Not Asking for It

The other day I was biking to work when this happened:


I wouldn’t think anything of it if it happened once. But I’ve noticed my attire seems to prompt certain responses in other road users.


How do I know it’s not just an off day? Because I have the ability to change clothes.

Some days I’m this cyclist:


And later that same evening I might be this cyclist:


I’m called out on my appearance daily as I go about my business on public streets without the cover of a car.


Even “ordinary” attire has drawbacks.


It’s no surprise that most days I find myself dressing to get the reaction I want when I bike. Or at least the most benign reaction.


But no matter what I’m wearing it’s still just me: complex, multi-dimensional, and in awesome shape.

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  • LondonCalling April 26, 2014   Reply →

    Totally get the first commenters about hanging behind someone- as a guy, I sometimes go to great lengths to avoid freaking out women as I unavoidably find myself walking EXACTLY the same route home, right behind them, down a series of dark streets. Either you speed up and race ahead ( on foot) so as to not seem like a threat, or you stop and tie a lace and give them a bit of a headstart. I have on occasions faked a call on my cell and had a really overly cheery, gushy conversation with some one who’s not there, so as to demonstrate that I’m non threatening. How sad is that?

    • Lisa May 6, 2014  

      That’s actually really helpful. It definitely freaks me out if someone is following too close. Also, crossing the street to the other side if you can helps.

  • Gerald LeRoy April 28, 2014   Reply →

    Hey there,
    That sweaty, out-of-breath guy sounds a lot like me when I ride. (expect my tires usually have the right amount of air in them)

    I’m not sure of this helps or not..

    My daily commute to and from work is the only cardio exercise that I get – so I try to make my commute into a fitness workout. In my head I’m often thinking things like, “I made it home in 22 minutes yesterday. I wonder if I can make it home in 21 minutes today?” -which may sound dorky – but I’m trying to make my commute work for me – i.e. make it not boring – make it an exercise self-challenge.

    Fyi safety is always the highest priority when I ride and is always more important than whatever exercise goal I’m trying to achieve on my ride.

    Additionally I end up passing some people while I’m sweaty and out of breath and wonder what people are thinking when I pass them up – so this article helps. I sometimes wonder if people think it’s some kind of an ego thing on my part if I pass them.

    Not sure if it helps to say that (just speaking for myself) that if I pass you up – it doesn’t have anything to do with you or with gender or anything – it’s just me trying to turn my commute into exercise.

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  • anniebikes May 9, 2014   Reply →

    I think most drivers, bikers are jealous when they see a woman in a skirt who can comfortably ride a bike. It may manifest itself as aggression, drafting, or passing too close, but in the end they wish they could ride with similar confidence.

  • Anita June 23, 2014   Reply →

    This post is hilarious! I can relate to all seven frames.
    Keep it up! I had a good laugh this morning. :)

  • Bonnie Lake July 18, 2014   Reply →

    If you haven’t already done so, I recommend a trip to Amsterdam. See how biking is done, and done well.

  • Alexia October 5, 2014   Reply →

    You are speaking for all of us!!!

  • Nicole | Bonjour Bicycle October 15, 2014   Reply →

    So true! I’m still getting used to being so visible on a bike. Sometimes it’s cool, but — like you pointed out — sometimes it’s not. Oh, well. Thanks for the laugh!

  • Timothy53 January 22, 2015   Reply →

    …. if my profession was city host.

    I get that running. Soaked with sweat, obviously trying to beat this hill and some idiot stops to ask directions to wherever. And I am a nice guy so I help. Once as I was helping out one driver while I was standing on the yellow line, a second driver pulled in behind me to ask their own directions.

    That was it.

    Now my answer is “Pull over, dig out your phone and use the GPS.”

  • DoctorKennyG February 3, 2015   Reply →

    I have to say I’m a bit perplexed over the offense at someone passing me. There are times when someone has passed me only for it to reverse as we ride. Maybe one of us was bonking. Maybe one of us is faster on hills.

    And, for whatever reason, dorks in cars seem convinced that male cyclists are gay, only they don’t choose to say it in a nice way.

  • Rui April 25, 2015   Reply →

    That’s why I loved living in the Netherlands, people just rode their bikes. No fuss…

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