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Thread: Weird Men!!!

  1. #1
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    Weird Men!!!

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    I live in a small town. I'm not native here, I moved here four years ago. This area is one of the best-kept secrets for cycling, I think. But people here are not used to seeing bikes, so you have to be super careful on the road, seeing as they hardly know the regular road rules let alone how to deal with a cyclist. Further, it being a small town, I have a hard time trying to decide if someone is being small-town friendly or is a creep. I just have to trust my gut.

    I have a bike with panniers I call my grocery getter. After getting this week's supply of fresh produce from the market this afternoon, I was riding back home and noticed one of the bags was rubbing the spokes a little, so I stopped at a corner and was making a few adjustments when this guy in a big white pickup stops, and at first all I heard sounded like "need a ride?" I said no, thank you - but I am getting the creepy vibe, you know?

    What follows was a nearly one-sided conversation as I try to CLEARLY send the "get lost" message as I shift things around, and he tells me he rides a mountain bike, do I ride mountain? No? So do I ride from work and back? No? Road? Do you race? Oh. I ride mountain bikes...

    All the while I'm thinking "Dude, if you were a loose dog, I would have pepper sprayed you by now."

    I swing back into the saddle and say "well, have a nice day," and take off in the opposite direction, and watch my back the whole way home.

    This is the second time in a few months I've had some weirdo try to talk to me. Last time I clearly had my cell phone in my hand when I saw the guy a block later - he had gone around, I can only guess to figure out where I was going.

    I don't dress provocatively. I was in capris and a t-shirt today. So what the heck?
    Last edited by grey; 08-21-2009 at 05:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'll bet you wouldn't have thought twice about the second guy if not for the first guy. His conversation seemed pretty tame to me, if all he was talking about was cycling. He might have been interested in you, but I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    One time I was in Albany, NY in my little red Beetle, with couple of bikes on the rack and the back of the Bug full of gear, and Arkansas tags. We stopped at a Panera Bread to use the wifi and the restroom. Because of all the stuff and a strange location, my son and I took turns going in the restaurant. While he was inside, I pulled out the laptop and was looking up something.

    A man walked up to my car with one of those little cups of water and some bread in his hand. He knocked on my window to talk to me. I wouldn't roll the window down. He was with a woman and getting into a beat up old car. I thought he was panhandling and getting free bread and water from Panera, although his manner of dress wasn't clearly indicating that. But when I wouldn't crack the window he tried to yell through it, and I couldn't understand him. He tried again to get me to roll the window down, and when I wouldn't, he clearly became annoyed and made a gesture like, "WHAT? You think I'm going to harm you?" Then he walked away.

    Every once in a while I think about that encounter and I realize now that I was clearly misinterpreting his intention. I feel a little bad about it sometimes. He just wanted to ask me about my Beetle or my bikes or Arkansas or something? Or maybe my laptop, I dunno.

    I was just being extra careful. Extra extra extra careful. But now I think I probably missed out on something at least interesting, perhaps entertaining. I'll never know because I jumped to conclusions.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    insidious ungovernable cardboard

  3. #3
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    Sounds like he was being small town friendly, possibly hitting on you a little bit, but doesnt really sound too creepy to me. He probably doesn't see that many female bikers down there.

    I "internet" know a lot of lonely bike guys that I've bought parts off from craigslist or whatever and they're usually all thrilled to just be able to talk bikes with someone and their wives don't bike or don't get it.

  4. #4
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    The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker. I know that book has been mentioned before on here. I don't think any of us, without being there, could sense whether it had weird vibes or not. You still have to trust your own feelings and judgment, and it sounds like that's what you did. It's imperfect and we may not always get it right. But you still need to listen to your instincts.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  5. #5
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    I would much rather make an idiot out of myself and accidentally insult a guy who was not intending to harm me, then to block my instincts and have something happen. Chances are he's harmless - I find the cities to be more filled with weirdos than small towns - but it's not worth your life to take a chance.
    Christine
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  6. #6
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    I wouldn't suggest you take a ride from the guy... and definitely, be aware at all times...

    But I think in the south & a small town most guys seeing a woman with a broken down car or bike will stop to help... and if they're told that help is not needed, they will stick around to make sure that is the case.

    I do that if I run across another bike rider that's fixing a flat or whatever... I'll make sure they have the tools they need or they can call someone to come get them.

    I know Ive had a flat tire in my car... and men will stop to help to be helpful, and even when I say I don't need it... will either insist and do it, or just hang out to make sure that I do get it right.

  7. #7
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    I am very much untrusting - I grew up in city, and yunno, out there guys don't stop and talk to you unless they want something. Anytime I leave my home, I am very, very much on my guard. I don't want to be a statistic.

