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Places in US with best/worst attitude/response to bicycle tourism

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Places in US with best/worst attitude/response to bicycle tourism

Old 09-18-16, 01:52 PM
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Inpd
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Places in US with best/worst attitude/response to bicycle touring

I'm curious if people feel there is a particular area/route in the US where they have experienced outstanding attitude/response to bicycle tourism.

To me it makes the world of difference.

I once rode (just a day tour) on the famed Loire Velo in France and was amazed how receptive everyone was to me riding my bike.

This mean lots of pleasant locals to talk to ("tell me where your going?"), people volunteering to help you ("you look lost?"), shop keepers ("Of course you can bring your bike into the patio area"), policeman etc.

It meant for such a nice experience I would love to tour there, but alas I need to start of closer to home (bay area CA).

In contrast, in the east Bay (near Milpitas) I find the complete opposite. One local even asked me to stop riding on the road, policeman couldn't care less that a person I pointed out had tried to steal my bike and shop keepers shoed me away from wanting to keep my bike near me whilst I ate at their established.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
In contrast, in the east Bay (near Milpitas) I find the complete opposite. One local even asked me to stop riding on the road, policeman couldn't care less that a person I pointed out had tried to steal my bike and shop keepers shoed me away from wanting to keep my bike near me whilst I ate at their established.
In this case I don't think it makes any difference whether you were on a loaded touring bike, commuting to work, or simply riding your bike around the block.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
In this case I don't think it makes any difference whether you were on a loaded touring bike, commuting to work, or simply riding your bike around the block.
I think it makes a much bigger difference when touring because you have to interact/rely on the locals. I was just on a day tour (I live well north of there) and I had to stop for lunch and it was not pleasant. Ironically being a newer area their roads are amazing for biking. Nice wide bike lanes often with an additional shoulder.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:50 PM
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Why do Worst Case Scenarios intrest you?

and Not hearing of when nice things happened that were Memorable?
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Old 09-18-16, 03:02 PM
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The thing I noticed last year on my bike trip was the dramatic difference between the north and the south. In the north the blacks won't even recoginize your there while in the south they will talk your leg off. Very nice...very polite. Up north is totally another story. At the same respect of things, up north in spots the whites will give you the obvious look of...you don't belong here...get the heck out of OUR TOWN. Down south pretty much everywhere the whites seem to have the attitude of not wanting you around. The blacks would talk my leg off but the whites flat out didn't want anything to do with me at all. Once I crossed out of black country everything changed and turned back to normal. Not sure why the dramatic difference but it was quite a dramatic difference. I'm white so it really did seem strange to be riding along and seeing other whites ignoring me like I didn't even exist.

I think you will normally find the best crowds are probably in the midwest part of the country away from the cities. They are still civilized around there unlike in the cities where everybody has the human eat human mentality. Most of the time whenever I stopped at a gas station in t he midwest someone would speak to me. I was usually stopping in smaller towns not the in the bigger cities. Small town life has a lot going for it that is lost in the cities.
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Old 09-18-16, 03:23 PM
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Large cities, it's not the people, it's simply the environment. They're a drag to ride through, touring or not. Touring makes it even worse because city riding means constant starting and stopping, and you have to get that heavy load moving again...
I don't like large cities in non-touring life either, so on tour, I avoid them like the plague. No draw, no appeal whatsoever. I don't understand why anyone would wanna live like that, but they're obviously popular, or they wouldn't be large cities. I must be in the minority.

Tourist areas (Flagstaff AZ, Jackson WY, Moab UT, etc) are the best and the worst. Everyone's excited to see you and floored that you biked here from _______, but when you start asking around for a place to stay, they give you a look that says, "Why don't you get a $150 hotel like everyone else?"
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Old 09-18-16, 03:56 PM
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So white people in the north and south dont like you. Got it.
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Old 09-18-16, 04:03 PM
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I'm a little biased, but I consider the Oregon Coast "the best of the best." I believe that the Pacific Coast Route from Lund, British Columbia to the Mexican border to be a premier route; with the Oregon Coast the highpoint of the ride.

