Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
simonhill
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by simonhill »

I can see where 'the bloke' was coming from, but I agree that it was a bit bizarre to direct his views towards a ten year old. Not that I ever watched it, but presume this is in the Victor Meldrew mould. What would he prefer, your son sitting in front of a games console.

May I take offence at the insinuations towards"Touring cyclists or older cyclists" in the OP. I am both.
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Zoidsberg
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Zoidsberg »

Entirely inappropriate to approach your son in this manner let alone a grown adult.
:idea: :idea:
irc
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by irc »

Lecture? Like when I parked my bike at the pub sans helmet and on ordering my pint got a disapproving look from the barman along with a comment of "well, it's your funeral."

I couldn't be sure if it was the lack of helmet, having one pint before cycling, or the combination that would kill me and wasn't going to waste any of my time arguing about it.
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Cugel
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Cugel »

I'll put an alternative view, mostly for the purposes of stimulating the discussion (being devil's advocate) rather than out of approval for the habits of olde pharts to lecture the world at large. ("In my day, etc."). On the other hand, I do tend to cast my eyes up a bit at "the precious".

Unless the putting of an alternative view about your public demeanour and aspect was done in a bullying fashion, I would have thought that you might enjoy the interlocution with someone who isn't acting in the usual (and often tedious) hail-fellow-well-met fashion of the desperate-to-be-liked ilk. Moreover, even (perhaps especially) 10-year-olds need to see that other people are not just their nursemaids but in fact representatives of a whole world full of people with different views to theirs and a notion of nurture far from the kindly and comforting.

Modern adults (and their children) are often, in my view, going about foolishly with the idea that everyone else is just there to make them feel comfortable and approved-of. Some (I do not accuse you) border on the infantile. This is an error, which it's better to discover the easy way (as you have) than the hard way.

Cugel, trying out his own olde phart lack of tact & diplomacy. :-)
100%JR
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by 100%JR »

Some very good points thank you.
I don’t believe he was being malicious as he never raised his voice at me,nor my son I think,I just wasn’t comfortable with it all.I’m sure the lad will be fine.His wife/partner never spoke at all so maybe she was embarrassed by it all?
I’m going to treat it as what it was an isolated incident and have told my son to do the same.
@Simonhill
I’m 50 so consider myself to be an “older” cyclist too!
Cyril Haearn
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Cyril Haearn »

I am a boring old cyclist too, I always try to be friendly to small children so they realise strangers can be nice too

One should try to think quickly in such a situation and turn it to good, maybe by feigning naivety

Even if one tries not to, one evaluates people by their age, appearance, cycle, vehicle, clothes etc
Maybe especially by their age (apparent age? :wink:)

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gaz
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by gaz »

Confession time, I've done the "Where's your helmet?" to a teenage led.

We were cycling in opposite directions, He was in one of those "packs" of wheelying "hoodlums" (i.e. kids enjoying a bike ride) and had shouted out to me "Where's your helmet?"

I decided "Where's yours?" was the most appropriate response.

Whilst his reply did suggest he had one about his person and explained why it wasn't visible, I doubt that wearing one there is anatomically possible.
eileithyia
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by eileithyia »

Given the 'stranger danger' we are all supposed to teach our children, it wasn't appropriate for this Gentleman to approach your son regardless of what he then said.
Yes we all know you can ride a bike without 'lycra' but truth is most cycling kit is designed to be comfortable. Youngsters are inspired by those at the top of their chosen sport and they like to wear 'the kit'; be it their football hero's kit or cycling kit.
We have a local junior cycling club and there is nothing better than seeing them all set off in their club kit (with helmets of course).
As parents we all know there is no point trying to tell our children they should not wear kit to emulate their heroes, as they just dig in and insist on wearing it, again be it football kit or cycling kit.

Am actually quite shocked and surprised that your son was approached in this way, other than racing I am an advocate of not wearing a helmet and get totally hacked off at all those who seem to think they can lecture me.... I don't lecture them on their choice of headgear so what gives them the right to lecture me. Most recently we had sheltered under a bridge to avoid a short shower and a walker decided he had a 'god-given' right to lecture me about my head gear. I couldn't be bothered to point out that he was 13x more likely to receive to a head injury in a car.

To the OP hope your son continues to enjoy his cycling and conversations about where he has been, where he is going and what bike he has without comments regarding his clothing.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells
Clipper_2018
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Clipper_2018 »

I find it staggering that any adult should choose to lecture a child, especially one accompanied by a parent, on any subject at all.

