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Thanks, but I'll manage...I said thanks...No, see, I...TAKE A FREAKING HIKE!

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Thanks, but I'll manage...I said thanks...No, see, I...TAKE A FREAKING HIKE!

Old 07-03-13, 07:39 PM
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Velo Dog
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Thanks, but I'll manage...I said thanks...No, see, I...TAKE A FREAKING HIKE!

Shortening a long story as much as possible, I've been cycling as an adult for more than 40 years, usually a couple of thousand miles a year but as many as 8,000. An illness two years ago took me off the bike, and this spring/summer I'm slowly getting back into it. Strength's coming back, control is shaky but improving; my distance is a quarter of what it was, but 18 months ago I was rolling a wheelchair. I've set up my bike to accommodate my problems (more upright, big tires, lower gearing etc.) and life is good.
I live near the midpoint of a popular 25-mile training loop from town, so nearly every time I go out I run into groups and gaggles and herds of cyclists. I'm wobbling around at 12.5 mph, happy to be alive, and for some reason about 20 percent of the people who pass feel obligated to critique my bike, my position, my equipment and my clothing: You'll be a lot faster once you upgrade to clipless pedals, sir (did that 20 years ago, and I wasn't). Boy, you know those tires really slow you down (no, they don't, but I wouldn't care if they did). Is that a Brooks saddle? Man, those are heavy (see how you like them after six hours). You should lower those handlebars (raised 'em when I realized it stopped my back from hurting). Once you get stronger, you won't need that triple crank (I used to BE stronger, and I needed it then. Now I REALLY need it). And so on.
I know everybody means well. I remember that when I was 19, I knew what was best for other riders, too. I don't like to be rude. But if you'd all just STFU, I'm going to coast down this hill with a big grin.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:51 PM
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ohhh...I don't know what to say.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:12 PM
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I would agree that everybody is an expert. I also agree with your conclusion.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:13 PM
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Sounds as if you already are enjoying your rides but no one is comprehending that simple fact.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:15 PM
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Feel better? Lol
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Old 07-03-13, 08:43 PM
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I have two rules in life:

1) I don't decide whats best for other people and

2) I try to help my friends on whatever path they pick

Sorry to hear that you had to endure all those controlling people

Charlie
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Old 07-03-13, 08:45 PM
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Velo Dog,

My wife and I ride hybrids on the local MUP. We spend the day on the bikes. On the trail at 9 to 9:30 in the morning and load them back onto the car usually after dark. Big bags on the rear rack for clothing when layering is required. Extra frozen drink bottles for hot weather. Maybe some bread or goodies purchased along the way. We also have people pass us, slow down and then lecture us on our bicycles being too heavy for speed. When we tell them that we have already pedaled 40 or 50 miles that day they generally shake their heads and accelerate away from us. My all time favorite was when a woman pulled up along side of me and in a very stern tone told me my bike was too heavy. I simply glared at her and she quickly pulled away. And they I could not stop from laughing. Her rear end was so fat that you could see none of her seat.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:55 PM
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I've always, avoided like the plague, not commenting on another person's bike, kit, speed, etc., when I meet up with another rider or here, for that fact. If they ask me something about the bike or their riding I'll answer honestly but not critically. I have too many flaws and faults I need to correct to try and correcting others' issues isn't anything I am able to do. Life is too short to go showing how stupid I could be or acting as if I was an expert in anything, especially bicycle related. You actually showed good restraint, so far, in not throttling someone, well done, sir.

Venting here is a better idea than getting in to a scrap with an idiot that needs to show their "true intelligence". Hopefully you will be able and want to keep up the recovery rides, I've been impressed with your drive in returning at your pace and on your terms. Its just good when you can tell us you are riding and that you are still recovering. Remember "Iligitimi non carborundum" (sp?) I'm sure someone will correct my poor attempt at Latin that is most likely incorrect.

Bill
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Old 07-03-13, 09:02 PM
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many years ago I got upset on a ride when a group of women I was riding with for the first time, thought I needed encouragement climbing every hill and would wait on top shouting "GOOD JOB!" 'YOU CAN DO IT!". I politely told them I had been cycling for over 40 years and although I am a slow climber, yes I can do it so no encouragement needed. Yet it continued and finally I went off on everyone.

