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Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help!
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Ladies, need some advice. I live in New York City and train mornings in Central Park, where the triathlon and cycling "see and be seen" game is strong. Everyone trains in the morning and there's a lot of ego zipping around in new kits, on new bikes, trying to prove who is the fastest on strava, garmins beeping all over, lots of commentary and camaraderie. Some of it is great and fun and fine, some not.

There are more men than women out on most days, and as a confident woman, I am becoming irritated by the times that men ride near me to tell me I look good, don't look good, need to shift, should check my tires, have a nice bike, etc. I just want to ride and do my thing. I don't need advice about how to ride. Try as I might to give everyone a break, it ends up feeling gendered a lot of the time. It seems like men don't give each other unsolicited advice as often as they feel like they can give it to women who are out training.

I should say that I have also found this to be true in different contexts, like the pool or the weight room, so it's by no means limited to cycling, this is just when I've started to notice it the most. I should also say that there are plenty of men out there who are completely respectful, there are some women who are not, sometimes comments can be nice or helpful, and I don't always feel like it's about gender. But it has happened enough that it is in my psyche, and now even when my well-intentioned triathlete boyfriend comments on something benign like tire pressure or chain stretch, I get defensive out of frustration at being told what to do. Something about it really rubs me the wrong way, even though I know he and most others are probably just trying to be helpful. Any thoughts on how to deal with this thoughtfully, not reactively, or just to ignore?
Thanks so much.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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(I can't believe I'm writing this...) Wear some earbuds. You don't even need music or anything playing through them. Just pretend you have the tunes cranked and ignore them. :-)

AP

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [AndyPants] [ In reply to ]
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This is good advice.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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I *hate* getting unsolicited advice like this from strangers or even from my better half. Frustrates me to no end. So I hear ya. AP

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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Except the Central Park and well-meaning boyfriend, I could have written the same thing. It isn't legal here to wear earphones on the bike and I don't swim with them, so that option is out.

My current strategy is just to say no thank you if they actually ask if I want advice and say nothing if they keep talking anyway and then just thank you when they finally stop. Sometimes I add "I will tell my coach what you said [Mr. Random Guy I have never met before and who knows nothing about me]." I do have a coach -- I hate using someone else as an excuse when I really mean "no, I am not interested in going out with you or hearing what you have to say," but that is a whole other issue!

What I have learned NOT to do is defend whatever I am doing (e.g., well my coach told me that today's workout was supposed to be at 80 cadence), acknowledge the "error" or apologize for whatever I am doing (e.g., yes, I know my left arm pulls wider than my right arm and I am working on it), or engage the discussion (unless he's cute and could turn into a well-meaning boyfriend, I asked for advice, or we are already good friends).
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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Gaaahhhh oh yeah the pool is almost as bad as on the bike. I just stare at the pace clock and pretend I have to go on the 10s, splish splash, maybe a quick nod, "ok, thanks", then go again. Once I do a few of those, they usually stop pestering me. Of course it usually means ditching whatever I had planned to do a bunch of hard/fast 50s so I can't stop long to chitchat... :-)

I wonder how often it happens the other way around? You know, guys getting pestered about their bike fit or cadence or hand entry or catch?

AP

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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Have you tried firm but polite sass? :D

Bike:
Have you thought about updating your wheels?
Thanks but you'll stay more aero if you look straight ahead instead of eyeing my bike.

Run:
You'd be faster if you pump your arms.
I'm going to slow down now to let you pass, thank you.

Swim:
Blub Blub Blub
Blub Blub Blub
(Seriously, do people talk when swimming? I am too busy concentrating on getting to land.)






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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [SoCalTricurious] [ In reply to ]
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hahahaha that's good. I'll have to try some of those.

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [SoCalTricurious] [ In reply to ]
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That would be interpreted as flirting and/or interest!

A few weeks ago I did an ocean swim with a group and was watched closely by a TI coach swimming next to me and calculating my stroke rate. That led to this very detailed advice, below, which made me smile, especially the "if you were in my squad..." part. It was interesting and certainly well intended from someone I know, but as far as I am concerned, I have the very best triathlon coaching possible, especially for swimming, so I do whatever they say instead of my own math. Not that I dislike math or anything! :)

Given these metrics you are ~60 strokes in 45 meters (assuming a 5m glide off the wall). Your stroke length (SL) is .75 meters which is just under 50% of your height (152cm or 5' tall), a bit short. Elite swimmers are at least 60%, and for your height, 60% is 0.9 meters per stroke or a SL = 0.9 . So if you were in my squad, I'd give you some choices in rate and stroke length to work and experiment with:

50m pool:
SL = 0.9m (~50 strokes in 45m)
SPM = 72
Speed = 72spm x 0.9m = 64.8 meters per minute
100m pace = 100/64.8 = 1.54 mins or 1:32.4

Do the math for a couple of other sustainable (and attainable) SPM and SL combinations. Get a tempo trainer, it's the only way to know what tempo you are swimming and tempos you are capable of in 'real time':
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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Gee wrote:
That would be interpreted as flirting and/or interest!

My approach is certainly not for everyone but the tone makes it clear it's not flirting and/or interest -- polite but firm.

