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Anyone self conscious by commuting too much?

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Anyone self conscious by commuting too much?

Old 10-17-13, 10:16 AM
  #1  
boattail71
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Anyone self conscious by commuting too much?

Like most of you you'd rather ride the bike if you can instead of driving - this is my attitude.

I had a coworker sneer one time - mentioning that every time he sees someone ride a bike to the liquor store he assumes he's a DUI license loser. Hmmm... I always ride my bike for a six-pack. Should I care what the drivers think?

At Home Depot recently I had to straddle potted plants and squeeze by lawn mowers to get to a neglected bike rack. Told the saw guy how to cut up my 4 x 8 sheet and bungy-corded it to my rusty, paperboy-basketed middleweight. Should I worry what appearance I'm projecting as I pedal my unwieldy steed through the parking lot?

Now, the obvious initial answer is "suck it up Boat, what the heck do you care what other people think?" Well, here's my conundrum, I work with quite a few muckety-mucks in my not too big community and socially fair or not, I actually do care how I'm percieved in public - you know, professionally - in case that executive secretary or city council member I did business with earlier in the work day just might also be at HD or driving by that liquour store and sees me in my grubby after work jeans on a who knows how out-dated and scratched up my choice of bike happens to be that day.

Fortunately, in my area there are tons of bike commuters around here so that company helps my typical laissez faire attitude. Curious if any of you are in the same boat and how you deal with similar issues. Or just tell us a relating story.
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Old 10-17-13, 10:49 AM
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I live in the cycling mecca of the south (gville Fl) and don't really worry at all. One of my coworkers bikes to work himself. Never get called for it, and get complimented for it quite a bit.
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Old 10-17-13, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by plustax View Post
I live in the cycling mecca of the south (gville Fl).
I rode a couple brevets out of Gainesville and I wasvery impressed with their cycling infrastructure.

Boattail, I would love to see a pic of the '37 Columbia, or anything else in that range.

Why worry about what people who don't know you think? Yes, they will make assumptions unless you are in full 'kit'. But, those who do know you should be able to see that cycling is good for you.
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Old 10-17-13, 01:03 PM
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I've learned to get over it. Right now my only remaining hurdle is dispelling the disbelief my bosses have about me being able to access other parts of the base when I need to. Having already done it, it doesn't take much longer than just driving, really.

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Old 10-17-13, 02:34 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by boattail71 View Post
Like most of you you'd rather ride the bike if you can instead of driving - this is my attitude.

I had a coworker sneer one time - mentioning that every time he sees someone ride a bike to the liquor store he assumes he's a DUI license loser. Hmmm... I always ride my bike for a six-pack. Should I care what the drivers think?

At Home Depot recently I had to straddle potted plants and squeeze by lawn mowers to get to a neglected bike rack. Told the saw guy how to cut up my 4 x 8 sheet and bungy-corded it to my rusty, paperboy-basketed middleweight. Should I worry what appearance I'm projecting as I pedal my unwieldy steed through the parking lot?

Now, the obvious initial answer is "suck it up Boat, what the heck do you care what other people think?" Well, here's my conundrum, I work with quite a few muckety-mucks in my not too big community and socially fair or not, I actually do care how I'm percieved in public - you know, professionally - in case that executive secretary or city council member I did business with earlier in the work day just might also be at HD or driving by that liquour store and sees me in my grubby after work jeans on a who knows how out-dated and scratched up my choice of bike happens to be that day.

Fortunately, in my area there are tons of bike commuters around here so that company helps my typical laissez faire attitude. Curious if any of you are in the same boat and how you deal with similar issues. Or just tell us a relating story.
Are you serious? A person whose method of commuting is beneficial to society in so many ways should feel self-conscious about it and worry about what a haughty, superficial cager thinks? Not gonna happen.
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Old 10-17-13, 02:42 PM
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I take it back, I've noticed that my quads are beyond ripped and now disproportional to the rest of my body. My David-esque aesthetically pleasing body is in need of fine tuning.

Self conscious? You bet.
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Old 10-17-13, 02:57 PM
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If anyone sneers about assuming that a cyclist is a DUI case, I just point out that my license is completely unblemished. It's a teaching moment.

