How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
nirakaro
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby nirakaro » 15 Feb 2015, 10:36pm

Life is a risky business, and you’ll only be totally safe when you’re dead and buried. We are actually the safest people who have ever lived, but our fear grows to fill the space available. As others have said, it’s irrational, and you probably can’t stop them worrying; but it’s absolutely not a reason to revise your plans.
If it’s any consolation to them, I’m planning to set off on the same route as you – Leeds-Hull-Rotterdam-and-up-the-Rhine, probably a couple of weeks earlier. And at 67, I’m definitely old enough to know better, and much less robust to cope with any problems that may arise. To be honest, the bit I’m nervous about is getting from here to Hull! Sure there are risks – just as there are to staying at home.
Keep reminding them that thousands of people are doing things like this – and worse – and coming home alive and fulfilled.
Keep reassuring them that cautious managed risk is quite different from foolhardy recklessness.
Promise to stay in touch.
Keep the promise.
And have a great ride.

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stephenjubb
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby stephenjubb » 15 Feb 2015, 11:54pm

There are places in Hull where I live that I would not cycle at night!

It's the same the world over, even the best cities have no go areas, it is all just about common sense and judge each area and listen to your instincts.

simonhill
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby simonhill » 16 Feb 2015, 12:21am

Reading all this reminds me that by the end of her life my Mother became so blasé about my trips that it used to almost annoy me.

I'm going off to cycle across Southern China I'd say. That's nice, she'd say, when will you be back?

So maybe enjoy the concern while its still there. After your 20th trip they'll even consider the fact YOU want to Skype them every week to be a chore!

whoof
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby whoof » 16 Feb 2015, 1:36pm

When my partner told her parents that I was taking her cycle touring through the Pyrenees for our first holiday together they were concerned for her safety due to; dangerous drivers, huge mountains with terrible ascents and precipes on the descents, flash floods washing us away whilst we slept in the tent..............
Many years have passed and this year we are going to the Alps on our annual two week summer holiday and as always we are cycling touring. Her parents are giving us a lift to the airport and are looking forward to seeing our photo's when we get back.
How do to you overcome the fear of something? By doing/experiencing it and finding out that there was no harm either caused or threatened.

ndxcc
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby ndxcc » 16 Feb 2015, 1:46pm

Thanks all for the great replies - really provided me with some sound reasoning to go back to them with!

Like I say my issue is not that people can stop me going, but my decreased level of enjoyment on the tour knowing that people back home are constantly worried about my safety.

My parent's concern seems to be that I'd be 'out there' alone and if I were to go with a friend they'd feel better - however I know for a fact they'd still worry immensely. It also doesn't help that I only decided to do this a few weeks ago, haven't spoken to them properly about it and have done very little planning so far.

I need to get across to them that this is an adventure, one that I want to undertake alone to test myself, my abilities and limits. It's not about hopping on a train and visiting some cities and staying in the moderate luxury of hostels or B&Bs. It's about the mental and physical challenge.

I'm confident that if I sit down with them, explain the arrangements for the first couple of weeks, and my true and honest desire for the adventure, they'll concede. They'll never be happy that I go, but they know I'm stubborn enough to do it anyway. I just want their support so I can enjoy it without worrying too much myself about people back home, god knows I'll have enough to worry about when it starts raining in the Bavaria countryside and I've no place to sleep... ... wait... don't tell them that!

Thanks again for your advice and see you out on the road!

andy65
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby andy65 » 17 Feb 2015, 10:36pm

You will not convince them it is safe. Generally people don't have a very good understanding of risk and a rational argument will not work. All you can do is convince them that you have thought this through so you are not being reckless, just adventurous.

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foxyrider
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby foxyrider » 18 Feb 2015, 4:16pm

I've been riding since I became a teen in the mid '70's, riding to races, mucking about with my mates, even riding the 90 miles to my grand parents. I've always done it, never really thought much about it, take a map and some snap, leave the house in the morning, get home maybe late at night only ringing home if I had a problem or there was a change of plan like staying at friends for my tea.

Its certainly a parents lot to worry, I worried whilst my daughter was in NZ on a gap year, I worried when she worked in London, I worry now that she and hubby are back in Yorkshire living less than an hours drive away! Illogical but just human nature.

My parents never really said much, I got chewed out once or twice for getting home after 10pm but that was it. I was into my forties before my Mum fessed up that every time I went out (I live a few miles away) she worried like a worry thing on worry day in worry land and still does. It's not changed now but I do find that if I tell them about the trip, where I'm going, what I intend to see, the general route, they at least seem calmer and I now always make sure they have some contact points for me and obviously I take my phone so they can in emergency (or vis a vis) contact me. They've had a long time to get used to my trips, heck they used to tour themselves, but they still worry!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

ndxcc
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby ndxcc » 19 Feb 2015, 8:17pm

A friend just sent me this and I thought it was quite apt!

Image

Tangled Metal
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Feb 2015, 9:30am

Your parents and family worry about you which is a sign they actually care. Be grateful and keep them updated on your trip as you do it. I personally think a lot of their fears will dissipate as your trip unfurls especially if you find a means to keep them informed on progress. There could be many ways to do that from internet cafes, blogging or skyping from a phone (if you can keep it charges) through to a personal locator beacon that uses GPS to track you with the means for others to see where you are.

