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Calling all men

Old 02-21-24, 09:35 PM
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Calling all men

On a recent ride I passed a woman by the side of the road. It happens. They are, after all, half the human race.

She'd been running. No matter, I'll talk to anyone if the opportunity presents itself: even non-cyclists.

I said this: "The roads around here." My full meaning, from one road user to another, was along the lines of "The roads sure are terrible, aren't they?", the context being the appalling stretch of tarmac I had just picked a careful line through.

She looked up, uncertain why I was talking to her. I noticed she appeared to be wearing headphones. She was also a bit younger than I'd first thought, maybe late teens or early 20s. She said "Pardon?"

I don't remember exactly how I replied, only that I hadn't meant to alarm her. She sort of smiled and that was that.

Except that wasn't that. I immediately mentally kicked myself for having disturbed her, on whatever level. That half smile could have meant anything from "You're so right, the bloody council, what are they like?" to "[Smile placates strange man.]"

It's normally fine to chat to people, half the human race included, on these chance encounters. But it's easy to forget, particularly when you're a man, that you should choose your moments carefully.

Example 1: Woman walking dog. Say "Hello!" to announce myself as a passing cyclist (I don't favour bells for this purpose: a little too pushy, despite the seemingly cheery Ring-ring!) A Hello! is always appreciated, judging by how often I'm thanked. The sex of the person never comes into it, other than perhaps a split second as they quickly grok the situation.

Example 2: The scenario presented above. It's unclear why this stranger is suddenly talking to you. While it can be cleared up quickly, it can just as quickly get awkward. Chalk up what they call a teachable moment in a lifetime of them. Every day is school day.

A Guardian letter a few years ago:

Men must learn how to make women feel safe while exercising
Originally Posted by Dr Kathy Dodworth
[size=10pt]It is unbelievable that Chris Boardmanís words can be so basic and obvious to female athletes and yet still so needed by men (Calling all men: this is what we can do to help women feel safe exercising in the dark, 30 October). Exercising solo, especially at night, is often a different experience for the two. One day last year I was cycling along the (very wide) Forth and Clyde canal; my fitness was great and I had a fine tailwind. I passed a man who had been dawdling, when suddenly he sped up and started slipstreaming me, within a couple of feet. This was in broad daylight, but the canal was empty.

I was worried in case he was somehow angered by me passing him, so I kept going for around 5km, after which my panic was really starting to interfere aerobically. I signalled that I was going to stop as he was so close to me, sat down on a bench and pulled out some food. He stopped too. ďThanks. I needed that,Ē he said, before asking me about the rest of my cycle. I refused to engage as I was recovering from the shock. A perfect example of how some men have no idea how intimidating their actions can be to women.[/size]
Look, I'm not some knight in shining armour on a mission to protect all womenkind. I'm just a guy offering advice to other guys who may not have given this stuff much thought before.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:08 PM
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If she was on an e-bike, then the ideal thing to do is unleash a tirade of privileged white male patriarchal hegemonistic-oriented sexist innuendo, and when the reply is "pardon?", simply explain you were commenting on the weather.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:11 PM
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Just ignore women alone in general. Don't slipstream them, try to get ahead and ride away from them, don't look at them and really, don't stop and talk to them. Even stopping a few hundred meters in front of a jogging woman to change your podcast or answer a text on your phone can be interpreted the wrong way as I found out recently. I'm some chunky middle-aged guy with a wife and kids and yet I am viewed as a potential monster because the podcast I had queued up earlier was annoying me and I wanted to skip to another one? Just ignore them, and if there is one jogging in the middle of the day with people around, ride a couple of kms further than her location if you want to have a drink or bugger about with your phone.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:19 PM
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Just keep on keeping. Anything else may end up on the media news outlet.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:22 PM
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From the thread title, I thought the Saudi Arabian call girls were advertising here again.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:31 PM
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I do not try to engage anyone while out riding. I'll announce passes that type of thing as needed to be safe and polite. Perhaps if stopped a traffic light where there is a moment, I might comment on the weather or similar such as "great day for a ride." As likely as not, they will say something to me first. Also, if there is a moment, I try to read people's body language. If they are clearly not looking towards me and not making eye contact, that sends a strong message to "leave me alone."