I think I improve my image locally by helping out as a bicycle advocate in my community. I'm part of a group that links me in with leading lawyers, architects, business people, judges and mayors. I'm not just a guy on the side of the road. They know me as a cyclist. They know that I am proud of my 25 year old bike because I am happy to show it off at events like the kickoff of the Mayor's Car-Free Challenge a couple of weeks ago. It shows that you don't need a high-priced fancy bicycle to be serious. And the way my bike is set up sets a good example of what a utility bike can be.

I think that carrying odd objects just shows my ingenuity and commitment. It's street cred.
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Old 10-17-13, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
I rode a couple brevets out of Gainesville and I wasvery impressed with their cycling infrastructure.

Boattail, I would love to see a pic of the '37 Columbia, or anything else in that range.

Why worry about what people who don't know you think? Yes, they will make assumptions unless you are in full 'kit'. But, those who do know you should be able to see that cycling is good for you.
I don't mind being seen full kit as I look gooooood, at least I'd like to think so. Kitted up is usually a clean look and on nicer bikes. It's just that I project myself a certain way in business and that surely clashes with my dumpster-diving look - in that rare case where someone sees both. Hmmm... maybe I could claim a twin.

The Columbia is a Shapleighs Hardware branded bike. I have never seen another Shapleighs bike. It's fairly rough but original paint. It's got the super-cool Morrow hub and I recovered the seat and boy is it heavy! I don't ride that one.

Last edited by boattail71; 10-17-13 at 03:33 PM. Reason: add on
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Old 10-17-13, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
Yes, they will make assumptions unless you are in full 'kit'.
Don't fool yourself; some of "they" will make assumptions (not necessarily positive) about a cyclist, especially if in full "kit".
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Old 10-17-13, 03:40 PM
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I don't worry what other people think about my personal choice of transportation. You can not live and enjoy your life if you constantly worry what other people might think of you.
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Old 10-17-13, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Are you serious? A person whose method of commuting is beneficial to society in so many ways should feel self-conscious about it and worry about what a haughty, superficial cager thinks? Not gonna happen.
Ya but there are a lot of people who don't get it. I told the saw guy at Home Depot that I needed my wood cut up as I was on a bike. He was agast, "a bike!" then said nothing. I could tell he thought we had nothing in common, that he would not be able to comprehend that which you mentioned above.
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Old 10-17-13, 03:42 PM
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No, not any more. I felt like there was a social stigma at first but I think it's mostly just in our own minds. Strangers who talk to me about it are invariably respectful about the choice, and whoever thinks otherwise generally keeps it to himself, and that's all I really want from them.

If I'm at Home Depot it's because I'm going to get some work done - dressing professionally would be pretentious. Old jeans and ragged shirt, perfect. I do take the car for beer runs however.
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Old 10-17-13, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by boattail71 View Post
It's just that I project myself a certain way in business and that surely clashes with my dumpster-diving look - in that rare case where someone sees both. Hmmm... maybe I could claim a twin.
What's a " dumpster-diving look" ??
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Old 10-17-13, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don't worry what other people think about my personal choice of transportation. You can not live and enjoy your life if you constantly worry what other people might think of you.
I should be glad I'm as happy as I am then.

--Still worry
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Old 10-17-13, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
What's a " dumpster-diving look" ??
Not dressed in full "kit"?
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Old 10-17-13, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
What's a " dumpster-diving look" ??
That was kind of a toung-in-cheek comment. At home I dress for my activity. If I'm chopping wood or taking a hub apart I dress in my grubbiest clothes. It's those clothes that I sometimes go for a beer run or to the hardware store. But as wphamilton said, you don't need to be pretentious at a hardware store.

