New Rules For Advocacy: Newbie Edition

When talking to a Newbie, Do:

1. Tell her what kind of bicycle to get. If she’s really unsure, LISTEN to her needs and TELL her what bike to get. Don’t say, “I can’t really say.” If you read this site, you are smart enough to help. Go with her to the bike shop if you have to.

2. Go on rides with her, if she wants you to.

3. Say hello to every cyclist that says hi to you. Stop to help everyone if they need it.

4. Let the slower cyclist lead unless you are leading someone into unfamiliar territory. Otherwise, you’ll constantly leave her in the dust, get frustrated, and so on. She knows when you are frustrated even if you are trying to cover it up. If you can’t stand to watch her go slow and make mistakes while you shut up, don’t ride with her anymore, it’s not worth the aggravation. And keep your eye on the road not my ass. 🙂

When talking to a Newbie, Do Not:

1. Pressure them to ride a bicycle. Pressure them to buy a bicycle. #1 above assumes the person wants to ride on their own. If they are your spouse, STFU about cycling and find out what he wants to do instead and do that with him. If he loves you, he’ll ask to go ride with you. If he doesn’t get it, dump him. 🙂

2. Don’t complain about motorists or safety. Don’t talk about how much cars pollute. Don’t complain about being treated unsafe or having inadequate facilities.

3. Suggest that the person needs to take a class to ride a bike. A bicycle is really simple and a child can do it. It’s an insult to imply that a cyclist is dumber than a child which is what you are doing here.

4. Criticize her bicycle. No matter how stupid you think it is, she loves it. It’s part of her now and if you mock her bike you mock her. Do NOT give her suggestions on traveling lighter or any other kinds of advice at all. Unless she asks. Then answer her question, only with a sound bite. Don’t go on and on about it.

5. Offer to help someone if the problem is beyond your skill level. Many women can change patches better than any dude. This is a fact. So don’t think that just because you have nuts you can fix a flat.

6. Tell the cyclist to ride on the street when they want to ride on the sidewalk. Warn them about the door zone. Don’t lecture any cyclist on safety at all. Don’t talk about helmets. If you think any of these things are important you probably don’t know what you are talking about anyway. An LCI is not a degree in public safety.

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