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Athenas, how do you handle comments?

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Athenas, how do you handle comments?

Old 08-09-15, 01:32 AM
  #1  
jade408
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Athenas, how do you handle comments?

I like riding my bike around town. One thing I don't like? Comments. These aren't people passing me on a bike, these are walkers, people at the intersection and people in cars.

For me they fall into a few buckets:

1. bike admirers: these people lead with "nice bike" and may escalate to questions about your components/specs ranging from simple to the 3rd degree. Generally these are OK, if the timing is appropriate.
2. the catcaller: these comments range from innocuous to clever to creepy. Some samples "can I ride with you," "looking good," "what's your name," "where are you going?" And can stop at the single comment, attempts at conversation or even following you.
3. the encourager - positive edition: this person comments about you on a bike, with the intent of pride or admiration. This comment might be a "you go girl" or something like "I should get a bike and do it too." This innocuous but can move into annoying.
4. the encourager - snarky edition: this person is faux encouraging and their intent is something along the lines of "keep pedaling fat girl so you'll be skinny." They give you lovely advice like "as you put in more miles, you'll change!" or tell you how you should go faster, get a new bike or some other annoying comment. It is judge-y encouragement like these horrible blog posts 1, 2.

Really, I'd like to get on with my day with no comments. How do you deal?
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Old 08-09-15, 04:55 AM
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I'm male, so I dont experience some of the female specific crap you have to deal with, but I do get other comments. As a whole, they tend to be positive. Some of them are negative, with the worst situations having strong comments like "get off the road fatty" and including having empty beer cans thrown at me from a moving vehicle or a large pickup "rolling coal" right on me. (rolling coal is when a diesel truck is coaxed to spit out a thick cloud of black exhaust).

For me, I try to keep in mind two things and they help a lot.
1. Those people who are choosing the negative comments. Chances are they are actually have a tough time with something in their own life, and this lashing out is the only outlet that makes sense to them. they are emotional *******, but even so they are just trying to cope. It isnt about me, its about them. There is no reason I should feel bad based on their comments, I can just move along and continue my day.
2. Unless the person is somebody I care a lot about in my life, I really dont give a crap what they think. I'm riding for me, because I want to. No point in giving their comments any influence.

So in short..... I suggest you just ignore it and enjoy your ride!
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Old 08-09-15, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Really, I'd like to get on with my day with no comments.
Stay in the house and ride your trainer?

And please tell us how you learned to read minds.
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Old 08-09-15, 06:24 AM
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I deal by being outside moving on a bike.

The ones that get under my skin the most, if I let them, are the encouraging ones: "You can do this!" or "Good job!" as I slowly make my way up a hill. Yes, I can do this, I do this hill routinely, and who are you in a car in the air conditioning to think I don't know that?

A week ago I was starting up a 7% hill when my derailleur started making a complaining noise. I went back to the bottom of the hill and was working on the bike, trying to find the problem, when someone in a passing car shouted out "You can do it!". I was so frustrated at the bike I wanted to slap the happy-cheery-probably-very-well-meaning idjit.

And it stings twice as much if I do wind up dismounting and walking.

But then I start moving, and I add to my mental catalog of great rides I've had, and add to my list of times I've commuted to work enjoying being outside instead of being in a metal cage, and I smile.
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Old 08-09-15, 07:14 AM
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Gotta agree the "you can do it" is super annoying especially when I've done it many times.