Also, do I dare admit this? Don't tell my colleagues. I do dumpster dive when I see something that can be repurposed or saved. It's amazing what people throw out. Darkness is good for this.
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Old 10-17-13, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by boattail71 View Post
I don't mind being seen full kit as I look gooooood, at least I'd like to think so. Kitted up is usually a clean look and on nicer bikes. It's just that I project myself a certain way in business and that surely clashes with my dumpster-diving look - in that rare case where someone sees both. Hmmm... maybe I could claim a twin.
I wouldn't worry. I used to see the actor William Devane in Home Depot with surprising regularity. Old T shirt and raggedy jeans.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 10-17-13, 05:14 PM
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I've had a friend tell me the same thing. My tongue-in-cheek response was that when I see a motorist, I assume that they're overweight, lazy, tv addicts. (one of these stereotypes might be much more likely to be true)

Honestly, though... who cares? In fact, if they think I'm drunk on the bike, maybe they'll give me more room, because I might do something unpredictable. =)
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Old 10-17-13, 05:19 PM
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Not at all embarrassed, whether someone knows me or not. Likely, the tastes and opinions of others are going to conflict with my own in all sorts of other things (most definitely culturally and in terms of art & music in American society), and if someone can't accept that or tries to sneer or cast aspersions, then maybe it becomes me judging them particularly harshly and not the other way around. I don't place very much importance on social capital or status, though - particularly those defined by the commercial world or the narrow imprint of any one particular culture - and I have the luxury of doing that in my particular position in life.

I think if one has a strong enough sense of self - even if reflexive after a lifetime of social abuse - such social stigmata can start to vanish pretty easily. Developing one's own talents and opinions helps. Education helps. And aging helps. Teens and 20-somethings are exposed to lots more ephemeral and severely constricted social pressures than adults, in my experience.

At any rate, if someone were to try to make me feel bad about myself over something so trivial, it reflects much more badly on them than me, and in a not-so-trivial way too.
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Old 10-17-13, 06:58 PM
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Around me, in NJ, attitudes have changed. When i began cycling as transportation, the DUI/poverty/loser stigma reigned supreme. Around here, lately (5 years or so, maybe?), the stigma has changed to hippie/green/environmentalist flavors. Some folks applaud that; others detest it. I'm not worried about who judges me, nor do i care much about whether they despise me for being a drunk vs being hippie. I just think it's kind of interesting, from a sociology perspective.

Tell us a bit about this town you live in. I thought CO was pro-bike, but you've described some sort of primitive village, marred by a hideous strain of outback atavism. Maybe I've gotten the wrong impression, but I'm kind of thinking something along the lines of The Hills Have Eyes.
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Old 10-17-13, 07:53 PM
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I can't quote the exact phrase used in my family about this subject, so I'll 'expand it:

If you are NOT:

1.)using your money to pay all of my bills;
2.)buying, preparing, cooking, and serving me all of my meals;
3.)fulfilling all of my sexual needs and wants;

then your opinion is totally meaningless.

Short version, is the "three F's".........
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Old 10-17-13, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
My tongue-in-cheek response was that when I see a motorist, I assume that they're overweight, lazy, tv addicts. (one of these stereotypes might be much more likely to be true)
I love stereotypes. This is perfect. And probably a good percentage are DUI.
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Old 10-17-13, 08:44 PM
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It had never occurred to me that some people look at cyclists like that until someone mentioned it in another thread here. My reaction was, seriously? I'm a new cyclist who used to have a (not necessarily positive) stereotypical view of the cyclists, but even so, I never thought of cyclists as those who were forced to ride because of suspended/revoked licenses.
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Old 10-17-13, 08:54 PM
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Around here, pretty much all the cyclists I see off base are -dead- broke types.

M.
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Old 10-17-13, 09:44 PM
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The only time I really ever get self conscious is when something is wrong with my bike. Like today, she's developed a light squeak from somewhere and it's killing me cause I can't find where it is. Makes me feel kinda lame if people see me on a bike going "squueee.....squeeeeee.....squeeee...." Kinda looks like i dont take care of my stuff. Plus if that squeak is there tomorrow, I'm gonna go batcrap.

I digress

Other than that.... I'm too busy enjoying my bike to notice them. I do actually like it when I go into the store or something and my helmet is hanging from my backpack. I can feel people looking and going "Ugh... I should get in better shape..." and they put the donuts back on the shelf.

And then I come up behind them, and take the donuts.

Because mmmmm donuts
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