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Gotta go, gotta go

Old 03-12-08, 09:17 AM
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Gotta go, gotta go

Last Summer, while riding ACA's Underground Railroad through New York on my way to Niagra Falls I had to pee. As this is an urban area, it wouldn't do (as a first option) to use a bush, so, after buying a drink at a gas station convenience store I asked to use the "facilities". I was told they were broken.

I put the drink away, not wanting to aggravate my condition, and stopped at another gas station. No facilities there. Then I entered a CVS pharmacy, grabbed a bottle of $10 sunscreen that I had every intention to buy, and tried to use the facilities in the back next to the pharmacy. They were locked and I was informed that the toilets were only for the use by employees.

Detecting a pattern, I thought that perhaps my appearance was off-putting. But I had stayed at a motel the night before and my hair still had that freshly blown dry look, my clothes (spandex shorts and yellow cycling jersey were sparklingly clean), and I was riding a $4000 Americano touring bicycle with brand new Arkel panniers. Furthermore, I am an over-educated retired attorney, so well-spoken and articulate except for that edge in one's voice that comes from an over-full bladder.

I have ridden over 20k miles throughout the US and Canada and NEVER had a problem finding a proper place to pee. For some reason, New Yorkers seem to be unsympathetic to a biological function that must be regularly addressed while touring - even in urban areas. Now, I appreciate the right of private property owners to license (legal term) use of their facilities as they see fit (example: No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service), but there is something wrong about denying such a basic courtesy to paying, well-groomed customers. Or is the reputation of New Yorkers as being the most rude and selfish people on the planet warranted?
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Old 03-12-08, 09:29 AM
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I stopped relying on gas stations for "facilities" long ago. The ones with stores in them usually have nice bathrooms, but most offer nothing, as you say.

Instead, I rely on fast food places, which, in California, are more common than gas stations. Restaurants have to provide bathrooms to their customers and fast food places don't seem to have a problem if I pop in for a quick leak.

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Old 03-12-08, 10:23 AM
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Yep, cities are worse than rural areas, bigger cities are worse than smaller cities. I apply the traffic light rule to this situation, I'll wait a bit, but eventually I'll just go when the coast is clear. Any short alley with a dumpster will do, just pretend you're adjusting something on your bike, kneel down if you have to, leak into a cup if you have to while hiding behind the bike and gear. Pretending to look at a map while holding the map up with one hand and single handing the process with the mapless hand. Or setting a camera up on a tripod and looking intently into the viewfinder with the camera pointed across the street, one hand holding the bike with you behind it, the other, uh, well, I'll not go on any further.

edit to add: fast food places are the first and best option, when available, before the above. Large chain bookstores and known local department stores or grocery stores are the second best option. After that all bets are off.

Last edited by treebound; 03-12-08 at 11:48 AM. Reason: added options
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Old 03-12-08, 11:06 AM
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McDonalds.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:40 PM
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I had that problem in Philly. Sometimes you have to try a lot of stores before anyone lets you. Pretty annoying. In Wyoming it was a different problem... empty roads with not a bush to hide behind for miles and miles and miles.

Someone I know got, uh, P-O'd at a restaurant for not letting her use their bathrooms, so she peed in their parking lot. :LOL:
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Old 03-12-08, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
I had that problem in Philly. Sometimes you have to try a lot of stores before anyone lets you. Pretty annoying. In Wyoming it was a different problem... empty roads with not a bush to hide behind for miles and miles and miles.
I agree: especially in treeless areas I've gotten to the point where I'll just hide behind my bike and try to face away from oncoming traffic (in these areas maybe 1 truck)
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Old 03-12-08, 02:10 PM
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Stores, in most cities I've been to, won't let you (or anyone) use their facilities. Many will have signs up saying they do not have facilities for the public.

Gas stations and convenience stores are hit and miss. Usually, here in western Canada, you can still use the washrooms in a gas station at least, and often a convenience store, if you buy something ... but one in a local town surprised me recently by telling me they didn't have washroom facilities. And in Australia it is the rare gas station or convenience store with a washroom.

If you want to use washroom facilities, try a mall ... I have never had trouble finding facilities there, or being able to use them. Another place would be train or bus stations. And fast food places, as mentioned.

In Australia, most towns have public toilets somewhere in the middle of town ... I like that idea, and they seem to keep them in relatively good condition. In Europe, some towns also have public toilets ... and they may or may not be in good condition. The closest we come to that in Canada would be in a park ... many city parks have washroom facilities.

Otherwise, if worse comes to worse, I've just gone around behind a building to where the dumpster is and have gone there.
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Old 03-12-08, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
...Someone I know got, uh, P-O'd at a restaurant for not letting her use their bathrooms, so she peed in their parking lot. :LOL:
Yeah. I've been known to do the same thing back in my bad-ass motorcycling days. To ignore the necessity of these basic human functions is pretty stupid.
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Old 03-12-08, 06:08 PM
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That's why I like Italy. Any place of business (public accommodation) is required to have a bathroom and they are required to let you use it. You do not need to purchase anything, but that is the right thing to do.

I was in a small cafe in Pavia that even had a shower! I did not ask to use it.

Being male is a real plus, you can always find an out of the way place to go just as long as it is nothing "serious". Hey the bums do it.

And there does not seem to be much of a problem of men relieving themselves in public, in Italy anyway. You often see truck drivers whipping it out and they make no special effort to find a hiding place.
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Old 03-12-08, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
Or is the reputation of New Yorkers as being the most rude and selfish people on the planet warranted?
It has been my experience that New Yorkers can seem very rude at first. But just figure a way to get through that shell and you will find some of the nicest people anywhere that would do just about anything for you.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:22 PM
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I have a very weak bladder and when I have to go, I have to go NOW. Trust me a parked car in a parking lot or a dumpster works just fine for me.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:29 PM
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I think it's the touristy places that are the worst. I had this problem in a dinky town in Montana northeast of Yellowstone. There were only about 6 businesses open and none of them would let you use the bathroom. I ended up going out of town to find a bush--and to didn't do any shopping in town.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
... Or is the reputation of New Yorkers as being the most rude and selfish people on the planet warranted?
Unwarranted, IMO. I'm an Oklahoman living for the past 45 years in upstate NY, including a recent 12 weeks in Brooklyn. Maybe it's just me, but I frequently come home elated by how nice people have been to me--Brooklyn included. I've toured (bike and/or car) in all 50 states. The distribution of rudeness-to-courtesy, selfishness-to-generosity, interest-to-indifference has seemed to me to be roughly the same everywhere, enough that I honestly can't generalize about any one area. I would cite examples--of both wonderful and awful experiences with people around the country--but that wouldn't warrant drawing general conclusions.

Maybe CVS's corporate policy is employee-only restrooms. Maybe that gas station's restroom was out of order. Maybe three instances are not enough to constitute a pattern. I can certainly sympathize though; a full bladder does encourage those thoughts

One of the most bike-friendly chains in NY state is the Stewarts Shops (300 of them)--clean, well-stocked convenience stores/gas stations that I've found to be extra hospitable.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:50 PM
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unless you need to take a dump, just piss at the side of the road...or behind the gas station.
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Old 03-17-08, 04:30 AM
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In NYC try the city playgrounds and parks, & city museums not private.
I usually stop at town municipal offices, police stations & fire depts.
I had one FD put me up for the night
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