But I think trying to engage someone, while you're passing by, more than likely is just confusing since they aren't likely going to understand your quip. I keep my non-essential contact to head nods or waves to acknowledge other riders or trail users.

And yes, as a man, I perhaps make more of a point to be extra sensitive to woman. Even a truly benign statement can be bothersome. While the intent is not to be creepy, woman, especially younger and attractive may simply get tired of getting attention, even if there is nothing out of line with the attention. Of course, some perhaps love getting attention.

But in general, most people out exercising, men or women, are doing their own thing and just want to be left alone. I try to respect that.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:46 PM
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I just say hello as a way to get their attention do they donít swerve in front of me. Of course those wearing earbuds canít hear anyway.
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Old 02-21-24, 10:58 PM
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I just like to give a smile and a Good Morning or Good Afternoon as the case may be. And always a friendly greeting to any dog companion. No need for any different greeting for any gender.
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Old 02-21-24, 11:03 PM
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A head nod or a wave or nothing more than a "hello" while passing should be enough for everyone. No need to get involved in anything else unless you see someone who may need help. Usually in that situation as I am riding "I will ask do you need help?" or "everything OK?" and usually they are fine and I keep going. Again no need to get involved unless they ask for it. People can be weird some are super friendly and some are not and the most I say while riding to other cyclists is generally "nice ________ (insert bike here)" or "hello".
That is of course cyclists going in the correct direction I will go off on cyclists coming at me against the arrows in the bike lane I am riding on but those are few and far between but it still happens despite clear arrows pointing in the direction of my travel.

I hate being behind people and I really don't love people behind me either unless they are people I have already decided to ride with. Not that I don't love people or other cyclists but I don't know their intentions and like to ride how I ride without having to worry about anything with them. Not to say I ride dangerously as I generally don't but someone could interpret something I do as the wrong signal or something. Years ago on my fixed gear riding with some friends (on hybrids) I was slowing down using a light touch on my brakes as I was far ahead of the group and she interpreted that as a panic stop for some reason and went OTB. She was fine just a little bruising and a headache but it is one of those things someone can think "oh no they are doing something slightly different panic mode" when that isn't the case.
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Old 02-21-24, 11:38 PM
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I think it's largely situational. First, as in the example above, don't creep out a woman at night. That gives off a total stalker vibe.

But for me, it's a matter of the time and conditions. Now, where I live is kind of rural and there aren't a lot of cyclists out here. If I was on a ride and some guy stuck on my back wheel for a few miles, I might get a little panicky too. But when I go into Vegas and ride Red Rock, I expect people to give a wave or maybe a casual greeting. I'm almost offended if someone doesn't.
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Old 02-22-24, 12:33 AM
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Pretty simple actually. Just treat them like men:
If they need help, help them.
If they don't need help, ride on.
You can wave and smile to everyone, including BMX or E-bike kids, even motorcyclists. Just keep rolling and there's no weirdness.

Last edited by calamarichris; 02-22-24 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 02-22-24, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 905
On a recent ride I passed a woman by the side of the road. It happens. They are, after all, half the human race.

She'd been running. No matter, I'll talk to anyone if the opportunity presents itself: even non-cyclists.

I said this: "The roads around here." My full meaning, from one road user to another, was along the lines of "The roads sure are terrible, aren't they?", the context being the appalling stretch of tarmac I had just picked a careful line through.

She looked up, uncertain why I was talking to her. I noticed she appeared to be wearing headphones. She was also a bit younger than I'd first thought, maybe late teens or early 20s. She said "Pardon?"

I don't remember exactly how I replied, only that I hadn't meant to alarm her. She sort of smiled and that was that.

Except that wasn't that. I immediately mentally kicked myself for having disturbed her, on whatever level. That half smile could have meant anything from "You're so right, the bloody council, what are they like?" to "[Smile placates strange man.]"

It's normally fine to chat to people, half the human race included, on these chance encounters. But it's easy to forget, particularly when you're a man, that you should choose your moments carefully.

Example 1: Woman walking dog. Say "Hello!" to announce myself as a passing cyclist (I don't favour bells for this purpose: a little too pushy, despite the seemingly cheery Ring-ring!) A Hello! is always appreciated, judging by how often I'm thanked. The sex of the person never comes into it, other than perhaps a split second as they quickly grok the situation.