Charlie
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Old 08-09-15, 10:50 AM
  #6  
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I don't typically pay attention to comments. Often times I don't hear what they are saying as the wind noise typically drowns them out when Im moving. Yes I have had people comment...most in the positive tho I was once told to "PEDAL FAT BOY!" And I laughed it off because the person obviously had issues such that he felt need to disparagingly yell out of his lifted truck pulling his boat at a stranger. I am self conscious sometimes around kids because they can be mean. I guess stems from growing up and dealing with jerks calling me names. I got a gopro and was riding thru a park and some boys were watching me and I figured they were yelling at me because I'm heavy...but when I got home and listened to audio from the gopro...they were yelling about the gopro...not me. So I learned to not assume that when people see me they are going to be mean spirited. I'm out there...that is what counts.
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Old 08-09-15, 03:26 PM
  #7  
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The comments I've received...
"You're in the wrong gear" (I am not a spinner, I tried to be one for several years, lower cadence works for me. If I'm struggling in my easiest gear, what gear currently on my bike do they suggest?)
"Just get into an easier gear and spin up that hill!" (see comment above about low cadence)
"You can do it !!" (On a climb I do routinely without too much effort)
"You're not trying" (see comment above about low cadence)
"You would climb much faster if you got decent bike shoes" (my bike sandals had a forefoot plate AND when I bought regular MTB shoes, I did not increase my climbing speed and float up hills)
"Quit being such a baby" (2 hours 45 minutes into a hot climb ride with faster people, and I am sitting on the curb bonked out, heat exhaustion, dehydrated, and crying).
"Just suck it up and ride with faster riders, try to keep up even if you throw up; and you'll be better in no time" (grrrr)
"How much luggage are you carrying in that massive saddlebag" (it is filled with a spare bike tube, CO2, tire irons, emergency clif bar, car keys, regular wallet, a few foil-packaged wet wipes. )
"You do pretty well on the flats... I have never seen anybody climb as badly as you, even people with bad knees" (gee, thanks)
"We have a nickname for you - 'rollercoaster' - because you go so fast downhill and so slow uphill" (my 5 seconds of fame)

"You are supposed to ride facing traffic" / "Get on the sidewalk" - sigh

If I can have a conversation with random people on issues of safe and legal riding, I will do so. Otherwise I try to ignore random people.
When friends make comments, I listen to them. I have to be convinced. It turns into a debate, then I get comments about my being argumentative.
Most people believe what they want to believe, and believe that what works for them works for everyone.

It wouldn't kill us to be nicer and have more respect for others.
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Old 08-09-15, 03:38 PM
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Some people are just scum, and a___oles, it is best to just ignore them, and not let them get under your skin. YES this is very hard for some people like me, my VA SHRINK tells me they are not worthy bof my time, and I need focus on the good people around me. That is easier said then done, but I am work on my problem.
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Old 08-09-15, 07:07 PM
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Screw 'em, they don't matter!
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Old 08-09-15, 07:11 PM
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I figure that by the time the comment has been made, either I or they have enough distance between us to where any response would be futile. Of course, the only folks I have encountered have been while I have been riding and they were walking so the encounter is never long enough for a brief hello or nod.
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Old 08-09-15, 11:50 PM
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The majority of comments I get are something to the effect of "I will personally murder you for the crime of using my road". I usually tell them to lick my knob and keep riding.
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Old 08-10-15, 05:23 AM
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Man, I hope the comments about brandishing a firearm are a joke. Most if not all states would consider that a crime, even if you have a permit, and even if you feel insulted. Its a bad plan. If you do carry (hopefully legally) then the only time a person should see your firearm is either at the range, or when you are drawing the firearm to protect your or somebody elses life.

If it WAS a joke, feel free to ignore everything I said.
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Old 08-10-15, 06:00 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I like riding my bike around town. One thing I don't like? Comments. These aren't people passing me on a bike, these are walkers, people at the intersection and people in cars.

For me they fall into a few buckets:

1. bike admirers: these people lead with "nice bike" and may escalate to questions about your components/specs ranging from simple to the 3rd degree. Generally these are OK, if the timing is appropriate.
2. the catcaller: these comments range from innocuous to clever to creepy. Some samples "can I ride with you," "looking good," "what's your name," "where are you going?" And can stop at the single comment, attempts at conversation or even following you.
3. the encourager - positive edition: this person comments about you on a bike, with the intent of pride or admiration. This comment might be a "you go girl" or something like "I should get a bike and do it too." This innocuous but can move into annoying.
4. the encourager - snarky edition: this person is faux encouraging and their intent is something along the lines of "keep pedaling fat girl so you'll be skinny." They give you lovely advice like "as you put in more miles, you'll change!" or tell you how you should go faster, get a new bike or some other annoying comment. It is judge-y encouragement like these horrible blog posts 1, 2.

