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Offering advice (a rant)

Old 06-15-11, 10:50 AM
  #1  
BassNotBass
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Offering advice (a rant)

A few weeks ago I participated in the local Bike to Work Day celebration. I showed up in a button down and tie riding my KHS Mocha folding bike. A few days later my wife did the 'Buy Local 1st' art fair to display, and hopefully sell, her works. I rode my Huffy mtb to the event and parked it at the bike specific parking lot operated by members of Bike Louisville. On both days I got comments from prominent people in my cycling community about how great it is that I started commuting by bike and also quite a few patronizing remarks about 'upgrading' my equipment and getting help in purchasing 'appropriate' gear. Unfortunately this sort of thing happens quite often when I encounter groups of cycling 'enthusiasts'.

I'm a cyclist. I have been an avid cyclist most of my life and was a competitive cyclist throughout the 80s. I work at my LBS on Saturdays because I love wrenching on bikes. I ride year round and although I own a car (OK I'm married so actually my wife owns it), my bikes are my primary modes of transportation. I ride bikes that most cyclists would consider junk. But don't feel sorry for me. I ride them by choice, not out of necessity. I also don't look like the typical cyclist... I don't get decked out in full kit for rides. I wear non-cycling specific shoes and unremarkable looking but functional clothing because I choose to, not because I don't know any better or can't afford a jersey and shorts plastered with 'sponsorship' logos. Besides, tight spandex/lycra jersey's are only effective when stretched over a frame with a low BMI. Jersey displaced love-handles do very little for aerodynamic efficiency.

You probably don't know me because I'm not a member of a cycling club nor do I join in on group rides. This isn't because I'm anti-social. It's because I have a life full of varied interests and there just isn't enough time in my day to participate in organized meets that concern common activities of my daily life... like eating, walking, riding my bikes or sneezing. It's why I don't organize a posse just to go to the bathroom when out with friends at a restaurant or bar. If I get the urge to go out on a spirited 50 miler I just do it.

So please, when you meet other cyclists just treat them as equals regardless of their appearance or what they ride. Advice is a wonderful thing... but only when it's requested (or posted as a rant on a bike forum).
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Old 06-15-11, 11:00 AM
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Paul Barnard
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It came off more as a plea than a rant.
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Old 06-15-11, 11:35 AM
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Why would you choose to ride a Huffy ???? A better quality rigid Mtb's from the nineties would be about the same price and a heck of a better ride.
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Old 06-15-11, 11:48 AM
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I'm assuming you didn't get those comments from anyone from Bicycling for Louisville. Andy himself often rides in work clothes, with a reflective vest over them.

I think many of the people who said something to you were trying to be helpful, not realizing you were a skilled cyclist. I read "Be Brave, Be Strong" by Jill Homer yesterday. It's about her racing the Tour Divide in 2009. She was an experienced long-distance cyclist, but due to some foot pain, decided to buy some cheap flat pedals for the race. The bike shop employee, who didn't know that she was racing, tried to steer her toward clipless. Rather than explain herself, she simply said, "No, I'll just take these" - and raced 2700 miles on $18 pedals.

Do what you got to do, and don't worry about other people.
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Old 06-15-11, 11:56 AM
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You really should get some cycling shorts and maybe a jersey. I mean who are you to wear what you want? You need to conform to our standards or we will not accept you! Actually I heard they will ban you from the forums if you don't own at least one set of shorts that show off your moose knuckle.
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Old 06-15-11, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
Do what you got to do, and don't worry about other people.
Yep.

I have a buddy who, no matter what gear I get (biking, kayaking, skiing, boarding), will always make some disparaging comment about it...about how it's not the right/best/ideal for me. About how there's better, faster, stronger. He doesn't do it on purpose, he's just an insufferable know it all gear snob. I just nod, and then I go bike, boat, ski 10x more than he does.
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Old 06-15-11, 12:03 PM
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Seriously? It wouldn't occur to me to give someone advice critiquing their setup unasked.
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Old 06-15-11, 01:24 PM
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The best unsolicited advice I got was as I (slowly) passed a guy up a long climb. I'm standing on the pedals, grinding a slow steady cadence, and this dude says "You should spin a lower gear."
I said "Show me how."
"Oh, you want to use a smaller gear up front and larger one in the back."
And I said "On this bike, show me how." It was at that point he looked at my drivetrain and realized I only have 1 gear.
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Old 06-15-11, 01:36 PM
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I can't believe any asshat would make those comments.

Me, I ride in "bicycling" clothes almost all the time. Subdued, non-logo types, but still. I'm a gear head and like not only having good gear (not necessarily expensive, but appropriate for various uses), and like messing with the mechanics, etc.

BUT, I tell you it really, really does my heart good to see more and more people, especially kids, just riding bikes - commuting, tooling around, running errands, playing, family groups, whatever - in plain clothes, on generic and crappy bikes, and especially without helmets. I'm serious. I wish for the day that people would just ride their bikes without making a gear-oriented "sport" about it and without having irrational fear for their safety (the helmet part of my comment above).

The dangerizing and equipment-izing of bicycling is not good. Bikes being looked at as just a jump on and ride and not having unrealistic views of the danger is the best.
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Old 06-15-11, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
... I read "Be Brave, Be Strong" by Jill Homer yesterday. It's about her racing the Tour Divide in 2009. ...
Thanks for the recommendation... I'm interested in reading her book.
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Old 06-15-11, 02:05 PM
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Unsolicited advice can be very annoying.