IIRC there is arelatively cheap one called Spot that has an emergency button linked through GPS satellite to a US base which detects location and calls the local emergency service best place to help. That one I think also allows others to log on and follow your trace. Since that runs on batteries it is fairly easy to keep it working. Be careful as I think certain versions of these are not legal in some countries.

This idea of keeping them updated works best if you can do it frequently such as the GPS locator that allows them to see your daily travel. If they see you are moving each day they'll know you are OK. They may become calmer about the trip.

I do know how they feel though. I used to be into climbing but especially white water kayaking (at a decent level of hardness too). I used to tell them about the trips I;d just done but as I got onto the really dodgy stuff they told me straight not to talk about it. I had been insensitive in not realising that their lack of experience meant they did not know the risk I was taking on, which was actually not that great. A 29ft waterfall sounds dangerous but really it is just a big log flume, it is the other bits that can be tricky. The twisty, turny bits needing body armour!!! Never told them that though.

My point being they are worried but because of lack of experience of the real not perceived risks. You will never stop that worry so if you care about them as much as they do for you then perhaps finding a way to help them is your responsibility. That is why I suggested keeping them informed on progress. I know people who have a grown up child who disappears for several weeks without any clue of their whereabouts. That is not nice for them and they worry. It is relatively easy these days with modern communications to keep up to date. Skype from internet cafes in towns on the way. Simple stuff really. Also the phone network Three has no roaming charges from a lot of countries these days so if you can keep a phone charged (even a non-fancy brick) then it is a simple act to keep in contact. Familiarity breeds contempt they say and if they hear more of your safe adventures as they happen worry should dissipate.

At least your not going into deepest, darkest Borneo centre at a time Westerners are being killed and the government has banned westerners going in there. I know someone who did that and their parents did not know a the time. Europe is as safe as you can be in a modern word. Turkey is a much improved nation too I think. Enjoy your trip.

simonhill
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby simonhill » 20 Feb 2015, 10:39am

Believe it or not there is a Professor of something like the public understanding of risk. His name is David Spieglehofffer (??) and he gets wheeled out on Radio 4 quite often.

He could statistically tell you how risky it is. May be good news, may be bad.

Personally I can't think of anything worse than one of those trackers, even if I was only 12!

tyreon
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby tyreon » 20 Feb 2015, 1:50pm

As time passes and relatives and friends 'move on' to pastures where we're all headed(but which they can't contact me except by séance?),I'm finding now one worries about me. I know the government doesn't.

Someone,somewhere...worry about me,please. Itsgettinkindalonely!!!

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smith4188
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby smith4188 » 22 Feb 2015, 10:45am

My mum's life is fuelled by worry and regret. Without both she'd be a different person. I was 40 years old when I set off on my 3 year, 22,000 mile around Europe. She told me all the ways I was going to die. Now that I've safely finished the ride she chastises herself for three years of unnecessary worry - bonus! another source of regret - but it hasn't changed anything. Now she says that my last ride was alright really but the one I'm planning this summer is just mental. So she's worrying again.

My brother races motorbikes. You can imagine how much she likes that.

Incidentally, you are safer cycling anywhere on your planned route than you would be cycling at home.

Have a great trip! You'll have a ball.
http://www.EuropeByBicycle.com - Country-by-country touring info for 54 European nations and disputed regions

ndxcc
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby ndxcc » 23 Feb 2015, 7:07pm

Again thanks all for your replies.

Just as a quick update, last night I was eventually able to speak to my parents face to face.

To connect with them and get their full attention I actually pulled together a presentation (I'm a designer... it's what I do ;) ).

It worked to get them to understand what, where, how and why I was doing my Rotterdam > Istanbul tour.

It didn't work to actually calm them down or allay any fear, worry or doubt.

... at first.

As the night went on, and the good ale and wine flowed, they calmed down a lot. My Dad was even checking out bikes with me, which I was shocked at.

They're still not happy about it, but I think now they understand if they support me the whole experience will be better for everyone.

Their main fear? That I'd be out there alone. I explained that it was exactly that that made it appealing to me, I want to set myself a challenge and complete it without relying on anyone else. If I'm with others for parts of the tour then great, but it's my route, my adventure.

largeallan
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby largeallan » 23 Feb 2015, 7:42pm

If I sat my parents down for a presentation, they'd probably phone for the 'men in white coats' to come and fetch me!! :shock:

ndxcc
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Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

Postby ndxcc » 23 Feb 2015, 7:48pm

largeallan wrote:If I sat my parents down for a presentation, they'd probably phone for the 'men in white coats' to come and fetch me!! :shock:


Haha don't get me wrong, it sounds pretty weird I know. But... it's something they're used to, I knew I'd get their full undivided attention and I knew they'd have to listen.

Although I posted here about overbearing parents... I'm an only child and these two older people I know and love are actually more akin to best friends. Plus... it was a presentation with alcohol and snacks, not a Power Point disaster ;)