Really, I'd like to get on with my day with no comments. How do you deal?
Comments are no different than opinions; ďa dime a dozenĒ and meaningless especially when emanating from the mouths of total strangers. Itís clear that you permit these comments to bother you or you wouldnít be complaining about them on a public forum, so the question that comes to my mind is; why do you permit these comments to bother you so?

Virtually every bicyclist gets a negative comment from time to time because the losers of this world are in no short abundance, but we typically find no reason to waste our time complaining about them because itís a waste of precious time and energy to do so. You need to learn how to accept their pointless drivel for what it is; blatant ignorance hence, itís to be expected from the likes of ignorant mindsets.

When you ride, focus on the overall positive realm of your riding adventures, not the momentary negatives.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:28 AM
  #14  
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I'm not trying to stop people from expressing themselves but maybe we should all drop the nasty back and forth. We are all in the same boat afterall.

Back to the original message; I'm afflicted with a condition called "selective deafness", I just don't hear stupid comments...
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Old 08-10-15, 08:40 AM
  #15  
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Thank you for the insight. I will now adjust my regular absolute minimum amount of comments, to zero. And will drop the "I see you" nod as well.

But if It looks like you're having a mechanical, I will still stop to offer help if I can. If you say "I'm okay", I will politely depart post haste.

That goes for males as well.
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Old 08-10-15, 09:12 AM
  #16  
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Not an Athena, but not immune to the stray comments, although I don't seem to hear them as much now that I mostly ride paths...

I did have one person a few years ago yell out at me as I was pulling into a rest stop on an organized ride... it was a passenger in a pickup, and he shouted out, "You wouldn't be so fat if you rode more. Since this was about 40 miles into a metric century, I felt like letting him know what my typical rides were like (I was having a great year on the bike) and even before I finished thinking, one of the other riders nearby said, "I wish he would come back and have to explain to someone how he got his ass kicked by a skinny guy in spandex." It turned a mildly irritating moment into a snicker.

But the way I try to deal with it is reflected in my signature line. The comments people make (whether positive or negative) often says more about the character of the person speaking than it does about the person they are talking about... so it is their issue, and not mine.
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Old 08-10-15, 10:13 AM
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I really wish those involved would cool their heels, stop the name calling and insulting comments.
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Old 08-10-15, 10:28 AM
  #18  
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I'm not a woman so I don't have to deal with the exact same gender-specific comments, but as a cyclist we all get comments at various levels of appropriateness. Heck, as a human we all get these types of comments.

My typical response for those types of comments is to quote the character Dalton from one of the greatest cinema epics of all time: Roadhouse.

"Opinions vary."
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Old 08-10-15, 12:16 PM
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Why get upset with the positive comments? we fill our own heads with enough negative comments that it can be nice to hear the "You can do it", or "doin' good" comments.

As to the negative comments....well those people don't buy my diabetes meds so they don't matter.

I rode with my oldest boy and as he doesn't have technique yet I told him to change gears a few times either to make it easier for him to climb the long sustained incline or so he wouldn't burn himself out before we finished our ride. I don't give advice to those I don't know unless they ask.

I am married, but have told ladies at the track that I could tell they were putting in an effort, and to keep it up.
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Old 08-10-15, 01:02 PM
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Less of a comment thing but I just came back from a ride where I have to cross a fairly busy intersection with no lights. A contractor offered to cross the intersection at the same time I did to force the cars to give me a break. There are some nice people around.
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Old 08-10-15, 01:15 PM
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My wife and I did a mini tri a couple of years ago. We were DSL in the run. DSL? Dead-stinking-last! It was an out-and-back so we were running one direction while everyone else had reached the turnaround and were running the other direction. Many were offering positive comments. I was getting tired of it until I realized that they I believe they truly thought they were being an encouragement. I finally asked PhotoJoanne how it made her feel. She said it was motivating her to keep going. So, to us, it's just a matter of how you want to take it.

