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Coworkers trying to discourage bike commuting!?!

Old 12-17-08, 08:48 AM
  #1  
riddei
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Coworkers trying to discourage bike commuting!?!

I rode my bike today (as usual). There was 2-3" inches of snow on the ground. It was a real "slick" snowfall, there was sleet stinging my eyes at some points. Vehicle traffic was backed-up at one point for over a mile due to a traffic light at the end of a long slow hill. Cars were having a hard time gaining traction to go though the light. I rode slowly past them on the right. I deflated my studded tires somewhat. It was a good workout but manageable. I stayed at around 10 mph or so. I only felt nervous going down hills, because I didn't want to gain too much speed.

So, at times I will get the "you rode in this weather? you're crazy". Mostly for cold weather. Today, I got pulled aside by a couple of people (mostly women), and got a lot of concerned conversations; (e.g.) "You have two little ones at home, you need to think about them". Cars are sliding off the road. we don't want to see you killed", etc., etc...

I think they're starting to get in my head. Does anyone else get this? The office services manager slid off the road with her AWD Matrix. As they are telling me, it's not my ability, but all of the other cagers ability to keep their weapons from hitting me.

By the way, people did appear to pass me with care. If there was a line of traffic behind me I did pull off to let them pass.

What say you?
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Old 12-17-08, 09:15 AM
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Yesterday we had 1.5-3 inches of snow - really powder stuff, but the first one and cagers were driving nuts. My wife had to go to the doctor yesterday and she said people were going 15-20 mph faster than her, got to a point and people were sliding all over.

I drove into work yesterday for that reason, plus the temps weren't horrible, but the wind chill was up there, or DOWN there.

I did ride in today and was really looking for the cars, but I ride through a neighborhood for half of it, then on a bike path the rest of the way. I only have to look out for cagers in intersections and driveways/turn lanes on the bike path.

I haven't had anyone tell me that I'm crazy about riding in - my wife worries, but supports me. I agree that we can control where we ride, but we can't stop/prevent the idiots not driving correct speed and keep their cars under control during the slick times.

As much as I hate it - I think I'm going to wait 1-2 days after a snow fall to ride again to give the streets a chance to clean up. It might get better as the winter continues, this was the first snowfall and first time for people to try to get their winter driving skills back - like they have any driving skills to begin with.

Michael
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Old 12-17-08, 09:22 AM
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Same thing happens around here - it's always mothers. I've never had a single woman express any concern for my safety riding in. If push came to shove, I'd tell them to worry about their own children. Tell them you're all growns up and can worry about your own.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:30 AM
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Keep on riding. Would you really be any safer in a car in those conditions. And you do not get the benefits of exercise if you drive. The exercise will do more to keep you around and healthy for the little ones at home.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:35 AM
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The answer is simple. Get promoted. When I was an analyst I was crazy. Now that I'm a director, I'm "brave."
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Old 12-17-08, 09:39 AM
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How about something like this?

"You know riddei, you should think about your kids and not ride in such dangerous conditions"

"Thank you Alice, I really appreciate your concern. And I have thought about it and want to share some of my thoughts so that you can understand my decision. First, cycling is part of who I am, and riding rain, snow, or shine keeps me excited and a fire in my belly to remain active. Second, by remaining active in the winter, I have more energy and health to be a better father to my kids. Third, by remaining active and fired up to ride year round, my overall health is much better, and I can be a good father to my kids longer into their lives. That balances out the risks of injury on days like today in my mind. I promise that I will be careful and not take risks that I feel are unwarranted."

And keep this part to yourself: "And I'll outlive you unless you get on a bike or start walking where you need to go!"
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Old 12-17-08, 09:39 AM
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"By taking my bike it saves me time on the way home, because if I took my Jeep everyone would be asking me for a winch out of the ditch or snowbank they're stuck in."
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Old 12-17-08, 09:41 AM
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I get the same thing from my co-workers. One of them told me if she was my mother she'd spank me for riding in on a day that snow was predicted. I asked her why? I had studded tires on my bike and I was ready for the snow. She said the cars on the road weren't. So I was to get spanked because cars aren't ready for the snow???

Anyhow every day I get at least one snide, "good intentioned" remark from either a co-worker or someone who dwells in my apartment building. Others just roll their eyes when they see me with my bike.

It's getting very old and I've been trying to figure out...are they jealous? I can't believe all the comments I get are out of concern for my well being.