The people are great, the scenery beautiful, the plentiful Oregon state parks have inexpensive hiker/biker sites, and great seafood is available everywhere. There is a lot of traffic because it is a very popular place, but there are good shoulders, and drivers are generally courteous.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-18-16 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 09-18-16, 04:17 PM
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I have frequently found the most hospitable souls could be found within a stone's throw of those few that wish to ruin my day. I do like touring in the south (if someone would be so kind as to define that latitude please) and the midwest and maybe there is something to that southern hospitality but realize many southerners anymore were originally from the north. And yet only on a rare occasion have I found areas, where the prominent attitude is "If you ain't from here, you shouldn't be here". Yea, over all rural communities have been more kind or curious and by far and away most all of my interactions with the locals have been a positive one.

Sorry if that paints too broad a picture and is not specific enough.
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Old 09-18-16, 04:23 PM
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The best place for touring in the US is in the northern region, known to many as Canada. The people are nice, the Mounties are friendly, restaurants beg you to bring your bike inside, and usually offer free maple syrup.
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Old 09-18-16, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Why do Worst Case Scenarios intrest you?
To avoid them of course!

I'll recommend to everyone here not to try touring in the Silicon Valley. A bit too many self absorbed persons. I still don't know what that guy who told me not to ride on his street was thinking? That my bike devalued his home!
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Old 09-18-16, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
The thing I noticed last year on my bike trip was the dramatic difference between the north and the south. In the north the blacks won't even recoginize your there while in the south they will talk your leg off. Very nice...very polite. Up north is totally another story. At the same respect of things, up north in spots the whites will give you the obvious look of...you don't belong here...get the heck out of OUR TOWN. Down south pretty much everywhere the whites seem to have the attitude of not wanting you around. The blacks would talk my leg off but the whites flat out didn't want anything to do with me at all. Once I crossed out of black country everything changed and turned back to normal. Not sure why the dramatic difference but it was quite a dramatic difference. I'm white so it really did seem strange to be riding along and seeing other whites ignoring me like I didn't even exist.

I think you will normally find the best crowds are probably in the midwest part of the country away from the cities. They are still civilized around there unlike in the cities where everybody has the human eat human mentality. Most of the time whenever I stopped at a gas station in t he midwest someone would speak to me. I was usually stopping in smaller towns not the in the bigger cities. Small town life has a lot going for it that is lost in the cities.
Thanks for that @bikenh. I'm glad you feel comfortable about taking like race and wish others were as well. Thanks again.
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Old 09-18-16, 04:36 PM
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I suspect that attitudes toward bicycle tourists depend largely on experience with the local bicycling crowd.
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Old 09-18-16, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The best place for touring in the US is in the northern region,...... usually offer free maple syrup.
Well next to free bacon or free pizza... free maple syrup would be my favorite... and better than friendly people.

I swear to God... of all the places I've been. I've always felt the smiles I got from others were always a direct reflection of the smiles I projected.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Well next to free bacon or free pizza... free maple syrup would be my favorite... and better than friendly people.

I swear to God... of all the places I've been. I've always felt the smiles I got from others were always a direct reflection of the smiles I projected.
+1
When my wife and I were riding through Chicago, we tried to see how many people we could get to smile back at us. I don't remember the exact score, but it was close to 100%
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Old 09-18-16, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
.... Down south pretty much everywhere the whites seem to have the attitude of not wanting you around. .....
I'm afraid it's not you but what you represent. A white dude on a bike must be an urban liberal.

I'm starting to overhear political jokes and comments more and more when at rural grocery stores, convenience stores, etc... I'm meant to overhear it. (Obama this, Obama that.... ) I noticed it starts up when I enter the scene.

It was never like this 25 years ago when on tour.
Little do they know I'm a conservative.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by BlarneyHammer View Post
Large cities, it's not the people, it's simply the environment. They're a drag to ride through, touring or not. Touring makes it even worse because city riding means constant starting and stopping, and you have to get that heavy load moving again...
I don't like large cities in non-touring life either, so on tour, I avoid them like the plague. No draw, no appeal whatsoever. I don't understand why anyone would wanna live like that, but they're obviously popular, or they wouldn't be large cities. I must be in the minority.
I gotta agree with not wanting to live like that but to ride through t he big cities I found last year to be the one thing that stood out positively for me. I guess since I have managed to avoid the big cities for so long might be part of the reason. Call it a change of environment. Probably the only place I've been that I have no desire to go back to again is New Orleans. Otherwise I would be stupid enough to ride a bike again in Boston, Philadelphia, love to go back to Nashville. Actually since I'm not editing this as I'm typing it, Baltimore is also a h3!! hole. Both times I've been in Baltimore I've ended up getting lost. For me I think it is the big cities is somewhere I normally don't get around so I don't mind going through them while on a trip...I just always try to time myself so I'm not going through during rush hour or I know I'll pay the price for it.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
So white people in the north and south dont like you. Got it.
Misunderstood. Only in certain places have I had any feelings that I'm not welcomed up north. I have a strange feeling if I were to take a much closer look at the community in question I find a community that has a lot of money to it is also a community that will reject cyclists on tour.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post