Example 2: The scenario presented above. It's unclear why this stranger is suddenly talking to you. While it can be cleared up quickly, it can just as quickly get awkward. Chalk up what they call a teachable moment in a lifetime of them. Every day is school day.

A Guardian letter a few years ago:

Men must learn how to make women feel safe while exercising


Look, I'm not some knight in shining armour on a mission to protect all womenkind. I'm just a guy offering advice to other guys who may not have given this stuff much thought before.
Champ.
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Old 02-22-24, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
That is of course cyclists going in the correct direction I will go off on cyclists coming at me against the arrows in the bike lane I am riding on but those are few and far between but it still happens despite clear arrows pointing in the direction of my travel.
.
Thatís surprising. I have no ill will towards those people, I tend to think they donít know what they are doing which is totally fine, they arenít a hazard and donít pose a thread. Dodge them dude. Heck I wave at em just like the ones riding on the right side of the road.

OP I have a few comments:

1) donít say more than a word or two to a pedestrian you pass. ďGood morningĒ or another easily digestible comment is fine, your comment was a bit too intricate. The interaction lasts like 1 second unless youíre stopping to talk to them, which is weird.

2) youíre reading way too much into this interaction. The pedestrian didnít understand what you said and half smiled blandly at you in response. She probably thought it was a greeting.

3) treating women cyclists differently than male cyclists is borderline weird and sexist. Draft em, heck ebikes are 100% fair game and usually a godsend if you arenít lookin to work.

Last edited by LarrySellerz; 02-22-24 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 02-22-24, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
treating women cyclists differently than male cyclists is borderline weird and sexist.
Nothing borderline about it. I'm ashamed this thread ever appeared. Their gender and attractiveness level should not affect your reaction. WTF people?
No weirdness: if they need help, help them . If they don't, wave, smile and continue rolling. If they don't wave back, it doesn't mean anything. I'm disappointed the conversation has gone on this long.
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Old 02-22-24, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
I'm ashamed this thread ever appeared...
I'll agree to the extent that it's a shame it has to.

Can we agree that women are more at risk than men?

My OP has nothing to do with helping them with a puncture or mechanical. It's about realising that innocent interactions may not be perceived that way.

As for always keeping one's mouth shut to avoid even the possibility of unpleasantness, with respect, that's a ridiculous way to go through life. I've had many great encounters with strangers (and vice versa) that never would have happened if I was too afraid to open my mouth.
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Old 02-22-24, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 905
I'll agree to the extent that it's a shame it has to.

Can we agree that women are more at risk than men?
I return to my first post in this thread: Just treat them the way you would treat another man, If they need help, help them. If they don't, wave, smile and roll on. If they don't wave back, it doesn't mean anything. We're all just trying to get down the road. It's probably best if we don't make it weird.
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Old 02-22-24, 05:21 AM
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I wave.
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Old 02-22-24, 05:26 AM
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If you don't talk to them, how would you know you didn't just pass your soulmate?
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Old 02-22-24, 06:10 AM
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Just what the world needs, more hypersensitivity. For godsake don't be friendly, you're bound to offend someone.
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Old 02-22-24, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
Just what the world needs, more hypersensitivity. For godsake don't be friendly, you're bound to offend someone.
I feel the same way, but alas, I'm a dying breed. I never owned a cell phone until 50. I still refuse to carry my matrix connection everywhere I go. In my young years we cruised the loop in town and yelled, talked, and laughed with everyone. With everyone living in the matrix, it's apparently creepy to acknowledge anyone in the real world.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 905
Can we agree that women are more at risk than men?

.
Yes, no question.

Is why I frown at the times I encounter a women alone jogging and wearing ear buds. This is typically on one of our local MUT's and I am usually shouting at them that I am passing, usually with no response as they can't hear me. That's just downright dangerous.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:21 AM
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When approaching, if eye contact is made, a quick nod is what I'll do and keep on going.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:39 AM
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"On your left."

I cannot fix societal problems that women need to be highly cautious (fearful) of men in general.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR
"On your left."

I cannot fix societal problems that women need to be highly cautious (fearful) of men in general.
I simply don't think that's the case as much as it is the current perception. Our current society pushes everyone toward fear, simply because as a species we pay more attention to fear than anything else. When everyone is competing for your attention fear is a huge attractor.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:59 AM
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