    He was a little odd. Odd from mild drug burnout or something else, I do not know for sure. I just got the weird vibe and wanted him to move on. The previous weirdo had also driven a white pickup truck, which probably didn't help my perception any.

  8. #8
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    Trust your instincts. Sounds like you handled the situation well.

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  9. #9
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    Trust your instincts! Maybe nothing happened because you trusted your instincts. Thankfully, you'll never know.

    As an aside, I've noticed that sometimes women on this board will clarify that they weren't dressed provacatively, or were dressed conservatively. I wish we didn't feel the need to do that. Saying that someone was dressed provacatively when something bad happened, implies blaming the victim.
    Last edited by Iris616; 08-22-2009 at 06:02 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iris616 View Post
    Trust your instincts! Maybe nothing happened because you trusted your instincts. Thanksfully, you'll never know.

    As an aside, I've noticed that sometimes women on this board will clarify that they weren't dressed provacatively, or were dressed conservatively. I wish we didn't feel the need to do that. Saying that someone was dressed provacatively when something bad happened, implies blaming the victim.
    +1.

    Also, WRT the city/small town thing, I believe that per capita violent crime is actually much higher in small towns. Don't let your guard down just because you're in the boonies... and conversely, don't be super suspicious just because you're in a city.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
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    I live in a small town too, and believe me, we have our share of weird-os. Actually, I'd be willing to bet that we do, in fact, have more weird-os per capita than a city or a suburban area. And some very weird weird-os at that.

    I think picking up on creepy vibes is like a 6th sense...you need to pay attention to it. You did the right thing listening to your instincts. He needed to leave you alone and he should've realized he was acting creepy. There's the chance he was just a harmless weird-o, but why risk it. He's a stranger...you owe him nothing. Self preservation and safety is a lot more important that being chatty with a creepy stranger. I think this is exactly why our mothers told us never to talk to strangers.

  12. #12
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    I actually had 2 incidents with 1 guy a bike last year out in the suburbs..but I was walking in my cycling gear to a bus stop. (Commute included getting off bus-stop, light rapid transit train ride halfway to pick up my bike and ride rest of way home. The route was just too long and time -consuming to do all of it daily with my early morning work start at 7:30 am in the 'burbs.).

    Guy started asking me where I was going, etc. Really cyclists in cycling gear were a rare sight out in this area, so maybe any woman cyclist looked like fair dating game to him. I dunno.

    But I was thankful I had a bus to catch!

    Contrast this against another time last year, I was walking along the road to catch bus in cycling gear. A pickup truck pulled over, kicking up a cloud of construction dust and 2 guys asked if I wanted a ride. This was 3 blocks from work.

    I said sure. It was the lst and last ride I will ever hitchhike with strange men. I found out in the car, that these guys were for same company as mine...except at a different location 3 kms. away from mine. One of them knew one a manager that I worked with nearly daily. We spent the rest of car ride chatting about substance abuse in the construction industry and in trucking. I figured if they wanted to hurt me, I could report to HR immediately on them. (Our company did terminate some people for inappropriate behaviour and also for substance abuse on the job.)

    I was taking a HUGE risk on a (near) thoughtless whim.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-24-2009 at 09:21 PM.
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  13. #13
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    talk

    I know nowadays women need to be a bit more aware of thier surroundings but...geez ever think that some weird dude might not be all that weird? You ladies in the US can carry guns & pepper spray, why not make them visible when people like this appear? (I'm not advocating using these things but I know they're legal in the US & cyclists carry them on thier bikes.. )

    I would have just toodled off.

  14. #14
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    +1 CC.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    insidious ungovernable cardboard

  15. #15
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    I have to agree with Tucker and Canuck. I think there's a very fine line between following a true gut instinct based on signals you've picked up and having that "instinct" because you've become conditioned to think that any stranger who approaches you is up to no good. I bicycle and travel alone frequently, often out in the boonies, and I don't hesitate to have conversations with people, even men, who approach me when I'm stopped. There have certainly been instances when I've felt it was better to wrap things up and move on, but on other occasions I've had interesting chats and learned new things about the area I was in. Sometimes I've found that people who seemed weird were just lonely and looking for someone to connect with for a few moments.

    This kind of debate always reminds me of how things have changed since I was a kid, when we left the front door unlocked at night and roamed far and wide. We were always told not to talk to strangers or get into a car with a stranger, but that instruction was balanced by seeing our parents be open enough to talk to and get to know the people around them. Are things really worse now and is there really that much more chance of "becoming a statistic", or have we just been fed a steady stream of incidents by the media, blowing it all out of proportion and making us paranoid? Whichever it is, it's sad that the world (and the US in particular) has had to become such a guarded place.
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

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