I swear to God... of all the places I've been. I've always felt the smiles I got from others were always a direct reflection of the smiles I projected.
Exactly! I have toured extensively by bicycle, small boat. motorcycle and ancient Volvo. A smile and kind words has nearly always brought the same in return for me regardless of race, religion,financial status or geographic location.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
I'm afraid it's not you but what you represent. A white dude on a bike must be an urban liberal.

I'm starting to overhear political jokes and comments more and more when at rural grocery stores, convenience stores, etc... I'm meant to overhear it. (Obama this, Obama that.... ) I noticed it starts up when I enter the scene.

It was never like this 25 years ago when on tour.
Little do they know I'm a conservative.
You make an extremely interesting point that I had not thought about. Last year as I was seeing this strange behavior between the whites and blacks I was figuring it was a money thing...I'm on a bicycle so I don't have any money so you don't associate with low lifes, while the blacks saw me right on their level and they would converse with me. I never even stopped to think about it from a political perspective. I'm going to have to watch out for that more often now and see if I see the same behavior you are noticing. Never paid attention to it before.
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Old 09-18-16, 06:09 PM
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I think that the difference is between rural and urban areas. Not only cycling, but just about everything.
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Old 09-18-16, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Misunderstood. Only in certain places have I had any feelings that I'm not welcomed up north. I have a strange feeling if I were to take a much closer look at the community in question I find a community that has a lot of money to it is also a community that will reject cyclists on tour.
That is not my experience. My wife and I were invited home for lunch by a guy near Cleveland that stopped to ask if we needed help. He told us how to get to his place, and ended up riding out to meet us. We had a great lunch with him and his family. He was an Orthodontist who lived in a very nice community. We have been wished well from "homeless" people on bikes to elderly ladies, rolling down their window at stop light to wish us well.

We have also been approached by a church group in a small town on a Sunday morning that was just leaving the cafe after breakfast. They asked the usual questions, then asked if they could say a prayer for us to have a safe journey. They formed a circle around us, joined hands, and prayed for us.

I could probably make a list long enough to fill one page of this thread with the kind acts that we have experienced. My list of bad experiences would be pretty short.

I believe folks are pretty universal, and Dave Cotter said it well. If you smile and show respect, it does not matter much who you are talking to.

How you are treated depends on the number of cyclists that have come before you. On the popular ACA routes a cyclist is a common sight, and is treated no differently than anyone else; nor should they. Also your treatment could be based on folk's experiences with other cyclists. I've seen cyclist do things that even pissed me off. I sometimes think that touring cyclists think that they should be treated differently just because they travel on a bike. While a bike is a great ice-breaker, thinking that we should be treated differently because we arrived on it is unrealistic.

I also think it is how you present yourself. If I have a "clean" appearance, I think it affects how people react to me. Most know that I am a serious traveller, and treat me accordingly.

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Old 09-18-16, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
..... I'm starting to overhear political jokes and comments more and more when at rural grocery stores, convenience stores, etc... I'm meant to overhear it. (Obama this, Obama that.... ) I noticed it starts up when I enter the scene.
I think you're right about political comments. But I haven't had a chance to get into a rural area for some time. I am hearing the comments where I live... in a decent sized city. In places like the car dealership, and the dentist office waiting room. I think it is a sign of the times... NOT the region.
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Old 09-18-16, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I believe folks are pretty universal, and Dave Cotter said it well. If you smile and show respect, it does not matter much who you are talking to.
But communities can be quite different from each other. I smiled at everyone in Milpitas (hell I was given a free pass to ride all day by the wife) but it didn't work.

Maybe other cyclists have done them wrong or maybe its a chicken and egg thing.
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Old 09-18-16, 07:28 PM
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Question:

Do those of you who live near a popular touring route, feel the locals are more likely to see a cycling tourist as a nuisance since they have to deal with them all the time? vs. where I tour, generally off the beaten path, I'm looked at as more of an oddity and probably a "nut" so they are more likely to engage me? Again, it may go back to rural vs. city slickers.
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