Last edited by baldsue; 12-17-08 at 09:53 AM. Reason: extra "the" removed
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Old 12-17-08, 09:49 AM
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Maybe they are just too scared and lazy to do it themselves, so they pick on you. Now that I live in Florida, I don't have to deal with the snow any more but I still have the people tell me that I'm carzy for riding in traffic. You will get that from people that don't understand why we do it no matter where you live. Keep riding no matter what people say.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by baldsue View Post
I get the same thing from my co-workers. One of them told me if she was my mother she'd spank me for riding in on a day that snow was predicted. I asked her why? I had studded tires on my bike and I was ready for the snow. She said the cars on the road weren't. So I was to get spanked because cars aren't ready for the snow???

Anyhow every day I get at least one snide, "good intentioned" remark from either a co-worker or the someone who dwells in my apartment building. Others just roll their eyes when they see me with my bike.

It's getting very old and I've been trying to figure out...are they jealous? I can't believe all the comments I get are out of concern for my well being.
So you'd get punished for other people's bad behavior (lack of preparation)? That is twisted. I weep for her children.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:53 AM
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My boss called me a moron yesterday, but I'm sure he meant it in a nice way He bikes into work now and then too.

Aside from him, one other person made a comment, and she does pretty much every year. They were mostly concerned because it was so cold, which to me isn't nearly as much of a problem as road conditions.

There's a number of employees who use yammer at work and since it was snowing for the commute home last night there were several comments this morning to the effect of "it took me an hour to go three miles", or "3 hours to go 10 miles".

I happily replied that it was a ***** for me too, 45 minutes to go 7 miles.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:53 AM
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I stopped listening to them.

I didn't slip once last night whilst a Mercedes slid into an intersection and then wheel spun trying to turn, and another car slid sideways into an intersection. Sorry, I'd rather be on a bike that I can control than in a car slipping around, thanks.

So much nicer riding in fresh snowfall anyway - quiet, and because all the drivers are afraid of damaging their precious cars, they are actually driving carefully.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:59 AM
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I get those comments, too.

I attribute it to one thing: Ignorance--with respect to the ability of studded tires to keep you on track, and one's ability to dress appropriately and stay warm for the winter ride.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:06 AM
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Is there a word for people who complain about everyone else's driving? Probably just 'driver' I guess. Anyway, I was surprised when this one guy I carpool with a lot on trips to meetings who always has something to say about every single rig on the road, motored or not, and he actually complimented me yesterday after passing me riding in at 19F. So that was cool.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:20 AM
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I've had the same thoughts. I HATE HATE HATE that I have to not ride in potentially icy conditions because other people aren't prepared. But the bottom line is that when your boss slides off the road in her AWD Matrix....she's going to take YOU out. And you don't have the "safety" of being surrounded by 3000 pounds of steel, rubber, and plastic.

If I were king of the world, I'd ban motor vehicles from the roads on days like that.

riddei, I lived in Maine for almost 5 years. The first winter or two it amazed me how bad conditions had to be before things shut down. In one classic case, the computer company I worked for needed to deliver a bunch of equipment to the state Office of Emergency Management in Augusta. It had snowed the night before, probably about 10-12 inches, but the company was still open. We called the OME to ask if they could accept the delivery...and learned that the offices were closed because of the conditions!

Last edited by Itsjustb; 12-17-08 at 10:20 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-17-08, 10:44 AM
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My process goes like this:

1. Know and be sure that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your family by riding (It sounds like you do and you are)

2. Thank them for their concern (while thinking "mind your own business")

3. Completely ignore their advice.

4. Live your life, ride your bike.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:51 AM
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My mom usually phones me on days like this to give me the 'you shouldn't ride in this weather' lecture.

Whenever a co-worker starts that conversation, I just say 'You sound just like my mother', it usually stops them in their tracks.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:52 AM
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I can't believe all of the moaning that people do about driving in the snow. It's frikken Maine for god sakes, yes it snows. It took me about 45 minutes to do the 7 miles to work. It was a good workout not only because of the low pressure tires, but I used a lot of muscles I don't usually use, due to lateral adjustments in an effort to keep me upright.

If there is "significant" snow fall scheduled for the time I'm due to be on the road, I will take the car (mostly for the snowplows). But geez, 2-4" isn't the end of the world. Although, it was a slippery snowfall for whatever reason.

