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Unsure if autism will be an issue.

Old 09-20-20, 12:14 AM
  #1  
LilyHeeler
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Unsure if autism will be an issue.

Hi everyone

Fair warning - this will be long and pedantic. I want to make sure I thoroughly explain my situation so I can see what everyone has to say.



Iím a 19 yr old college student whoís interested in cycling. There are several factors in my life that are causing concern for me.



Right off the bat, I have Aspergers (the diagnosis is now ďautismĒ or ďhigh functioning autismĒ, but people seem to be able to understand my capabilities and limitations better if I use the term Aspergers) Iím unsure if this would cause any problems?

I am semi-autonomous. For the moment, I live with my parents, and my mom is still very active in helping me manage certain aspects of my life such as doctor appointments or grocery shopping. I can do the majority of daily tasks without assistance. I also have worked summers and effectively completed short paying jobs like dog sitting before. Right now Iím not working in order to focus on school.

I can drive a car on familiar routes (although I donít prefer to) and can handle some city driving if I absolutely have to. I understand the rules of the road, sometimes I need them explained in a different way, but I can still grasp them eventually and with sufficient practice (all supervised and in a controlled environment, Ex, an empty parking lot.) problem is, these rules are not followed to the dot. Speed limit and blinkers and everything in between. I can follow the rules very well, but it throws me off when others do not because I donít know what to do in that situation.



Along with Aspergers, I have a lot of anxiety over how I appear to other people. Iíve had extensive therapy (everything from OT to swimming to behavioral therapy and back) since I was young, so Iím quite good at looking and being regular. Still, Iím anxious about going into a bike store, talking to the employees, getting a bike fitted, etc. Iím anxious about riding on the road itself where other people will be driving by because I donít want to be.... harassed for not appearing like a typical cyclist. My posture is a bit abnormal and my motor skills are a bit twitchy. Iíve been made fun of in the past for almost all aspects of my being, and Iíd really prefer not to invest time into learning a new skill if it only leads to me learning nothing except that people suck, because I already know that.



I understand that with learning any new skill, there will be a bit of anxiety, and I accept that. Iíve worked a lot on techniques to alleviate anxiety and still participate in activities that I enjoy despite feeling nervous. But for this? Itís something completely new and while Iíd be excited to learn, the anxiety outweighs the excitement. Iím afraid I will be mocked for even trying to learn.



TLR I have Aspergers and anxiety that I expect will interfere with me integrating into the world of cycling.



Should I even attempt buying a bike? Would it be safe for someone like me? Are there any strategies to combat anxiety over going into a bike store as a complete beginner? Should I try to find someone who I can ride with?



I am unsure how to proceed. For those of you who choose to answer, Iím grateful that you are taking time out of your day to respond to me. I appreciate it.
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Old 09-20-20, 07:24 AM
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Moe Zhoost
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Hi Lilyheeler, welcome to BikeForums.

My advice is that the only way to know if cycling is for you is to give it a go. I'm sure that you've browsed the internet for information and have seen some supportive, encouraging documentation. Here a a few things that I would recommend:

Since your anxiety is initially focused on acquiring a bike, you should look for a bike shop that caters to a wide range of cyclists. Look for online reviews and local recommendations to get a feel for positive customer interactions. REI comes to mind as a good place to start. Having someone who knows bikes with you during your visit would be an advantage. Do you have a bike co-op in your area? If so, check them out first. Not only will they have experienced volunteers to help you with specific issues, they may also have some bikes available for you to try (or buy). Co-op membership tends to be widely diverse, so the term "typical cyclist" cannot be defined.

Certainly do look for someone in your area that you can ride with. Pairing up with a supportive person or group with experience will not only help you improve your skills but give you comfort while gaining your own experience.

Start riding in areas that will not have motor vehicle traffic. Do you have multi use paths, rail trails, etc. in your area? Of course they will have pedestrian and bike traffic to contend with; however timing your rides to avoid crowds should be easy.

