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Musings from a She-He (Long)

Old 07-23-04, 05:14 AM
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outashape
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I am a female who commutes to work on the midnight shift. There are several routes, one involves riding in a parkway which is extremely dark and kinda deserted and there are many other routes on main roads that are partially lighted. I leave at different times and take different routes. Oncoming car drivers are unable to determine my sex as the headlights on my bike blind them. I am not sure whether the drivers behind me can distinguish whether I am male or female. The problem is when I am stopped at traffic lights and drivers pull up next to me. They are usually surprised to see a female (probably anyone on a bike) at night. As a safety precaution, I added a mustache (the glue stinks and the mustache itches when I am sweating) and a boob compression device. (sports bra) So now that the foundation is laid; here are my observations.

One day, I left home at 8:00 pm, it was daylight and I cycled through a small town. A man with young children was going to cross the street. He crossed right in front of me, making me wait. As a female, guys usually let you go first. I thought he was rude, until I realized that "I am a guy" and I should wait for him because he has small children. I have a lot to learn.

I am 46 years old --not young and not as overweight as I have been in the past. So....when I was young, I used to get cat calls and guys trying to hit my a$$, etc. When I was fat, people would yell nasties out to me. Now I am invisible. I have freedom. But wait, that was as a female.

The other night, I left home at 10 pm as a male. Within the first 5 miles, guys in a pick-up threw a paper cup at me. I had about 5-6 occurences of teenage guys yelling at me and catcalls??? Do all you "sissy lycra men" put up with this? One car was pulled over on the opposing shoulder (very unusual on this road). When I shone my helmet-mounted light into the car, he drove away. Later, a car loaded with a bunch of teenage boys yelled as they passed me. About 4-5 miles further down the road, their car was sitting on the shoulder and all the guys were standing. I cycled to the other side of the street to avoid a confrontation. I never felt scared like I have as a female when loner guys stalk me, instead, I felt that the boys wanted to either harrass me or actually I figured they were going to have a pissing party. All harmless, just annoying. Anyway, I remember a thread about how women were treated differently from men in a LBS and just wanted to share how I felt treated differently as a guy.

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Old 07-23-04, 05:47 AM
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I've ridden since childhood, getting my first road bike as a freshman in college. I've ridden road bikes up until 5-6- years ago, as transportation, and for fun. I've not had things thrown at me but I've been run off the road (by a big class A RV, there were only two of us on the 4 lane road at the time, him and me), and have been told "get off the road or I'll shove that bike up your ass." This spring I've started riding again and due to health issues I switched to a recumbent. I've had virtually no problems with traffic. I can take a lane at an intersection for a turn and not get honked at, passing cars usually give me lots of room including switching lanes as they pass. Comments range from "cool", "is it comfy?", "wow", "neat bike", even war whoops on occasion.

I'm not advocating that you change bikes, but I think there is some stigma attached to a conventional bike, some sort of image that says "mess with me, I'm a cyclist, harrass me, run me off the road if you dare".

I would suggest you change routes before those idiots get to you and mess you up. Each time you were acosted it seems it was a more threatening situation. Carry a cell phone if possible. You might have a chance to summon help if something does happen to you. Oh, and you might want to lower your headlight a little to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. It is conceivable you could get a ticket for it.

I'm and old fart, male, 53 years old. Sometimes I wish I could literally beat the tar out of punks that pull that sort of malarkey. But usually a different route and avoiding the confrontation in the first place is the better option.