One of the people expressing her concerns came from someone who reports to me. She is the Occupational Health Nurse. She told me that she was old enough to be my mother, and gave me all of the stuff we've talked about.

Also, the office services manager (not my boss) didn't know about about the ABS in her Matrix (it's new to her). She thought that there was a malfunction in her brakes and she tried to pump them... I educated her about ABS (what they feel like when they activate, and how to apply constant pressure and steer). I guess those people are the menace.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:00 AM
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698 people riding bikes in 2007 lost thier lives. During the same year 41,059 died in car crashes. https://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/crash-facts.cfm and https://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/14/tra...ml?eref=rss_us

So your question to them should be why are they so crazy to ride a car?
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Old 12-17-08, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by riddei View Post
Also, the office services manager (not my boss) didn't know about about the ABS in her Matrix (it's new to her). She thought that there was a malfunction in her brakes and she tried to pump them... I educated her about ABS (what they feel like when they activate, and how to apply constant pressure and steer). I guess those people are the menace.
It always amazes me that someone will buy a $20,000 machine and not spend an hour reading the owner's manual. I think I may be the only person I know who reads it cover-to-cover when I get a new car. Heck, pretty few people have even touched the manual.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:01 AM
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I've had many experiences with drivers who can't keep their vehicles under control but the overwhelming majority of them involved more danger to the driver than to me because I don't trust them and plan for Murphy. For example, when coming to an intersection you don't trust the other guy to be able to stop just because you have the right of way...you wait until he IS stopped, rather than proceeding through and putting yourself in his path should he not be able to stop...even if it means stopping yourself (oh my!). Monitor your mirror...watch for the guy starting to loose it behind you as he is about to pass. Watch for the guy who comes sliding out of his driveway and into the road because he couldn't stop. et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Contrary to the belief of the nannies...you have much more control over your safety than they think...as long as you are paying attention and not taking anything for granted, you'll spot the problem drivers and be able to avoid them 99% of the time. As for the other 1%...it doesn't go away, no matter what the conditions are.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:10 AM
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They have a point cars lose control in the snow. But they seem to think biking + winter = death. Not quite. Take some extra care to stay away from drivers.

Tonight, due to snow, I will take the slow way home to hit bike paths and the like.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:45 AM
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I ride in pretty much all conditions. However, I would say I'm a pragmatist/realist about riding in really bad weather.

The fact of the matter is in snowy, icy conditions automobile accidents increase sometimes by substantial margins. If I am out on my bike in those conditions in close proximity to automobiles the possibility of being involved, even tangentially, in an accident is increased. Many of those accidents are slow speed sliding "fender benders". But the impact required to dent a car door can be devastating to an unprotected human body. And even the bike path is not immune from an increase in vulnerability to out of control automobiles. Last year a car slid out of control on Storrow Drive and slammed hard into the guard rail right next to where my wife was riding on the bike path. Fortunately, she was fine but it scared her tremendously.

And just last week a car slid out of control on black ice on Nonantum Road, which runs alongside the bike path I take daily, crossed the bike path and went into the Charles River.

For some riders a high degree of denial may be necessary to ride in adverse conditions- the kind of false invincibility I sometimes hear expressed by cyclists or the "when your numbers up, your numbers up" attitude. That doesn't work for me. I increase my vigilance ten fold in those circumstances.

And I wonder how many of us who ride in these conditions actually relish the extra attention we garner from astounded co-workers when we show up in the midst of blizzards. The fact of the matter is winter riding can be risky and challenging and I don't see the point in denying that by pretending "it's just another day" and no big deal.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:47 AM
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There's a war in my own mind between how things "should be" and how they "are."

Should be: (Driver) "It's going to be slick, today. I'll have to really watch out for cyclists and pedestrians." (Subtext: "This car could be deadly and I have a big responsibility, here." Assumption: Cars are a luxury.)

Is: (Driver) "What the hell's that biker thinking, riding on a day like this!? He could be killed!" (Subtext: "How dare he inconvenience me?" Assumption: Cars belong here, but bikes are unwelcome guests, at best.)

I'll admit, I haven't the guts at present to ride around here on these slick roads.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
It always amazes me that someone will buy a $20,000 machine and not spend an hour reading the owner's manual. I think I may be the only person I know who reads it cover-to-cover when I get a new car. Heck, pretty few people have even touched the manual.
An hour?

I'm amazed that people can spend that much money and not already know the car has ABS and how to use it!
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