I hope you move forward with your new interest. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-20-20, 08:58 AM
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Many colleges have cycling clubs and the autism spectrum has attained a sort of interesting aspect to many NT's. Perhaps you could make contact with the leaders of your college bike club and share your original post with them. There might be someone interested in mentoring you. It's been my very limited experience that it is best to be straight-forward about your having autism or Asperger's, intelligent NT's then understand and accommodate unusual behaviors you might display. For example limited eye contact might be regarded as shifty, but if people understand you are on the spectrum they might recognize it as a characteristic of being on the spectrum and not regard it as a sign of being untrustworthy.
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Old 09-20-20, 09:15 AM
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Bicycling is in many respects ideal for your situation. For one thing, you can do it by yourself.

There are several people who come to mind in the cycling world as likely being on the spectrum in some way:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldo...cycle_mechanic)

https://laelwilcox.com

These folks don't/didn't "fit in". Rather, they defined the field.

Forget about what other people think. Ride for your personal mental and physical enjoyment.
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Old 09-20-20, 09:33 AM
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wgscott
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Oh, and let's not forget Habini.
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Old 09-20-20, 09:34 AM
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Get a bike and go ride. You will be fine. Start in a controlled environment like an empty parking lot on a sunday, and the move to cycle paths. Once you get an idea of mileage you are capable of move on to roads and watch how quickly those miles increase.
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Old 09-20-20, 09:35 AM
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Welcome Lily. Life has placed more bumps in your path but each difficulty dealt with will increase your confidence in dealing with the next difficulty. As said above, reach out to cyclists for advice and mentoring. You will find most cyclists will be happy to help. Also, take a big chance and walk into that bike shop. Those places meet many people and may well have information that would benefit you including bike routes and or people to ride with.

You will likely have heard of Grata Thunberg, a young Swedish environmentalist who has had a world wide effect on the issue of global warming. She is also has Aspergers. https://www.google.com/search?client...eta+++thunberg
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Old 09-20-20, 10:10 AM
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Why not? You have adapted to other situations in life and will undoubtedly have to do more so in the future. You may find it to be a life-long hobby as many of us have.

You might also ask your question to parents who have faced this with their own children by posting here: https://www.bikeforums.net/recreational-family/. They can tell you first hand how it went.
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Old 09-20-20, 10:17 AM
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You may want to consider a bike path for your first few rides. If you can find one that's lightly used, that's even better. That could give you a feel as to whether or not you enjoy riding.

I also think that an inexpensive bike (borrowed?) would be good enough to know if riding is for you.

I don't know much about autism, but when I'm out on my bike, my mind goes into sort of a meditative mode where I'm thinking about a lot of things and nothing at the same time. It seems like this could help with anxiety.

And, by the way, everyone worries about what others think of them... even for people whose opinion doesn't matter to us, we oddly care what they think. I guess that's a human condition.
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Old 09-20-20, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by LilyHeeler View Post
I can follow the rules very well, but it throws me off when others do not because I donít know what to do in that situation.

...

Iím anxious about riding on the road itself where other people will be driving by because I donít want to be.... harassed for not appearing like a typical cyclist.
First off never assume anybody - cyclist, pedestrian, vehicle - can see you. Assume you are invisible and ride accordingly. Assume that 100% of the time they will behave unpredictably without warning. Do not trust turn signals. Do not assume that because the driver has stopped at a stop sign and is looking at you, that they actually see you.

Get ready for obnoxious standoffs at stop signs, and for getting shouted at. There's something about driving a car that changes a person (myself included!).

If you have a bit of money, spend it on something like a Garmin 500 series bike computer and Garmin's varia taillight/radar unit. I have the radar unit, it's really nice. The computer would provide a map so you don't get lost.

...
There's no such thing as a "typical" cyclist really. The people you want to bike with will be cool. Those that are jerks you wouldn't want to bike with anyway. Honestly you won't be nearly as weird as others that have been in a bike shop

You mentioned extensive behavioral training, you'll be fine. I'm curious about your athletic background since you mentioned swimming? Do you have specific goals with biking?
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Old 09-20-20, 04:20 PM
  #11  
LilyHeeler
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Hi Lilyheeler, welcome to BikeForums.