There was a couple that my wife really liked hanging around with that I could barely tolerate. Since they lived in my wife's home town we didn't see them that often and being a good husband I never objected to spending time with them when we were there.

However, after her parents moved into a place that no longer could accommodate us when visiting, we started to stay at these friends of hers. Finally I had to say something. "Why don't you like them?" she asked. I replied that it's not that I don't like them, it's just that the constant stream of advice from the husband, especially in areas where I'm quite capable get's to be a bit much.

So the next time we went to see them, she paid more attention to what he was saying and SHE started to get annoyed. Later she said: "OMG, it never stopped.". Once we had kids, the advice started to shift more towards child rearing. Funny, my wife hasn't seemed too eager to spend time with them in the last couple of years.

I realized it's all good intentioned but it can also be very condescending.

Last edited by tjspiel; 06-15-11 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 06-15-11, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I realized it's all good intentioned but it can also be very condescending.
Yep. I find myself slipping into that pattern sometimes too - not so much about cycling, but other topics.

(( I don't want to be "that guy" ))

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Old 06-15-11, 02:27 PM
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I tend to be a "correcter" by nature. Something I'm working hard at as I know it's annoying but when someone says something that's obviously bull$hit, I have a hard time just smiling and nodding.
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Old 06-15-11, 02:39 PM
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I've been really confused on the cycling specific clothing thing as well, I own plenty of shorts and jerseys and pants and jackets, but mon-fri unless there is some variation of weather I'm riding in my cotton cargo shorts a white tee and my work polo over it. When it gets really hot in the afternoons I will wear a jersey for the sweating issue, but it's amazing how different of looks I get from "fellow" cyclist depending on what I wear. The only bashing I give people is on the helmet issue and even that is a to each their own. But like others have said even my cycling cloths are pretty bland plain color jerseys and jackets mostly just because when I do wear them on my commute I don't have a billboard on my chest when I arriving at work or in a store after works, etc. but thats just person preference. I say wear what ever you feel comfortable in
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Old 06-15-11, 04:20 PM
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You know, there's a really weird fashion trend in cycling.

It's not hard to find people who might poke fun at wearing biking tights. But then there's another group who's kind of trying to make wearing bike tights a fashion requirement, and tries to make fun of you for *not* wearing bike tights.

It's kind of odd.
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Old 06-15-11, 04:24 PM
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"Why would you choose to ride a Huffy ???? A better quality rigid Mtb's from the nineties would be about the same price and a heck of a better ride."

LOL.
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Old 06-15-11, 04:42 PM
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As someone in a jersey with love handles I object! Seriously, of course wear what you like, when you like. I do wear gear commuting to work, mainly since I sweat enough to change in the office anyway and my jerseys are plain, bright "don't hit me" colors. I also believe (admittedly without studies or firm proof) that I get a little more space/respect from motorists when I look like a "serious cyclist" than if I am dressed in street clothes. I
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Old 06-15-11, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by plodderslusk View Post
Why would you choose to ride a Huffy ???? A better quality rigid Mtb's from the nineties would be about the same price and a heck of a better ride.
If that was meant as a joke, it's very funny. If not, it's still funny, but in an entirely different way.
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Old 06-15-11, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
... I read "Be Brave, Be Strong" by Jill Homer yesterday. It's about her racing the Tour Divide in 2009....
I didn't know about this book, but I will read it. I saw the movie about this race, called "Ride the Divide" though, and it was fantastic. Highly recommended. You should watch it OP. Maybe you'd learn something
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Old 06-15-11, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
The best unsolicited advice I got was as I (slowly) passed a guy up a long climb. I'm standing on the pedals, grinding a slow steady cadence, and this dude says "You should spin a lower gear."
I said "Show me how."
"Oh, you want to use a smaller gear up front and larger one in the back."
And I said "On this bike, show me how." It was at that point he looked at my drivetrain and realized I only have 1 gear.
I actually snorted. Thanks
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Old 06-15-11, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I tend to be a "correcter" by nature. Something I'm working hard at as I know it's annoying but when someone says something that's obviously bull$hit, I have a hard time just smiling and nodding.
Learn how to do it, how to just smile and nod. It'll set you free man. Seriously. You must take my advice.
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Old 06-15-11, 05:55 PM
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Just ignore them. I enjoy sharing the roads with all types of cyclists. I've been told a few number of times how to make riding easier for me. My reply is always, "Thanks, I'll take that into consideration," and I ride away.
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Old 06-15-11, 06:37 PM
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You sound like my kind of guy. My current attire is shorts, tee shirt, sneakers and a hi vis vest. I have a skate board helmet and am currently hauling a golf cart with a duffle bag strapped on top for shopping.
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Old 06-15-11, 07:12 PM
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I hear "helpful" advice all the time, like "you should try some cycling shorts" or "you should wear sunscreen." I just ignore it and go on my way...

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Old 06-15-11, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
I hear "helpful" advice all the time, like "you should try some cycling shorts" or "you should wear sunscreen." I just ignore it and go on my way...

never hear advice about how you need to trim that Tennessee top hat?
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