If the child was overtly misbehaving maybe that would be a different matter but even then it would probably be better handled by talking with the parent.

I think the best explanation is that the lecturer was somewhere along the autistic spectrum; the real problem was, and probably always will be, his. If so, then deserves sympathy ..... but it's hard to muster any.
Vorpal
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Vorpal »

The lesson here is that although cycling is broad church and most cyclists are nice and helpful, nosy idiots come in all walks of life.

:x :x

I hope that your son doesn't take it too hard, but people will take it upon themselves to do stuff like that sometimes.

It may be worth talking to him about what to say if it should happen again. My daughter doesn't wear a helmet and gotten used to standing up for her decision.
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The utility cyclist
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by The utility cyclist »

Welcome to the world of non helmet wearers since, well for a very long time :twisted: . A few years back I was given a lecture by an elderly couple at the market after we got chatting about bikes and where they had come from. The male started into a torrent of how my family would be beside themselves and I was irresponsible and they would have no income if I died/left incapacitated (ignoring the fact I was a single parent anyway their viewpoint was as fossilised as they were with regards to families). I just wanted to scream at them and tell them to mind their own, but I just walked away from them after saying you're wrong on so many levels.
At least you and your boy aren't excluded from cycling events or clubs because of your choice, at least you aren't castigated by other fellow cyclists regularly instead of this one off, at least you aren't reported or finger pointed at to social services, at least you aren't victim blamed by authorities all the time.
Frankly the type you met are exceeded by those having a pop for not wearing a helmet, ten thousand fold over, trust me, that is not an exaggeration. I'm as anti helmet as you'd like, yes ANTI helmet, I think helmet wearers are rotten traitors to cycling safety, I think the UCI are disgusting and BC a disgrace, they along with governments and do-gooders have contributed more deaths, injuries and rights infringements (and even caused more pollution) than you/they will ever grasp, contribute to making my life and many others lives including pedestrians lives worse off.
That said I won't go up to someone and give them a piece of my mind simply because they're wearing a noddy hat and tell them their choice is massively wrong and that they should be ashamed for wearing one because they do so much damage to others and likely to themselves, nope, I'll leave that to the helmet wearing lot to do that, and that they do, in droves everywhere you go in all but a few small enclaves around the world :twisted:

I still see this in part your failure, If your son can't deal with a simple discussion over matters when not in an aggressive manner and to get upset so easily over it, might that not reflect on you? Might not that be because you', as so many parents and governments do, indoctrinated him so much he feels the need to wear a helmet even when in a low risk environment, that, and I have seen this often, he wears it through fear of being told off all the time. So when someone challenges that indoctrinated concept* it's a massive curve ball as it undermines his parents strict need to wear, and clearly you're strict in him wearing a helmet given the extremely low risk environment in which this scenario happened.

Maybe challenge your thinking on helmets and cycling as a whole, challenge why your child reacted in that way, maybe if he was better informed about helmets he might choose to not wear one for certain riding if at all, like many parents you won't allow your kids choices even though that factually endangers them more. Science can't be ignored with respect to how children behave when they feel protected, they behave much like competition riders, hence why they get killed, gt injured more wearing helmets than when not.

*my 9 year old grandson can handle people questioning him when challenged as a non wearer and he has ADHD.
gxaustin
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by gxaustin »

I still see this in part your failure, If your son can't deal with a simple discussion over matters when not in an aggressive manner and to get upset so easily over it, might that not reflect on you?


Frankly I'm staggered to see such forthrightness directed at you and your lad. He's 10 by the way - he may not have learned to stand up to overbearing strangers.
I think that the old guy should have kept his own council and would have been angry if some random bloke engaged my sons in a conversation such as you describe without my being there. In my opinion a well brought up child would see an old gent as an authority figure (like a teacher, say) and even tones can appear to be authoritative or definitive. I think you have every right to be aggrieved. I wonder if the old git would have told you off for wearing cycling kit. The only possible mitigation I can think of is that the old guy didn't realise he'd ridden 33 miles around the lake. I'd wear cycling gear on a ride of that length too.
As for helmets, I've only hit my head 3 times in 50 years. The first 2 were in the days before helmets as we know them were available. On the second occasion I was rendered unconscious for a short while. I now wear a helmet for most rides. I probably wouldn't bother if going to the local shops but for my usual rides of 30mls+ I definitely would, especially when it's slippery. And that's despite dubious claims that helmets are dangerous :lol:
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meic
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by meic »

Your child is going to meet strangers, even ones who dont hold the same views as them and their parents all through their lives. I would take this as part of their education.
It is a life skill to meet strangers and deal with them, it is a life skill to deal with people who dont share your world view.