To this day I never ever tell anyone 'LOOKING GOOD!" "YOU CAN DO IT" "KEEP IT UP" I now will just say in passing "Beautiful day for a ride!" or "I'm loving this! How 'bout you?" I learned also many years ago that cyclists come in every shape, size and ride just about everything and its not what you ride or how you ride but that you ride that matters. I would never even assume to give someone advice, unless it is asked for. And if not received well, I shut my mouth.

But I know people mean well... because I am heavy, I continue to get "encouragement", especially from men. I think they are always amazed to see some old fat grandma climbing up a steep dirt trail. I just smile and say "thank you!" and continue to enjoy my ride...
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Old 07-03-13, 09:03 PM
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You were surrounded by a bunch of these:



I'm slow and dorky and even ride a bent and I've never been verbally assaulted like that. Did someone stick a "kick me" sign on the back of your jersey?
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Old 07-03-13, 09:08 PM
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I do think there is a difference between advice and encouragement. Advice should be offered when requested. Encouragement, when appropriate, can be a very nice gesture.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:17 PM
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I don't wear a helmet, usually just a cycling cap. You would be amazed to see the number of people that feel the need to comment on that. Even non-cyclists. Not that I actually give a crap what they say. Neither should Velo Dog.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:40 PM
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I sometimes tell'em . . . 'my grandkids are older than you'.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:50 PM
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Sounds as if you simply need to focus more on the grin than on the passers-by comments. I had a bout of arthritis biting at my big toe today, and in a brisk headwind in second gear, I was still sporting that grin you mentioned, because I wasn't on my back! How would anyone else know that? Others would probably think "there's some poor slob who just can't get his cycling act together...maybe I can say something to help him".

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Old 07-03-13, 09:54 PM
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Nice rant. Strangers mean well and the fact that they have tried to be helpful is a positive thing. I have had "advice" given to me when the adviser does not have all the facts, I just smile and soldier on but I also remember all the times when I was the would be adviser and laugh at myself. Stay with it, you know what is best for you.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:58 PM
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Get something like a yellow mesh square that can 'bungee' to the left-side stays; have it printed to say: "YOU RIDE YOUR BIKE, LET ME RIDE MINE". Either that, or get used to saying, "But your Mom likes it this way." (kidding about the last...)
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Old 07-03-13, 10:01 PM
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Everyone knows best for someone other than themselves. If I want advice, I will ask for it, Thank You.
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Old 07-03-13, 10:10 PM
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My grandmother used to say, "Don't teach grandma to suck eggs!" I've never known exactly what that means, but I think it's appropriate for this situation and as a bonus might confuse those whippersnappers that think they know everything.
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Old 07-03-13, 10:34 PM
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Just this evening I was out on my flat-bar "road bike" and group of young roadies (some on T/T bikes, most with aero clips) caught up with me at a traffic light. They were all complaining about the head wind (maybe 10 mph) and proceeded to tell me how much faster & more areo i could be with drops & a clip. The light changed and we had about 10 blocks before the next one; which I nicely got through ahead of the pack and most had stop for the red. I turned back & said don't think I need anything different on my bike. A few caught up to me at the next lights and this time they were asking for advice.
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Old 07-03-13, 11:01 PM
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If they have time to converse while passing then they ain't that fast.
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Old 07-03-13, 11:01 PM
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Damit man, don't you know that wearing a big grin is not very aerodynamic and will slow your downhill descent, but people just might mistake you for being happy.
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Old 07-03-13, 11:06 PM
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Used to do primitive living history. Not reenactment, but 24 hours a day like the guys in the 1770s did it. Some of us would strike out in the woods with our gun, haversack, and blanket for the weekend and call near freezing to death "fun." Or 1840's (I swung both ways). Folks would allow themselves to have their experience destroyed because someone else wasn't "primitive enough." Well, I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to let somebody else decide how much fun I was going to have.

I kept that outlook from that point forward. I am fat, slow, have de-sexified my racing bike to make it comfortable for ME, and I LOVE to ride. And, sorry about this, I don't ride for you - I am totally selfish and I ride for ME. So sorry my fat ass, mismatched kit, excessively spoked wheels, and un-racy racing bike disturb you. Go tell your shrink.......