My advice is that the only way to know if cycling is for you is to give it a go. I'm sure that you've browsed the internet for information and have seen some supportive, encouraging documentation. Here a a few things that I would recommend:

Since your anxiety is initially focused on acquiring a bike, you should look for a bike shop that caters to a wide range of cyclists. Look for online reviews and local recommendations to get a feel for positive customer interactions. REI comes to mind as a good place to start. Having someone who knows bikes with you during your visit would be an advantage. Do you have a bike co-op in your area? If so, check them out first. Not only will they have experienced volunteers to help you with specific issues, they may also have some bikes available for you to try (or buy). Co-op membership tends to be widely diverse, so the term "typical cyclist" cannot be defined.

Certainly do look for someone in your area that you can ride with. Pairing up with a supportive person or group with experience will not only help you improve your skills but give you comfort while gaining your own experience.

Start riding in areas that will not have motor vehicle traffic. Do you have multi use paths, rail trails, etc. in your area? Of course they will have pedestrian and bike traffic to contend with; however timing your rides to avoid crowds should be easy.

I hope you move forward with your new interest. Let us know how it goes.
Hi Moe Zhoost (:

I have perused the internet; most sources concerning autism and cycling tend to be aimed at parents with children on the spectrum, so thank you for responding and offering insight for me and my situation!

I will look into REI. I will also look into seeing if there is a bike co-op near where I live. I think you're correct in assuming that pairing up with someone who has experience would be a good idea. I will also look into seeing if we have any multi use paths or "rail trails", as I don't know what those are.
Once again, thank you for replying and helping me out (:
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Old 09-20-20, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cranky old road View Post
Many colleges have cycling clubs and the autism spectrum has attained a sort of interesting aspect to many NT's. Perhaps you could make contact with the leaders of your college bike club and share your original post with them. There might be someone interested in mentoring you. It's been my very limited experience that it is best to be straight-forward about your having autism or Asperger's, intelligent NT's then understand and accommodate unusual behaviors you might display. For example limited eye contact might be regarded as shifty, but if people understand you are on the spectrum they might recognize it as a characteristic of being on the spectrum and not regard it as a sign of being untrustworthy.
I did not know that colleges have cycling clubs! I will research and see if my college has one, and hopefully I can contact someone there.

I try not to be too open about having Aspergers, because people treat me differently as opposed to not telling them. I do not want to be viewed the way most NT's view people with autism.

Of course, thank you for your reply. I appreciate it very much!
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Old 09-20-20, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Bicycling is in many respects ideal for your situation. For one thing, you can do it by yourself.

There are several people who come to mind in the cycling world as likely being on the spectrum in some way:


These folks don't/didn't "fit in". Rather, they defined the field.

Forget about what other people think. Ride for your personal mental and physical enjoyment.
Interesting. Those individuals you listed seem (and seemed) like really cool people. I will try to work on ignoring the negative opinions of others, as you suggested.
Thank you for your kind words (:
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Old 09-20-20, 06:09 PM
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I've lived with Asperger's or Asperger's like symptoms my whole life. didn't realize it until a few years ago. Never fit in, never communicated well with others, always felt like I didn't belong. My saving grace is I've always loved machinery and bicycles. Being "on the spectrum" has taken it's toll on close relationships, but I have managed to stay married and raise two kids.

I've also learned to live my own life and simply not care what people not close to me think of me.

Bicycling has been a great outlet for me, my meditative time, always a calming influence. I've never joined a bike club, never been on a group ride, don't own many of the bicycle things that people on this particular site seem to find essential. In fact, I find most of this site very curious. Many cyclists are intolerant and judgmentally, not accepting of people who don't do things a certain way.

But the great thing about being on a bike is none of that matters.

Bikes aren't overly expensive so don't overthink the process, Just get a bike, any bike, and start riding. If you enjoy riding, you will learn what you like, and can graduate to a different bike if you wish. Hopefully you will find the whole process as liberating and fulfilling as I do



I'm not sure what to tell you about your cognitive abilities, but listen to your support group and find a safe path to getting started.
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Old 09-20-20, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by LilyHeeler View Post
Hi Moe Zhoost (:

I have perused the internet; most sources concerning autism and cycling tend to be aimed at parents with children on the spectrum, so thank you for responding and offering insight for me and my situation!