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Old 07-23-04, 06:05 AM
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outashape,
you must be living in a very dangerous town. don't mind this stupid people, it will come back to them in some way or another "karma"
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Old 07-23-04, 06:11 AM
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I don't have problems or confrontations as a women - only the once or twice yearly stalkers. That's why I was so surprised with the amount of people yelling and throwing stuff etc that I experienced as a "male". Just wondering if it is something you fellows deal with a lot more than female cyclists. I have cycled in many states, and Michigan is the worst for the guys following or stalking females.
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Old 07-23-04, 07:44 AM
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You should have been reading a thread I started a few months back for cyclists that carry concealed weapons.
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Old 07-23-04, 07:58 AM
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very interesting experiment you have going on there. Can I suggest that you may actually be safer taking the town route rather than a dark empty road. That is a set up for trouble. Mabey you are a good candidate for a concealed fire arm. I would at least carry pepper spray.
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Old 07-23-04, 12:26 PM
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If you do carry a weapon of some kind just remember that if you ever display it you should be ready to use it immediately. Never try to scare away somebody by showing them that you have a weapon. If this gives you pause, at all, don't carry a weapon.
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Old 07-23-04, 01:36 PM
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Actually, after that night I did look into carrying a conclead weapon. There is a $100 fee for the CCW application. $75 for pre-safety gun class, $125 for the safety gun class (required), @300 for a gun. Someone recommended a "22". When I was searching for Michigan and CCW, some sight came up and said that the largest seller of guns was Walmart. You have to purchase the gun from the store, but they have a 60 page catalog of different guns that can be special ordered. Isn't that a surprise? I just don't think I can actually use a weapon against another person.
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Old 07-23-04, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by outashape
Actually, after that night I did look into carrying a conclead weapon. There is a $100 fee for the CCW application. $75 for pre-safety gun class, $125 for the safety gun class (required), @300 for a gun. Someone recommended a "22". When I was searching for Michigan and CCW, some sight came up and said that the largest seller of guns was Walmart. You have to purchase the gun from the store, but they have a 60 page catalog of different guns that can be special ordered. Isn't that a surprise? I just don't think I can actually use a weapon against another person.
Wow that's a lot of money, how long is the permit good for? Forget the .22. Like a bike fit and comfort is everything so look for what fits you. I know that .22's can kill, but you want stopping power so the bigger the bullet the better. Then looking at fit and prefference. When I teach a safety class I let students try about every type of gun there is - quite often starting with an air gun. Then working up the recoil scale untill they want to stop.

I like revolvers for their simplicity, but semi-autos are the rage and they work fine. The .380 auto would be the min. calibre I would look at the .44 special is about perfect. The .38 special slightly light, but acceptable the .357 mag is maybe a little much, but you can use .38 special ammunition. The .45 auto is also a good choice if the size is ok and you can get it in revolvers too.

Do yoou carry a cell phone?

Joe
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Old 07-23-04, 02:55 PM
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If you have any doubts on your ability to use it on someone else...then don't carry it. Choking while having a weapon pulled is far more dangerous than not being armed at all.

On the being male note... Yes, we get crap from other guys more easily....it's just expected since most guys would feel bad if they were to do the same to a woman...but to a guy it's OK. So yes, I do get a bit of grief, but at night I'm usally left alone unless it's closing time at the bars, or I'm in daylight...then I seem to get some heckling and deris coming my way....so far the best hting thrown at me was change....I needed that quarter to get into the pay stalls downtown badly...so that was kinda good....bad in that I got something thrown at me..but at least I got something good out of it
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Old 07-23-04, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by outashape
Actually, after that night I did look into carrying a conclead weapon.
If you decide to purchase/carry a handgun, be prepared that you may end up using it and killing someone. I'm not saying that you will, or that you won't, just that you need to think long and hard before you find a reason to pull it out.
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Old 07-23-04, 04:30 PM
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why not just carry some pepper spray
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Old 07-23-04, 05:11 PM
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pepper spray is kinda bad....most folks when thratened dont hink of the wind, and sometimes manage to spray themselves as well...definately not a good situation.

Plus I think more than half of the pepper sprayings that happen are the owner getting zapped, whehter an accident on their part, wind or some other condition causing a problem, or getting disarmed and having it used on them. I read this on some police article somewehere, and it had hte exact percentages...but 50/50 does not seem like a very good chance for anyhting working if your packing it.