Not a rant, but a philosophy. If it ain't fun, I ain't doin' it. And I will go to the lengths required to make it fun.
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Old 07-04-13, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
Nice rant. Strangers mean well and the fact that they have tried to be helpful is a positive thing. I have had "advice" given to me when the adviser does not have all the facts, I just smile and soldier on but I also remember all the times when I was the would be adviser and laugh at myself. Stay with it, you know what is best for you.
I disagree - I can't believe that people would make some of the comments mentioned here. To me, those folks are being nosy, know-it-alls, and rude. They don't mean well, they mean to give unsolicited advice which is rude. They haven't been raised right or learned enough in life to realize it. I would do what you do - ignore and hold my tongue, but that doesn't mean it's not rude. But to answer back in as polite a way as possible somethign like "I really didn't ask for your advice" would of course seem rude in return.
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Old 07-04-13, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
Shortening a long story as much as possible, I've been cycling as an adult for more than 40 years, usually a couple of thousand miles a year but as many as 8,000. An illness two years ago took me off the bike, and this spring/summer I'm slowly getting back into it. Strength's coming back, control is shaky but improving; my distance is a quarter of what it was, but 18 months ago I was rolling a wheelchair. I've set up my bike to accommodate my problems (more upright, big tires, lower gearing etc.) and life is good.
I live near the midpoint of a popular 25-mile training loop from town, so nearly every time I go out I run into groups and gaggles and herds of cyclists. I'm wobbling around at 12.5 mph, happy to be alive, and for some reason about 20 percent of the people who pass feel obligated to critique my bike, my position, my equipment and my clothing: You'll be a lot faster once you upgrade to clipless pedals, sir (did that 20 years ago, and I wasn't). Boy, you know those tires really slow you down (no, they don't, but I wouldn't care if they did). Is that a Brooks saddle? Man, those are heavy (see how you like them after six hours). You should lower those handlebars (raised 'em when I realized it stopped my back from hurting). Once you get stronger, you won't need that triple crank (I used to BE stronger, and I needed it then. Now I REALLY need it). And so on.
I know everybody means well. I remember that when I was 19, I knew what was best for other riders, too. I don't like to be rude. But if you'd all just STFU, I'm going to coast down this hill with a big grin.
Ok, I'm going to offer a different perspective.

1. I'd love to live somewhere were 20% of the cyclists that pass me stop to briefly chat about anything. That is an amazingly high percentage, and chatting with strangers is a good thing. Most of us (myself included) complain about cyclists ignoring others with pregnant silence.

2. Cyclists are a strange lot. I dunno why, but some feel compelled to explain why they are going slower than they'd like to be. I've passed people and had them tell me, unsolicited, things like (1) I usually ride faster, but I'm not feeling well, (2) I'm on my recovery ride (3) this is my heavy bike ... all kinds of stuff. Why? I have no idea. Probably the same reason I have puffed up hills with someone at a killer pace, and have the person later crow about the "relaxed" pace, when they were gasping for breath most of the way. Never let the see you sweat, I guess.

Consider that those people may have been making what they thought was a friendly gesture ... essentially saying they're only going up the hill faster than you because of your equipment or bike fit ... not you.

3. Perspective. Back when I was slinging pizzas in college, we had a guy walk in with a cast on his arm. Of course, while pouring his beer, I asked him a friendly question to get the conversation started:

"So ... how'd you do it?"

The answer was immediate and unexpected:

"F**K how I did it!"

He swung is harm, and broke his cast on the cash register, and walked out in a huff. Uh, I guess that answered that question. A little temper, I guess, eh?

But break your own arm and you immediately discover what I didn't know. EVERYONE asks "So ... how'd you do it?" That would be OK if it was a really good story. But if you broke it by tripping on one of your shoes, it's not the thing you want to share. At least not 20 times a day.

I think you're also a victim of perspective. To each person talking to you, it's a little friendly comment. To you, 20 times a ride, it's sticking their nose in your business.

And it if that doesn't help, consider this: One way to surely squelch the advice-giving is to ask them if they'll help you pay for any of the stuff they advise. I'll bet that ends the conversation fast. lol

Cheers.
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Old 07-04-13, 01:29 AM
  #25  
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I thought the catch all answer to all of this was, "get off my lawn".
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