I will look into REI. I will also look into seeing if there is a bike co-op near where I live. I think you're correct in assuming that pairing up with someone who has experience would be a good idea. I will also look into seeing if we have any multi use paths or "rail trails", as I don't know what those are.
Once again, thank you for replying and helping me out (:

Second on the "bring a knowledgeable person with you." I have found that just about everyone who isn't terribly knowledgeable about bicycles has anxieties about dealing with store salespeople. It's really good to have someone with you who has a good bs detector. Also, some stores are better about dealing with newbies than others, and your friends may be helpful in guiding you to the friendlier ones.

Regardless of anything else, this is a very frustrating time to bike shop. The stores are still almost empty. You might want to talk to people about helping you find a useable used bike right now because decent and affordable new ones are really, really hard to find.

Oh, and if a store is treating you badly for whatever reason, just don't buy from them. They have to satisfy your expectations, not the other way around.

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Old 09-20-20, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Second on the "bring a knowledgeable person with you."
And of course the other thing a knowledgeable person can do is help navigate the used market, which tens to be healthy in college areas.

There's little reason to spend many hundreds of dollars on a first adult bike just to try cycling as a hobby.

Get something that works, ride it a bit, if it's a good experience then start looking for something better and more in tune with whatever sort of riding starts to appeal.

Even bringing along someone not particularly knowledgeable about bikes could be a good move, just to feel like there's someone on your side in the interaction and transaction.

Last edited by UniChris; 09-20-20 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 09-20-20, 09:29 PM
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As a fellow ASD sufferer I think cycling is an ideal sport. The repetitive nature of pedaling and rhythm of the wheels turning is all very soothing. As an added bonus you don’t have to look at people’s faces who are cycling with you when you talk to them, everyone is staring straight ahead, eyes on the road. And everyone is focused only on Cycling, in fact that’s about the only thing they talk about, it’s like everyone is an Aspie when they’re on a bike. You will find very few, if anybody, will care what you look like. To drivers we all look the same, like road obstacles.

If you can, bring a friend to the bike store to help you navigate it. Good luck.
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Old 09-20-20, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LilyHeeler View Post
Hi everyone

Fair warning - this will be long and pedantic. I want to make sure I thoroughly explain my situation so I can see what everyone has to say.



Iím a 19 yr old college student whoís interested in cycling. There are several factors in my life that are causing concern for me.



Right off the bat, I have Aspergers (the diagnosis is now ďautismĒ or ďhigh functioning autismĒ, but people seem to be able to understand my capabilities and limitations better if I use the term Aspergers) Iím unsure if this would cause any problems?

I am semi-autonomous. For the moment, I live with my parents, and my mom is still very active in helping me manage certain aspects of my life such as doctor appointments or grocery shopping. I can do the majority of daily tasks without assistance. I also have worked summers and effectively completed short paying jobs like dog sitting before. Right now Iím not working in order to focus on school.

I can drive a car on familiar routes (although I donít prefer to) and can handle some city driving if I absolutely have to. I understand the rules of the road, sometimes I need them explained in a different way, but I can still grasp them eventually and with sufficient practice (all supervised and in a controlled environment, Ex, an empty parking lot.) problem is, these rules are not followed to the dot. Speed limit and blinkers and everything in between. I can follow the rules very well, but it throws me off when others do not because I donít know what to do in that situation.



Along with Aspergers, I have a lot of anxiety over how I appear to other people. Iíve had extensive therapy (everything from OT to swimming to behavioral therapy and back) since I was young, so Iím quite good at looking and being regular. Still, Iím anxious about going into a bike store, talking to the employees, getting a bike fitted, etc. Iím anxious about riding on the road itself where other people will be driving by because I donít want to be.... harassed for not appearing like a typical cyclist. My posture is a bit abnormal and my motor skills are a bit twitchy. Iíve been made fun of in the past for almost all aspects of my being, and Iíd really prefer not to invest time into learning a new skill if it only leads to me learning nothing except that people suck, because I already know that.



I understand that with learning any new skill, there will be a bit of anxiety, and I accept that. Iíve worked a lot on techniques to alleviate anxiety and still participate in activities that I enjoy despite feeling nervous. But for this? Itís something completely new and while Iíd be excited to learn, the anxiety outweighs the excitement. Iím afraid I will be mocked for even trying to learn.



TLR I have Aspergers and anxiety that I expect will interfere with me integrating into the world of cycling.



