The Chainlink

Sorry, I just need to express some angst for a moment. I think people are being sexist and it's very irritating. Two years ago some dude drove a car into me while it happened to be February. Last weekend I took a spill on some ice and managed to shatter my arm. (Still not sure how---I've fallen lots of times without injury, except to my pride maybe.) Everyone is acting like I've just proven how crazy-dangerous it is to ride a bike in winter, or even at all. I suspect that if I were a dude, I'd only be getting this from my mom (and wife/girlfriend, if applicable). Is it just cabin fever making me cranky and imagine things, or does this really happen?

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Jeff Schneider said:

I don't mention close calls on the bike, either.  It's interesting that when I talk about close calls in the car, nobody suggests I give up driving...

Skip Montanaro 12mi said:

I agree with Mike and Jeff. I get enough grief from family and friends that I no longer even mention close calls.

I will take this a step further and say there is a general bias against cyclists.

Example 1: I went to a new dentist and walked passed the security guard in street clothes. The next time I showed up in bike clothes and helmet I was confronted about what I wanted. Succeeding trips in regular clothes and I was not challenged.

Example 2: I walked into a restaurant/tavern close to where I live and had frequented for a few years, but this time I was in bike clothes and helmet and the server demanded my credit card in advance where this had never happened before.

Coming from a male, this may not have much credibility but I do not see a gender issue. People tell me I am nuts for riding my bike, especially this time of year, all of the time. I see a couple things at play based on your original post.  

Some people tend to blame the victim. I see this with sickness.  "You should have worn a warmer coat", "you should not have gone out in that weather", "You should have washed your hands"  This stuff drives me crazy. It happens with accidents too. "you should have looked" "you were riding a what??" etc.

After getting hurt a second time, you may be experiencing a little self doubt.  I think most of us would have some element of self doubt. Given this, when somebody else makes a comment it may sting more. Life is an extreme sport and sometimes...well it happens. A few weeks ago my uncle, who is a very active guy even if he doesn't ride a bike, walked out the front door of his building, slipped on ice and fractured his wrist.   It can happen at any time to any person. 

You are not at fault for your accidents. You are not at fault for riding your bike and living a healthy lifestyle. You are not at fault for doing what all of us on this forum do. You have had some bad luck and are stuck inside while the weather is crummy. You need help doing basic things at home and have to spend time, money and effort dealing with all of this. That can't feel very good.  

You ride a bike and you are cool! If we want to take gender into account and want to use the old are even cooler!  I hope you get better soon and get back on your bike. 

I think you have a good point about being guilty of breaking a societal norm.  I've been around this earth for a while and have seen the pendulim swing foreward and backward (mostly backward lately) of what constitiutes societal norms.  We tried to change those norms in the 60s and 70s, then backslid as we made more money and wanted to keep making it, no matter what.  The cadre of those pushing the envelope has been growing slowly, but is still a very small part of America.  The areas of food safety, transportation ecology, corporate integrity have growing constituancey in this country.  But colleges have become trade schools for business and the dumbing of our citizens continues.  What to do?  Be with people who think the way you do, shun those who don't; know thyself and to thine own self be true.



EssFresh said:

My coworker was in an accident and received whiplash. No one suggested he stop driving. I was merged into two summers ago and dislocated my middle finger (the splint was super awesome!). Everyone felt it was time to lecture me on cycling safety, tell me I was crazy for riding, when the whole mess wasn't even my fault. I was guilty of breaking a societal norm. In there mind I was punished for it.

I don't think sexist but a fear based reaction from people who probably care about you as a person. At worst this is some asshat 's opportunity to get in a good "told you so ".

Society in general tends to move to protect itself when the status quo is threatened.  Bicycle advocacy is essentially a fringe activity and the typical auto-driving matrix-dweller definitely feels threatened by our very existence.  They don't want to take the red pill. They want, instead, to shove the blue pill down your throat and go back to their nice warm comfortable car idling in the parking lot expressway. 

So this type of reaction is normal and we all get it to a certain extent.  But maybe women get it more as men are more likely to be free-spirits and are allowed more leway to thumb their nose at society's norms -especially younger men without families/wives/blah-blah-blah and can be reckless.  Women get the full force of society policing itself against any scary paradigm shifts.

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.  If we want to be sticking-up nails instead of getting smoothed over by our auto-driving society we are going to need to expect a few hammer-blows from Mrs. Grundy.

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

I fully support female bikers and enjoy them riding in bikinis along the lake front and anywhere else.

Of course in an equality sense.

My husband gets "it's so great you're biking with your kids". I just get "wtf lady - don't you care about your kids" (usually from other women with kids in their car). My kids now have developed their own responses to those commentators.

:D Such as?

Anika said:

My kids now have developed their own responses to those commentators.

1. It is a general bias against bicyclists.

2. It is 4X as dangersous to travel by private automobile than a bicycle.

Alex Z said:

:D Such as?

Anika said:

My kids now have developed their own responses to those commentators.

My oldest is currently using "did you see us? Then we're good" all while making the 'I'm watching you' sign with her fingers. The baby just yells "hey - hippos can fly too!" I don't understand why he says this - the drivers are REALLY confused every time. Did I mention they are little?
It's not a sexist thing. It's an ignorance thing. By the way I invested in some ice tires (with metal studs) & haven't fallen, or even slipped since. When these people talk/ask about the dangers of winter on a bike I mention the tires. They say things like, "that's awesome" & "you're hardcore". On the inside I roll my eyes. On the outside I flex my muscles & say, "tough as nails!". Just goes to show in today's society (male or female) gadgets make you cooler.

I don't know if its a sexist thing, but I can see how people would give you all kinds of crappola for biking ESPECIALLY after you got into an accident... they say it constantly anyway.  I'm sure if I got in a wreck itd be like "I TOLD YOU SO!  YOU DESERVE IT YOU DUMB CYCLIST, GET OFF THE ROAD OR GET AN SUV."  Actually the only people whove said things to discourage me from cycling I don't really know to well or care about too much. My family and friends are basically supportive.  People just don't understand how much better it is to bike than drive especially when you have to sit at a desk for 8 hours everyday, why the heck would you want to sit in a car for another 2 hours, when you could be outside with the wind in your hair/helmet... enjoying the scenery and feeling healthier.  Hope your arm gets better and you don't get injured anymore!!


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