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Inspiration, novelty, or fear?

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Inspiration, novelty, or fear?

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Old 01-22-07, 10:18 AM
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hobbsc
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Inspiration, novelty, or fear?

On my commute in this morning, I was trucking down the street at a smooth 25 when I came to a red light. As I stopped, I noticed a kid (maybe 10-12 years of age) pushing his BMX bike up the sidewalk. He kept staring at me. Maybe it was the tights, flashing lights, or giant bag on my back.

As he passed me I nodded at him and he gave me a "what's up" like he would say to a celebrity or something. It was very respectful.

I'm not sure if he was afraid of me. I did look pretty goofy wearing tights, a messenger bag, and riding on my stripped down fixie with blinky lights and reflective tape all over it. I also wonder if maybe I inspired him a bit, because after I took off when the light turned green, I looked behind me and he was riding really hard in the opposite direction.

Either way, I hope it's the latter. I think it's great when kids take an interest in cycling and I know that seeing guys like myself out on the road when I was a kid inspired me a bit.

I'm not sure where I was going with the post. I guess I'm just thinking out loud.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:24 AM
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You're a celebrity!
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Old 01-22-07, 10:30 AM
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Maybe he thought you were a DWI. Now if you skidded into a trackstand, then did some backward circles while waiting for the light to change, then he might've thought you were a cool old dude.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Maybe he thought you were a DWI. Now if you skidded into a trackstand, then did some backward circles while waiting for the light to change, then he might've thought you were a cool old dude.
Heh, well, I hardly look 'cool' on my fixie. I look more like the average commuter nerd than a hipster. I actually own (and wear) a helmet!

What self respecting hipster would wear a helmet and tights without a pair of Levis? By the way, Pearl Izumu amFib tights are amazing in this nasty wet/slushy/cold weather we've had here in NW Arkansas.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Shiznaz
You're a celebrity!
Want an autograph?
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Old 01-22-07, 10:52 AM
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That's a better reaction than the one I got when I rode past a kid who was walking to school. He yelled out "Get off the road!!!" before his older sister had a chance to shush him. Granted, he was a young boy who probably just mimicked his parents scolding him for taking his bike off the sidewalk.

Mostly I just get the odd stare, especially this time of year, when people complain simply walking through the snow to their cars. My favorite was riding past a bus stop and hearing a guy mutter loud enough for me to hear, "What the f***?"
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Old 01-22-07, 10:53 AM
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probably riding home to get HIS fixie or to tell his parents that no, bikes DO belong in the roads!
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Old 01-22-07, 10:53 AM
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I think it's pretty much impossible to tell what other people are thinking. In this day and age, people like us may be the only cycling influence that kid has ever had, one way or the other. He may have been thinking "That's kind of cool", or he may have been thinking "Why's that guy dressed like that, and riding in the road? That's weird!"

You'll probably never know, so just keep telling yourself it was positive! (Hey, I'm not saying it wasn't...)
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Old 01-22-07, 11:08 AM
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I have come to expect and even crave insults and jeers when I ride past a group of teenagers. It makes me feel good on the inside. Sometimes really good insults get a wave and a toot on the horn!

I don't think anyone except for bored 5 year olds in the back of a car are interested or impressed by me on my bike in full winter gear.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:07 PM
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I've impressed two young groups of kids (maybe 10-12 year olds) who exclaimed, "He's riding as fast as the cars!" as I passed. Funny that they both said exactly the same thing. The first time I was going uphill through an intersection which made my speed even more impressive (the light had just changed and I was only going maybe 15mph). The second time was downhill at about 25mph.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:42 PM
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I love watching kids reactions to certain things. They usually have an innate sense of cool and style.

My experience is that 15mph funny looking guy on a bicycle is odd. 25+ mph funny looking guy on a bicycle is cool.

Either way though, the coolness factor I had when I rode motorcycles all the time is long gone.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:43 PM
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I do get a lot of "What the f--!?". Groups of teenagers kind of worry me, though. Some of the kids around here can be violent at times and the last thing I want to do is get jumped by a group of idiots.

I doubt my winter attire was terribly impressive, but I like to think that perhaps I made a small difference in somebody's life today.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:51 PM
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I think I kind of look like one of these guys in the winter, except with camo shorts and clipless shoes:
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Old 01-22-07, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Shiznaz
I think I kind of look like one of these guys in the winter, except with camo shorts and clipless shoes:
Did you graft one of those pointy things on the front of your bike, too? I bet that helps keep the cagers at bay! You could take them on joust style!!!
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Old 01-22-07, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by hobbsc
Did you graft one of those pointy things on the front of your bike, too? I bet that helps keep the cagers at bay! You could take them on joust style!!!
Its a recumbent!
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Old 01-22-07, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by hobbsc
As I stopped, I noticed a kid (maybe 10-12 years of age) pushing his BMX bike up the sidewalk. He kept staring at me..... I think it's great when kids take an interest in cycling and I know that seeing guys like myself out on the road when I was a kid inspired me a bit.
When I ride up next to a kid on a bike, I try to remember to say Hi and then make a comment about how cool / great / fast their bike looks...just acknowledgment and reinforcing to them that we are in the same great group: 'cyclists'...
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Old 01-22-07, 01:12 PM
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I'm going to think that you inspired him. I like fairy tale endings.
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Old 01-22-07, 01:37 PM
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As a kid I was inspired by my older brother (14 yrs older) who was a PRO road racer (florida state champion in junior and senior divisions for a few years in a row) .... until he crashed and fractured his skull and had to have his inner-ear bones removed because of bleeding and infection...

Then he quit riding =(

He is still my inspiration .lol
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Old 01-22-07, 02:26 PM
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Maybe it was the smooth 25 that got him.
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Old 01-22-07, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by capejohn
Maybe it was the smooth 25 that got him.

Could be. It was a straight shot, so it was easy to maintain my speed without too much trouble. He was probably able to see me for some distance and I was keeping up with traffic.

Good call.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:46 PM
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He probably thought you were a bike messenger (fixie, funny tights, bag). Everyone thinks those guys are cool.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:02 PM
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He's was just makin sure you weren't his dad, or someone that might know your parents. He rushed off in an attempt to achieve plausible deniability.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hobbsc
Want an autograph?
I do if it is on a blank check.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:27 PM
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I think he was about to say "what's up... m**********r, now gimme your wallet, freak!" but he realized you weren't stopping anyway and it's awful hard for a kid to hit a moving target at night with a 9mm.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:48 PM
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I always try to compliment kids on their rides. "Nice bike" goes a long ways to keeping them on bikes as long as possible. "Nice lid" is even better for getting them to wear helmets.
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