Should I even attempt buying a bike? Would it be safe for someone like me? Are there any strategies to combat anxiety over going into a bike store as a complete beginner? Should I try to find someone who I can ride with?



I am unsure how to proceed. For those of you who choose to answer, Iím grateful that you are taking time out of your day to respond to me. I appreciate it.
As a fellow high-functioning ASD cyclist, welcome aboard. I'm hopeful I can impart some wisdom to you from my 16 extra years (I'm 35) in a personal way other people don't understand.

In the big picture, the best years of your life haven't happened yet. People making fun in childhood isn't a reflection of what's to come, but I understand why you carry it with you. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets.

The period between adolescence and older adulthood right after you graduate high school is an important time for you. In school we get all the therapies, then it suddenly goes away. In my life, picking up martial arts after high school was very helpful to my motor skills and social life, so I advocate that people with ASD pick up athletic hobbies. Pedaling especially is soothing and can clear all the mind clutter and racing thoughts.

I agree with those who say join a club. Nobody will care what you like like. Everyone will just want to ride bikes, talk about riding bikes, and compare segments. After my shop ride on Saturday the guys and I were yapping about how the first day I rode with them, it took me an extra hour to get back to the shop and now I'm within a few minutes of the paceline on my entry level bike. Nobody cares what you look like or what you're doing because everyone has the same purpose. If anything, people who ride always want more people to ride with, so they'll give you a ton of support.

I'll also second going with someone knowledgeable if you can.



​​​​
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Old 09-21-20, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
First off never assume anybody - cyclist, pedestrian, vehicle - can see you. Assume you are invisible and ride accordingly. Assume that 100% of the time they will behave unpredictably without warning. Do not trust turn signals. Do not assume that because the driver has stopped at a stop sign and is looking at you, that they actually see you.

Get ready for obnoxious standoffs at stop signs, and for getting shouted at. There's something about driving a car that changes a person (myself included!).

If you have a bit of money, spend it on something like a Garmin 500 series bike computer and Garmin's varia taillight/radar unit. I have the radar unit, it's really nice. The computer would provide a map so you don't get lost.

...
There's no such thing as a "typical" cyclist really. The people you want to bike with will be cool. Those that are jerks you wouldn't want to bike with anyway. Honestly you won't be nearly as weird as others that have been in a bike shop

You mentioned extensive behavioral training, you'll be fine. I'm curious about your athletic background since you mentioned swimming? Do you have specific goals with biking?
Thank you for the tips. You're absolutely right about biking with cool people and ignoring jerks (:

I'm not the best athlete - ran track and field in middle school, and then danced (classical ballet) and swam from age 11 to 18. Swimming started as therapy, because it helps with sensory difficulties and body awareness, and developed into me following my brothers and swimming competitively. I've made regional and state cuts, and was the captain for my high school team for my last two years of high school, and the captain of my club team for three years or so. I had a really supportive coach who was very knowledgable and extremely kind, and my parents are very supportive of me and encourage me to push past my difficulties and attempt things I normally wouldn't. I think the only reason I was passable at swimming is because it's repetitive, quiet, a non-contact sport, and very soothing with the all-around body stimulus of the water.

I have taken a break from competitive sports due to some health issues/got discouraged once I stopped excelling at the same rate as my college-aged peers. For biking I'd like to just develop a healthy fitness regime since I'm no longer swimming. As others have pointed out, cycling would be a very good sport because it's repetitive and good for mental and physical health.

Thank you for showing interest in my questions and for offering your advice, it's very much appreciated!
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Old 09-21-20, 03:16 PM
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My only comment is that you need to assess how well you can handle a situation for your own safety when it requires you to let go of doing things when you know that you are following the rules precisely and in the right.

An extreme example might be approaching an intersection where you clearly have the right of way but see that the traffic coming from another direction isn't going to yield or stop for you.

If you can deal with those types of split second decisions, then you are good to go IMO.
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Old 09-22-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
My only comment is that you need to assess how well you can handle a situation for your own safety when it requires you to let go of doing things when you know that you are following the rules precisely and in the right.

An extreme example might be approaching an intersection where you clearly have the right of way but see that the traffic coming from another direction isn't going to yield or stop for you.

