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Ever been mistaken for a low life?

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Ever been mistaken for a low life?

Old 01-08-07, 02:07 PM
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deputyjones
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Ever been mistaken for a low life?

So every Sunday my partners and I go to IHOP for breakfast, and this Sunday I rode my bike there and was not in uniform like my partners. As we were leaving the restaurant we mingled outside for a bit talking and then we said our goodbyes and they walked away as I was unlocking my bike. Just as they are walking away this guy walks up and (can't make this stuff up) says, "World full of crime and they gotta @#$% with you, huh?" Me reply was, of course, "Yeah, those dirty bastards".

Funny story, but it brings up a good point. How many people have mistaken you for someone who is riding a bike not because you choose to do so, but because you don't have a drivers license or something? Personally, I love it, and find it hilarious. How about you?
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Old 01-08-07, 02:14 PM
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So far no one, besides the occasional annoyed cager when passing me. I've even gotten the occasional 'god bless' on the really cra*py days.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:16 PM
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No mistaking it, here
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Old 01-08-07, 02:16 PM
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Mistaken for a lowlife? Whatcha mean "mistaken"?

Anyway, I realize that people do tend to perceive bike riders as low-income folks with no DL. A lot depends on the place though. In a university, for example, everyone who sees you on a bike just figures you're a student if you have no grey hair and a professor if you do.

Anyway, given the way I look when I ride bike and the kind of bike I ride etc. etc. here is the reality vs. what about 80% of people think I am:

Reality: 24-year-old female riding her bike to work cause she loves to bike.
How the public perceives it: scrawny male teenager pedalling to McDonalds to work the morning shift.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:21 PM
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Yes. Several of my coworkers made that assumption.
My wife's family assumed we were having money issues. This served me well since they tend to attempt to leach from us. However, once they discovered how much I spend on cycling.... ugh!

Generally, I tend to not let this bother me unless I am already in a horrible mood.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:23 PM
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I just moved to TX 1 week ago (so far I hate it...)

This city (San Antonio) seems to be built for cars more than anywhere else I've lived. EVERYONE drives EVERYWHERE. The average person here can probably get away with taking less than 200 steps in a day. I feel like walking is a form of social protest.

I've definitely got the "low life" vibe whilst riding my bike. I rode to a little cafe the other day, and as I was chaining up my bike to go inside, the conversation stopped at all the near tables and they just stared like I had grown a second head.

I don't get this place...really I don't.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:27 PM
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I have had more than one person in my neighborhood ask me how school is going. One of my co-workers was surprised to learn that I was married with a family and actually own not one but 3 cars. Sometimes I wonder if some of my neighbors think I got a DUI since my bike commuting started rather abruptly. I still drive my car, but only a couple times a month since the registration is expired.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chephy
A lot depends on the place though. In a university, for example, everyone who sees you on a bike just figures you're a student if you have no grey hair and a professor if you do.
Yeah, I would agree with that. Here cycling is socially acceptable in the summer when lots of people do it, but no does in the winter. Also, I imagine if I were on a road bike in all spandex then people would see me differently (and lots more of me ). It is just that here in MI bicycling is never considered a means of transportation. It is ok to do it for exercise, but you must just not have a driver's license if you do it for transportation.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:39 PM
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Everyday.

I also wonder inf neighbors think I got a DUI. We sold our second car out of the blue and the day after I bought a bike and started commuting. I can blend in when it is warm but when I'm one of the few psychos out there with all this snow then obviously I am being punished for transgressions of a previous life.

I love it!
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Old 01-08-07, 03:00 PM
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Just say one less drunk on the road for them to worry about. You won't change their opinion as to why you are riding a bicycle.

Or tell them to mind their own business.

Or... just ignore them. My choice.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:01 PM
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All the time.

I get it mostly from my coworkers, until they get to know me and realize I'm not a "weirdo". I just like to ride and use commuting to work as a convenient excuse. Note the quotation marks on weirdo. A coworker thought I was because of the "whole bike thing".

Most of the time I get a kick out of peoples reactions and stereotypes. I drop by the supermarket on the way home a lot. Most people treat me like I'm a bum that wandered in for malt liquor and twinkies. I've seen mothers put a hand on their kids shoulders as if to protect them.

The best is my mother-in-law who is only 48 yrs old. She is diagnosed as manic-depressive (bipolar) and lives is a state run, group home. No job, no bills, no finances at all yet she still finds the time to pin me down and question me at length on the state of our finances and if her daughter is being taken care of. It really is funny because in addition to a cushy federal job (act of congress to fire me) I have a part time job for extra $. Both jobs carry survivors annuities and life insurance for my wife. She might even have lapsed into a hypomanic state because she heard about me cycling to work when she was having a bad week.

I hate to find humor in her situation but it seems that my bike-commuting makes her think I'm a bum who can't hold down a job or a car payment.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:13 PM
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I catch some good natured ribbing from friends whenever I drive someplace: "Wow, you still remember how to drive?" and the like. Bike commuting is commonplace on Seattle's east side, (might be just as strong if not stronger in Seattle proper.) You get to recognize the same faces on the MUP every morning and evening and see the same people hauling loaded trailers on their weekend errands.
I do get some looks when I'm locking up on errands. Mostly I attribute that to my errand outfit (one leg rolled up on my jeans, t-shirt, windbreaker and helmet, so I don't look like the regular club riders but I'm obviously not one of the BMX kids.) Maybe it's to do with the appearance of my bike (covered in stickers, troll doll duct taped to the bars; but that's changing because I'm cleaning up the look of my ride for the new year.)
I'll just have to see if things go differently when I'm riding a bike that doesn't look like I should be towing a shopping cart full of soda cans and all my worldly possessions.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:19 PM
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I was riding past a line of cars stopped at a light, on my road bike, with cycling shorts but just wearing a t-shirt and all of a sudden I hear a couple of cars hitting their automatic door locks!