Now, as far as the derogatory comments, I'm just thankful I don't have to go through life being that person. I'd rather be heavy than a complete jerk!
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Old 08-10-15, 02:00 PM
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I do a lot of obstacle course races (think tough mudder or spartan race) and I have yet to see somebody bigger then I am running a race. Anyway, on one particular race there was an obstacle that was a horizontal log about 6 feet off the ground and another about 3 directly feet above that. You had to get up and over both logs to complete the obstacle. There was a backup at and near this obstacle, so there were something like 150-150 people watching not counting spectators, which was probably another 50. A few people found the obstacle easy, many found it challenging, a fair number failed it altogether. When it was my turn the crowd actually quieted slightly as I started it. They made some noise when I got to the first log, and they erupted in a cheer when I got over the top log. They didn't cheer for almost everyone else, but they did for me. I could see no reason other then my size. Then a few minutes later I had a random dude come up to me and tell me I was an inspiration for other big guys.

Now I have to admit. Both of those things made me a bit frosty for about 15 minutes. I was offended..... then I thought about it and decided there was absolutely no ill intent, hell these people meant the best. Since then I have taken this perspective everywhere I go, and even when its pretty obvious that a comment is not backed by good intent, I choose to either ignore it or take the positive.
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Old 08-10-15, 02:09 PM
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Some time back, while doing a particular hard climb (and going very slow) I had a peleton pass me... as the last rider came oround me he commented to his friend (in a not so quiet tone) "Boy! That's a whole lotta love right there!" Translation... wow fat girl on bike! I could have gotten mad or discouraged but I shouted back "too much for you little man!" I could only giggle.

I don't ride for anyone else but me. I don't care if people look at me and comment about my weight. Yes I would rather be skinny but I am not and so I won't let that keep me inside when I rather be riding. I used to get very upset when people would say "GOOD JOB", 'keep it up!" "almost there" and the worse "AWESOME!" but now I just ignore the comments. I think people mean well... by the way, my friends and I say instead "Great day to be cycling isn't it!" or "this is work!" instead of the obligatory "Good Job" or "almost there" which is something you can say to a child but not to a 60+ old fat lady doing her thing (got that???).

I know I am stronger than alot of younger, skinnier people... I have done things alot of people can't even dream about. While I am not the fastest, I can go as far and climb as much as my skinny brethen... so I worry about me and not what someone else thinks or says...
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Old 08-10-15, 02:24 PM
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Because of comments my wife and I have heard, and knowing that different people take comments in different ways, on the rare occasion that I pass someone on a hill, no matter their size, age, whatever, I say something very generic, like "I hate the heat" or "They say this is fun?". I think it puts us both on equal grounds as a cyclist. Nothing more, noting less.
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Old 08-10-15, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
I shouted back "too much for you little man!" I could only giggle.
Hehe, greatness.

Often times I'll hear people tell me, "man, you are really fast for your size." I take it as a compliment, my girlfriend says its rude for them to say.

If I'm feeling snarky I'll respond with, "just imagine how fast I would be if I was as tiny as you"

Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
I don't ride for anyone else but me. I don't care if people look at me and comment about my weight. Yes I would rather be skinny but I am not and so I won't let that keep me inside when I rather be riding. I used to get very upset when people would say "GOOD JOB", 'keep it up!" "almost there" and the worse "AWESOME!" but now I just ignore the comments. I think people mean well... by the way, my friends and I say instead "Great day to be cycling isn't it!" or "this is work!" instead of the obligatory "Good Job" or "almost there" which is something you can say to a child but not to a 60+ old fat lady doing her thing (got that???).
My girlfriend has the same response. Because of her, I've changed what I say a lot of times. If I pass someone, I'll say something like, "We've got this" or "We're in the home stretch now" or something similar.
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