I am fairly certain that my eleven year old daughter would not have batted an eyelid if she met somebody who suggested she doesnt need to have her cycling gear and helmet to ride around Lake Vyrnwy, she knows that. She wears her kit and helmet because she wants to. She also goes up to strangers and talks to them.
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Cugel
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Cugel »

meic wrote:Your child is going to meet strangers, even ones who dont hold the same views as them and their parents all through their lives. I would take this as part of their education.
It is a life skill to meet strangers and deal with them, it is a life skill to deal with people who dont share your world view.

I am fairly certain that my eleven year old daughter would not have batted an eyelid if she met somebody who suggested she doesnt need to have her cycling gear and helmet to ride around Lake Vyrnwy, she knows that. She wears her kit and helmet because she wants to. She also goes up to strangers and talks to them.


Modern children aren't allowed a decent education these days, particularly one they discover for themselves. They must be "protected", especially from "stranger danger". Personally (and paradoxically) I feel most of them need protecting from their over-protective parents.

As with so much unthinking modern behaviour, this "protecting" of children (and oneself) from the vicissitudes of everyday life is productive of exactly the opposite effect to that hoped for. The "protected" never learn to protect themselves and are found later as "adults" wallowing about unable to cope with very much at all and instead bleating about "my right to be safe". They are of the ilk that cannot fix a puncture and will berate the bike shop for selling them a bike that gets one. They're also happy to give up endless freedoms in favour of draconian "anti-terror" laws.

I had a friend, years ago, who would never let his two boys anywhere near the slightest kind of danger, real or imaginary. For example, he would not let them play anywhere near a road and screamed at them if they escaped the garden. Later, when they were in their early teens, they did what all teens do and escaped the parental strictures. Sadly, they had never learned to cross a road or judge traffic flows and so both, at different times, got hit by cars when attempting to cross in a busy town.

Strangers are generally not dangerous, especially to children. Most strangers mean well, even those lecturing olde pharts who feel a duty to explain their uncomfortable viewpoints to children. Personally I learnt a great deal from all kinds of lecturing adults when I was a bairn - mostly how to refute their daft notions - which tended to clarify and test one's own opinions or habits. Sometimes the olde phart imparted some valuable wisdom, along with the lesson "how to change your mind rather than being an over-protected little lord Fauntleroy clutching an apron string".

Cugel, hoping someone will disagree and give me their ebullient lecture on the matter. :-)
Tangled Metal
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Re: Interfering stranger lecturing my son about bike clothing

Post by Tangled Metal »

I've got a son who's not yet six and he will argue the toss about stuff with us. It's actually a delight to hear his retorts because they're usually a legal kind of argument, a cheeky comeback or actually something quite clever we didn't think of. Bright kid but with just a little more confidence he'll carry that sticking up for himself attitude to strangers. At the moment it's reserved for family or people he's confident with like class mates or teachers.

It's quite possible for a 10 year old to stick up for themselves but it's equally possible for a 10 year old to not be that confident / unable to defend themselves verbally. It's an individual characteristic and quite frankly you can be 10 to 110 and still not have that verbal defence sorted.

BTW the big buzzword on education right now seems to be resilience. Part of that IMHO is to stick up for yourself, another part is to not take **** personally. I'm surprised nobody has used the term snowflake yet. Which I don't like and do not think applies to the op's son in this case. It's just something you'd expect on open n forums in a thread like this.

BTW fwiw I see kids wearing full cycling kit in their club colours and I grin from ear to ear. I love to see it, it makes my day. Like the time we were at a cafe (possibly Wilf's in Staveley and a facility rolled up on road bikes. Parents, son and daughter (guessing 12 and 14 but a very inaccurate guess). The females were in non - team kit, subtle colours and styling. The father was in a TdF team strip and the son was in cogset team strip.

Cogset is a bc affiliated youth cycling club that's into all aspects of cycling but especially the racing side. Road, track, mtb, CX, etc all part of club activities for the older members. A very well organised club for children that heavily into the youth side of BC activities.

The very fact he's wearing what was a faded club kit meant to be that he's really into road racing and cycling. As I always say the best thing a parent can do is to set their children onto a healthy lifestyle. Cycling is certainly one activity we encourage with ours and I firmly believe every cycling adult encountering a cycling child should encourage should they get into a conversation with them. That is not what this old cyclist did. It's negative and wrong. It is always good to see fit, healthy kids doing sporting activities. Nobody has a right to discourage that through opinionated lecturing.
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