I'd say a U-bolt hanging on your handlebars would be more effective than pepperspray. A u-bolt is also 50 state legal, and not considered a weapon until time of use
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Old 07-23-04, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by outashape
The other night, I left home at 10 pm as a male. Within the first 5 miles, guys in a pick-up threw a paper cup at me. I had about 5-6 occurences of teenage guys yelling at me and catcalls??? Do all you "sissy lycra men" put up with this?
Yep, I've had that before. I've also had people throwing punches at me and God-only knows what else. Just one question, did you call the police about any of this? If someone throws something out of a car at you, it's assault -- just as it would be if a pedestrian throws something at another pedestrian.
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Old 07-23-04, 06:38 PM
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hey everyone, thanks for all the help/responses. I am leaving for RAGBRAI in a few minutes, don't have time to address your comments till I get back. This ride will prove exciting. My husband is going with me. He has cycled about 400-500 miles in the last 2 years and the route is 490 miles for the week. Wish us a lot of luck and tailwinds. I packed plenty of motrin for his rear quarters. hehe
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Old 07-23-04, 06:47 PM
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Interesting......
I'm going to disguise as a woman in tight lycra and pedal through Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood to see if the usual harrassment stops.
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Old 07-23-04, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by outashape
hey everyone, thanks for all the help/responses. I am leaving for RAGBRAI in a few minutes, don't have time to address your comments till I get back. This ride will prove exciting. My husband is going with me. He has cycled about 400-500 miles in the last 2 years and the route is 490 miles for the week. Wish us a lot of luck and tailwinds. I packed plenty of motrin for his rear quarters. hehe
Good luck and have fun, girlfriend!

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Old 07-23-04, 08:00 PM
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This is probably too late for you to see, so, as you read this after RAGBRAI, I hope you had a fine time and your husband survived. I find your experiment interesting. You ought to play around some more at it and write it up--send it to one of your local newspapers, maybe.
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Old 07-24-04, 02:36 AM
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about two weeks ago, I was riding a very popular circuit at High Park, and this lady cyclist was going the wrong way, as soon as I passed her, shouted "wrong way", she ignored me, I passed her again the second time shouted again "wrong way, the third time I shouted" are you stupid or what", just ignored me, the fourth time she said something and told me to mind my own bussiness, and to thinks she is not "blonde"
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Old 07-25-04, 11:37 AM
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wow i live in nyc and i dont think people here are even that bad. they can be pains in the butt, not paying attention and honking horns and junk but not bad mouthing like that. very interesting....also very interesting lil experiment. reminds me of something from a movie. i suggest going back to being female lol.
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Old 07-25-04, 03:00 PM
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yeah i got more of it last night...some jacktards decided it would be fun to ride my butt and honk the horn over and over (this was a 2-lane they could have passed me).

After the fourth block of it, I got pissed off and made sure to kick up some crap onto their windshield. They finally used the left lane, but this time to harass me...I managed to make my way behind their car and draft it all the way to downtown.

Well whoever those a-holes were, I applaud them for being a suitiable drafting device...I made it home 10 mis faster last night.
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Old 07-25-04, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
Interesting......
I'm going to disguise as a woman in tight lycra and pedal through Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood to see if the usual harrassment stops.
I'm not sure that's a good descriminating methodology given West Hollywood and the other parameters of the research.
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Old 07-25-04, 09:50 PM
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As a safety precaution, I added a mustache (the glue stinks and the mustache itches when I am sweating) and a boob compression device.
In Paris, people might think you were commuting to a cabaret act.
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Old 07-30-04, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by outashape
I am a female who commutes to work on the midnight shift....... DELETED..... I am not sure whether the drivers behind me can distinguish whether I am male or female. .

I am 46 years old --not young and not as overweight as I have been in the past. deleted...... Now I am invisible. I have freedom. But wait, that was as a female.

.

I thought about this post this evening. I was out riding in CAR and came up on a cyclist. Hard to tell female/male. Till person stopped. Disagree about visability.
I think that even though you you dress like a male, I believe a female gives off an inherent beauty that may confuses us males, we may not recognize it in our feeble brains, but its a signal. Perhaps He's whom choose to be She's mimick this siignal. Its still something we pick up, recognizing it or not. Body language, Brain waves, who knows. Not bashing, this is a compliment.
46, not as over-weight? Ha- Sure I like to look at a pretty female face as much as anyone, but my wife is older than you, couldn't guess as to weight, fact is I really don't think about how much she weighs. But- I can sure pick her out in a crowd, and shes the pretty'ist thing I've ever seen.

Still, interesting observations.
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Old 07-31-04, 01:23 AM
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If yo get pepper spray get a can of that bear spray they tried to sell in alaska. Its bigger but shoots in a 10-20 foot stream rather than those stupid little foggers, you know the stuff Seattle cops were useing on sitting, hand cuffed, people during the WTO protests.
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