If you can deal with those types of split second decisions, then you are good to go IMO.
Yes, this is more in the vein I was worried about specifically. But I think perhaps like the other members suggested, I should try bike paths or multi-use paths. Either way, thank you for commenting and for bringing this particular aspect to my attention
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Old 09-22-20, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by y2zipper View Post
As a fellow high-functioning ASD cyclist, welcome aboard. I'm hopeful I can impart some wisdom to you from my 16 extra years (I'm 35) in a personal way other people don't understand.

In the big picture, the best years of your life haven't happened yet. People making fun in childhood isn't a reflection of what's to come, but I understand why you carry it with you. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets.

The period between adolescence and older adulthood right after you graduate high school is an important time for you. In school we get all the therapies, then it suddenly goes away. In my life, picking up martial arts after high school was very helpful to my motor skills and social life, so I advocate that people with ASD pick up athletic hobbies. Pedaling especially is soothing and can clear all the mind clutter and racing thoughts.

I agree with those who say join a club. Nobody will care what you like like. Everyone will just want to ride bikes, talk about riding bikes, and compare segments. After my shop ride on Saturday the guys and I were yapping about how the first day I rode with them, it took me an extra hour to get back to the shop and now I'm within a few minutes of the paceline on my entry level bike. Nobody cares what you look like or what you're doing because everyone has the same purpose. If anything, people who ride always want more people to ride with, so they'll give you a ton of support.

I'll also second going with someone knowledgeable if you can.



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Hello! You're very understanding and have hit the nail right on the head for multiple aspects. I don't really have anyone that's knowledgable about bikes, but my dad is a very no-nonsense person and very good with people, so I might ask him to go with me. It's cool to hear about how you grew as a cyclist. Thank you for reading my post and giving me your take (:
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Old 09-22-20, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
As a fellow ASD sufferer I think cycling is an ideal sport. The repetitive nature of pedaling and rhythm of the wheels turning is all very soothing. As an added bonus you don’t have to look at people’s faces who are cycling with you when you talk to them, everyone is staring straight ahead, eyes on the road. And everyone is focused only on Cycling, in fact that’s about the only thing they talk about, it’s like everyone is an Aspie when they’re on a bike. You will find very few, if anybody, will care what you look like. To drivers we all look the same, like road obstacles.

If you can, bring a friend to the bike store to help you navigate it. Good luck.
I'm hearing that a lot of individuals with ASD find cycling to be very therapeutic and helpful. I didn't even think about the fact that most people will just simply be staring ahead, or see cyclists as a passing obstacle. Thank you for offering your perspective!
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Old 09-22-20, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
And of course the other thing a knowledgeable person can do is help navigate the used market, which tens to be healthy in college areas.

There's little reason to spend many hundreds of dollars on a first adult bike just to try cycling as a hobby.

Get something that works, ride it a bit, if it's a good experience then start looking for something better and more in tune with whatever sort of riding starts to appeal.

Even bringing along someone not particularly knowledgeable about bikes could be a good move, just to feel like there's someone on your side in the interaction and transaction.
I think you're correct. I mentioned in another reply that I might ask my dad to accompany me (if I end up building up the courage to go into a bike shop) because he's very level headed and good at reading people. I also agree that a "first bike" should not be super high-tech or crazy expensive, as I don't know wether I will actually like riding or not. I appreciate your thoughts, thank you for replying!
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Old 09-22-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Second on the "bring a knowledgeable person with you." I have found that just about everyone who isn't terribly knowledgeable about bicycles has anxieties about dealing with store salespeople. It's really good to have someone with you who has a good bs detector. Also, some stores are better about dealing with newbies than others, and your friends may be helpful in guiding you to the friendlier ones.

Regardless of anything else, this is a very frustrating time to bike shop. The stores are still almost empty. You might want to talk to people about helping you find a useable used bike right now because decent and affordable new ones are really, really hard to find.

Oh, and if a store is treating you badly for whatever reason, just don't buy from them. They have to satisfy your expectations, not the other way around.
Hi! I might also try looking for a bike online, and then going to a local store to have them help me assemble it - I've heard that's an option right now with the stores being so picked-over. I like your last sentence, and you're absolutely right. I will have to keep that in mind. Thank you for offering advice and your perspective (:
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