well, I guess your trip doesn't really count as a RTW trip then." (Thus usually follows long speech about how we should have swam across the Atlantic or some such thing)
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Old 09-13-07, 10:43 AM   #18
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When we were in Paris last month, numerous people came up and asked directions ... in French, of course. At first I wasn't sure what they were asking, but as my French improved a bit, I knew ... but I still responded that I didn't speak French, didn't understand, or didn't know ... which seemed to catch them off-guard. I guess they figured if we were on bicycles, we must be from the area.

And another one from the Australian trip ... we had cycled from a town to a tourist attraction, and we had left our panniers at the hostel in town because we were returning there that night ... this was a day trip, and we were travelling light. It was 30 kms (short ride), and consisted of approx. 15 kms of fairly gradual uphill, and then 15 kms of fairly gradual downhill to the attraction. When we got there someone came over to us and said, "So ... where's the person who is picking you up here?" We asked what he meant. "Well, you couldn't possibly be cycling back up that hill!" When we told him we were, he was astounded.

People in cars have really odd perceptions of road conditions and terrain! He really thought it would be impossible or next to it for us to climb the hill by bicycle.
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Old 09-13-07, 04:08 PM   #19
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People in cars have really odd perceptions of road conditions and terrain! He really thought it would be impossible or next to it for us to climb the hill by bicycle.

True, that! On my first ride up Trail Ridge Road, I had stopped a Rainbow Curve which is a great overlook for the Eastern Moraine Valley. A big ol' Texan walked up to me and started talking, "Why Boy, you's almost to the top on that pedal bike of yurin'. Just a little way to go." It was 4 miles more to the Rock Cut and another 8 miles to the highest point. I learned that day never to trust motorists It was a looooooooooonnnnnnng slog thinking that the top was just 'a little way' ahead!
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Old 09-13-07, 10:21 PM   #20
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The Bible Belt

Convenience Store, Small Town Florida

Her: Aren't you scared out there?
Me: Not anymore
Her: Be careful out there, there are some scary people out there.
Me: Are there any gas stations between here and the next city (20 miles away)
Her: I don't know, I've never been there before
Me: Right.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:24 PM   #21
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And another:

Me: Drinking Water Outside Gas Station
Hick in a truck: Do you know how many miles to the next town?
Me (drained): Here's a map
Hick in a truck: Never mind, I'll ask inside.
Me: Right.
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Old 09-14-07, 07:19 AM   #22
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Touring in Belgium, a group of kids in a small town asked, did we fall often? They were referring to our wearing helmets!
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Old 09-14-07, 07:48 AM   #23
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Touring in Belgium, a group of kids in a small town asked, did we fall often? They were referring to our wearing helmets!

Priceless!!!
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Old 09-14-07, 08:15 AM   #24
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Whenever I ride in England, people are perplexed about the rear-view mirror attached to my helmet. They can't seem to get enough of it. I had them ask to put on my helmet to see what the mirror is like.

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Old 09-14-07, 08:54 AM   #25
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I once was denied service at a burger king's drive trough in San Diego... when I asked why, the clerk told me "you can not be standing there[in the drive trough lane], you will be run over!"
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