I just laughed. Its kind of cool to be feared, though.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
So every Sunday my partners and I go to IHOP for breakfast, and this Sunday I rode my bike there and was not in uniform like my partners. As we were leaving the restaurant we mingled outside for a bit talking and then we said our goodbyes and they walked away as I was unlocking my bike. Just as they are walking away this guy walks up and (can't make this stuff up) says, "World full of crime and they gotta @#$% with you, huh?" Me reply was, of course, "Yeah, those dirty bastards".

Funny story, but it brings up a good point. How many people have mistaken you for someone who is riding a bike not because you choose to do so, but because you don't have a drivers license or something? Personally, I love it, and find it hilarious. How about you?
Hilarious!

You also seem to be a quick thinker to step right into that role and conversate.

No one has ever said as much to me. I have had couple of looks. Alot of people think bike commuters exist solely becaue their driver's license is suspended.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:24 PM
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The default assumption is either low-life, or dedicated recreationalist. Second the comment about being seasonally socially acceptable. Here at my white-collar office, it's more of the recreational assumption than the low-life assumption. As with him, they assume I'm only doing it for fun in the summer, then the looks get odder in the winter. It's like I build up all this cool factor in the summer, then as I keep going through the winter it just turns into weird. But I think everyone's getting more used to it now...

I have no idea what my neighbors think, OTOH!
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Old 01-08-07, 03:27 PM
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Just last night actually.

I ran to the grocery store up the street from my house, one I've been shopping at since I moved into my place about 3 years ago, almost *always* on a bike, and as I'm walking in the front door the kid up front asks me to remove my bag and leave it up front. That's *never* happened before. Dunno why I'm suddenly a suspicious character.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:39 PM
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I have one guy that sings the 1-800-Safe-Auto jingle every time I ride by. You think it would get old after the first couple dozen times.
I have had a few people ask me if I had a DUI. However many more are supportive and perhaps envious.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:42 PM
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My ex-wife thought so.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:48 PM
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Not a lowlife as such, but mistaken for a Luddite or anti-petroleumite. Not only do I bike commute but I cut my own lawn, first with a push mower and lately with an electric. It's mostly landscaped and it's only a 20 minute job if I keep it up every week.

Anyway, I was laying some new seed on half my lawn and was preparing it with a gas powered rototiller. My smartass neighbor came over and said he was shocked that I would use a gas motor. Where's the horse? Heh. Heh.

I said, "Every job has the proper tool. " Like getting to work, for me the proper tool is a fixed gear bike.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:03 PM
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I think about it from time to time, but I don't think anyone thinks any less of me. I ride junkers in crummy clothes too. Also any one that knows me can look up my driving record on the state web site.

nobody locks doors or looks at me funny, usually get a "thats cool" or "wish I could do that".
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Old 01-08-07, 04:15 PM
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Heck no. All the low-lifes drive pickups and '80s cars. No self respecting lowlife would be seen on a bicycle. Are you kidding?
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Old 01-08-07, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
"World full of crime and they gotta @#$% with you, huh?" Me reply was, of course, "Yeah, those dirty bastards".
Funny story, but it brings up a good point. How many people have mistaken you for someone who is riding a bike not because you choose to do so, but because you don't have a drivers license or something?...
Living in a college town the people are used to seeing bicyclists, and many professors ride bikes to run errands. Plus I look like a super-nerd with my helmet + helmet mirror, gloves, bike shoes, and reflective ankle bands. So I haven't noticed the judgement.

But to address the stranger's anger at law enforcement, I can relate. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I'd like to ask a question: is there a tendency among police to pull over easier targets rather than possibly nasty ones? For example: I was biking in San Diego this Xmas using hand signals, dressed in cyclist gear, on a lime green bike. I pulled up onto the sidewalk for a FEW FEET to avoid a truck which failed to yield to me, and almost immediately hopped back down onto the road. A police car swerved in front of me and stopped, did that slow walk up to me, looked me over slowly in shades that hid his eyes, asked for ID (that sort of thing). My feeling then was "why are you wasting time on me? It's because I don't look dangerous, it'll be an easy ticket for you. Go stop violent crime already!" I also wonder if the San Diego police just 'don't see' the many dozens of day-workers on bikes breaking every rule of the road.

Is there a tendency to go for the easier ticket?
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Old 01-08-07, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CBBaron
I have one guy that sings the 1-800-Safe-Auto jingle every time I ride by. You think it would get old after the first couple dozen times.
Is there an Alzheimers' Society jingle you could sing back?
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Old 01-08-07, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CBBaron
I have one guy that sings the 1-800-Safe-Auto jingle every time I ride by. You think it would get old after the first couple dozen times.
To freshen it up and have a little fun, just smile and sing along!
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Old 01-08-07, 05:26 PM
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pft, I AM a lowlife
and I type that as I sit here in my grease stained wifebeater drinking a pabst and smoking some generic cigs


I've had people yell things at me out their car windows, in fact it happened today but I just laughed it off
even made a thread here once about someone yelling at me something to the matter that "if I hadn't broken the law I'd still have a drivers license"
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