Unwanted Advice

When I first started biking I didn’t know what I was doing. But I knew I was having fun. Yes, loads of fun, until…

Unwanted Advice

Yes, the unsolicited advice from strangers started coming. Of course some of it was useful advice. But no matter what it was also condescending. I wished they would be quiet and let me enjoy my ride. If I wanted bike help I could turn to my bike shop or the internet. I decided then to never give advice on the road.

Now with years of experience I have tons of tips I want to share too. When I bike in spring my inner monologue goes something like this:

Embarrassing Advice for Newbies

And when I see the newbie swerve I have to wonder:

The Newbie Swerve

But I just keep quiet and let everyone enjoy their ride and hope they keep riding… and maybe someday giving advice to others.

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44 Comments on "Unwanted Advice"

May 16, 2014

Yes the cyclist swerving in and out of the parking lane is one of my pet peeves. And I try not to notice the low tires, squeaking chains, and badly adjusted brakes I see on the road as I ride. The big problem is most of those I see on the Invisibles and my spanish went to pot after my wreck, so I can’t come up with the words to help them even if they would accept help.

May 16, 2014

I don’t keep quiet – not with the person in the last frame. He’s making it unsafe for me as well. But I do often mutter under my breath, “why are you even bothering to wear a helmet if you can’t wear it properly?”

May 16, 2014

Ah so true. I have never been W.M.D. but I have had all those thoughts as I’ve observed newbies with very poorly adjusted bicycles and improperly worn helmets. I generally only say something if asked though. I figure they’ll eventually figure it out. The more surprising situation is when I see someone decked out in spandex in a really expensive bike with similar issues as you’ve outlined: squeaky chain and gears, weaving in and out of parked cars, etc. That to me is really much more embarrassing because they’re giving them impression from what they’ve spent that they’re an expert whereas their behavior shows they have a lot to learn.

May 16, 2014

Great article! My husband gets more unsolicited advice, I get a lot if people asking if I’m okay financially or do I need a ride (because I bike with an Xtracycle with 2 kids on it). An I get told a lot of stories about people killed (because I don’t wear a helmet).

May 16, 2014

“Oh you poor cyclist! Do you need a ride?”
“What, and miss all this?”
(reference Yehuda Moon comic.)

Sarah Berkner
May 7, 2015

You can tell them you’re just doing your part to prevent global warming :)
The helmet thing is different, even if it’s annoying and unsolicited they just want you to be safe.

May 16, 2014

Driver pulls over to offer help since I am leaning on my bike and quite red-faced; I notice she is very old. “I always look like this, I am OK”, I reply. “You don’t have to help people any more, you know. They might be kooks and you have earned your retirement”, I say. She replies, “You must be from the city.” We are forty miles from town and a country woman is smiling at me as if to say, relax, city boy.