The Chainlink

So people. Look. Every single day, at some point in my ride to work or from work or for errands or whatever, at least once, a man pulls up behind me, a woman, who is waiting at a light and just assumes, in the absence of other information (for I have been placidly waiting, perhaps, for a while) that I must be slower than he is,

He therefore thinks that he should aggressively pull in front of me or cut me off, because I, a lady, will only get in his way! Shortly, this gentleman and I both find that he actually isn't a faster or stronger rider than I am, and sometimes we discover this whilst, say, going over the river along Damen! Either way, I then have to pass him, which makes things less safe for both of us. Please, dudes. STOP DOING THIS. IT'S RUDE AND YOU'LL FEEL BAD LATER AND YOUR SELF-ESTEEM IS NOT MY PROBLEM.  

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Your comparison here will start to be valid the second as many people look at a big strong man and assume he is weak as look at a mechanically competent woman and assume she isn't.

You could not possibly have a worse understanding of this issue if you tried.

My comparison has nothing to do with the strength of the large man or the mechanical competency of the woman, my comparison is of the response to the offer of help. And as I said, both of those responses ring of insecurity.

Do you understand, "an offer of help". There are no assumptions of any bodies competency, man or woman, it's just an offer. Either no thanks, or thanks, yes would be a suitable response.

What I'm seeing in much of this dialog is a lack of grace, an unwillingness to look at one action without assuming that it's just more of the same. And that's sad because it breeds resentment and perpetuates the problem.

 

So are you as likely to offer help to a 'big strong man' trying to lift a moderately sized box as you are to a woman attempting to fix her bike?  

You just don't get it and you probably never will because you just don't want to listen to women about their experience or try to think about how they feel in any of this.

What really breeds resentment is dudes like you who want to pretend there isn't a serious problem.

DUG, I am just as likely to offer help to a man or a woman attempting to do a roadside repair on their bicycle. What the hell does a moderate sized box have to do with that?

It's not that I don't get it, it's that you want to prove yourself right no matter what response you get.

Why the insistence to turn the offer of help to a cause, it trivializes the real issues and repels many who want to understand, but lose patience.

You may "get it" but you have no real understanding of things that fall out of your compartmentalized frame of reference. Try taking off the blinders and seeing that there is a difference between an offer and an attack, then maybe you'll truly get it.

Are you being purposefully obtuse here?

You don't want to understand it because after multiple people have explained it to you in multiple ways you refuse to listen or think about this from another perspective.

You are accusing me of having a "compartmentalized frame of reference" and then go o to talk about there being a difference between an offer and an attack but refusing to understand that hat you may see as an offer of assistance feels like an attack to another person.

Have you ever experienced another person saying something they thought was funny but was actually very upsetting to you?

It's the same thing.

Hmm.  I read this thread today after  being  away over the holiday.  I liked Tom's  reply on  7-3 essentially saying  he will  ask  anybody on the side  of the road  who looks  like they may have  a mechanical if they have  all that they need.  I did this  yesterday and  received  a wave and  a thanks from  a rider who apparently had  it  all under  control. What  that rider  does with is is not my  problem.  If they see me with  a different lens and my  offer  is perceived as  a  threat or  something else I am ok with that. After all, it is simply not about me. It is about that rider's  flat or bottom  bracket and sometimes about that rider's  experience  with other humans. There  is no code  of conduct other than the one we should always use- treat others as we  would  hope to be  treated and  don't be a dick.  It's the best we all  can do.

Well said, David.

Yes, thank you David. Yes, ask, "do you have everything you need?"

Just caught up on this and jeebus, there sure are some fragile male egos here!

Funny how reliably a woman saying "Guys: please don't do this thing" brings the howling out of the woodwork

Yep, it's kinda amazing how consistently that brings out the sexist howling.

For more than 10 years I had a pretty long commute. I passed and was passed by many riders, man, woman and child. The thing that made me more crazy than anything else was the dude (and it was always a dude) who would race pass me and then not keep up the pace. I'd inevitably catch up to this manic, huffing and puffing and getting in the way, making things unsafe. As much as it happened to me, I saw it happen to women all the time, and it was always creepy and gross. 

There is still a serious problem with women being a part of bike culture, and people (again, mostly loud men) are very afraid of what would happen to their little club if they admitted that they didn't have some kind of right to it. The kind of resistance present here is what keeps so many people off bikes, especially women and people of color. 

If you can't handle having your offer of help rejected, or can't wait to see how fast everyone else is, you need to think about why you're on that bike and what your behavior is doing to other people who choose this mode of transportation. Biking and active transportation has the ability to change populations far beyond our little corner. Please consider that you don't have all of the answers, that riding your bike is simply enough.

(By the way, the "you got everything you need" approach is great. I love fixing flats and helping people but not everyone wants or needs it. Ask and move along and don't judge their response!)

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