(My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no).
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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See, this is super interesting (regarding stroke length), and the kind of thing I actually don't mind knowing. But I agree that if you didn't ask for it, it shouldn't be told -- there's a mountain of information on the internet for this kind of thing, and all of us have access to it. Thanks for all the solidarity with regard to frustration over mansplaining. I'm so glad to know I am not alone!

Agree AndyPants -- super curious to know if this is something men do to each other just as much. Obviously hard to know when I am my only data point (n=1) and I am a woman.

But yah, it looks like being firm in my "go away" and "no"s is the order of the day. :)
Last edited by: Giantsquid: Aug 9, 16 19:00
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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Oh gawd. Last year at my 70.3 a guy tried to mansplain to me how to rack my bike! I was so annoyed I couldn't think of a nice comeback. (sad face) Even on my run last night I got a few comments when I ran past two men and of course they had to sprint by me as I was doing my walking cooldown... so annoying. I played tennis in college but my resting bitch face kept most men away in the weight room, hahaha.

You don't want to engage, but deflect, so I would say something like:
"I'm out for a ride, not advice, but thanks."
"I already have a coach, but thanks."
"I checked my chain/tires/etc. before I headed out, but thanks."
"I'm comfortable in this gear, thanks."
Or just stare and ask, "Why do you feel the need to comment on my chain/tires/gears?"
Then IGNORE.

You might give them the benefit of the doubt when they say you are looking good... in that case they might actually be trying to encourage you.

http://mediocremultisport.blogspot.com
Res firma mitescere nescit.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Midtown Miles] [ In reply to ]
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+1 for the positive side effect of Resting Bitch Face.

Also, LOL at "mansplain" -- that's perfect!
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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You guys are far nicer than I am. I have lost all patience with men who do that, and I have noticed an inverse correlation between how much a man actually knows and how willing to volunteer the information he is. I have reached the point where I just look at them and say, "don't be an asshole". They are always so stunned that they completely leave me alone after that.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [happyscientist] [ In reply to ]
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happyscientist wrote:
I just look at them and say, "don't be an asshole".

Ha! I have to try this.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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X2 :-)

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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Ugh. I've had plenty of men critique this or that, trying to "be helpful," and it's maddening. Even when it's hilarious because they're on a Huffy and you're on a $5,000 carbon tri bike, it's maddening. The good news is, though, that no one has tried that with me for years. I'm guessing here, but perhaps once one gets past a certain age, the men are more focused on helping younger women, and they leave the rest of us alone. When it would happen to me, though, I'd respond monosyllabically and in a tone that made it clear I had no desire at all to have a conversation with them about form -- mine, theirs, or anyone else's. I chose not to waste oxygen on asking them whether they seriously thought that providing unsolicited advice to a perfect stranger was a sensible thing to do.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [happyscientist] [ In reply to ]
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HA!!! Good one.

Give them the death stare. I also like the "I'll pass that along to my coach" response.


clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
http://tnwomenscycling.com
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Eileen] [ In reply to ]
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Well, I am definitely past a certain age, and I still get it a lot. Maybe I just look really young. On the other hand, many of the advice-givers are at least 15 years older than I am, so maybe that's just what they like to do in their sunset years. The recent detailed swim advice guy, though, is a friend and a trained coach, and so I continued the conversation, and although I found it interesting in general, I leave it to my "first out of the water" coaching team to decide whether I need to work on stroke rate (and I tagged them into that conversation so they could see what my friend said).

My favorite recently was a random guy who sat on my wheel far too long and then circled back to tell me that a) my cadence was too low (of course without knowing that the workout called for specific cadence at specific wattage and ended with 10 min sustained at 110+; I mean seriously who could possibly think that is too low) and b) so is my saddle (he clearly was not from around here, or he would know that on Slowtwitch nobody ever has a saddle that is too low; plus he clearly did not know that Slowman and his entire FIST down deep clinic -- John and Ian as instructors plus five other guys -- put my saddle exactly where it is right now).
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Midtown Miles] [ In reply to ]
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Saw this yesterday and immediately thought of this thread:


This idiot tried to mansplain bike riding to an actual Olympic cyclist

http://mediocremultisport.blogspot.com
Res firma mitescere nescit.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [AndyPants] [ In reply to ]
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I often wonder, too, how often guys give unsolicited advice to other guys as often as they feel the need to give unsolicited advice to a woman. (Do I look like I want your help, buddy?)

I would bet, though, that women almost never give unsolicited advice to men. Or to other women, for that matter!
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Furiosa] [ In reply to ]
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Seriously. I saw a woman in my recent race who appeared to be grinding her crotch to ever loving bits, and I thought - oh dear, I have to think you'd be more comfortable if you lowered your seat. But I only thought it b/c during a race absolutely no one wants to have it insinuated they're doing something wrong.

Contrast, I passed one guy in that race, saying - I don't know if anyone has told you this before, but your drive train is literally glistening. He laughed. And I'm not kidding, it was really beautifully shinny. Moral - as long as people stand the chance of remembering what you said, may as well make them chuckle or feel happy, versus like they might be doing something wrong.

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
Last edited by: Tsunami: Aug 18, 16 19:52
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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"I live in New York City"

Well, duh.
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [Giantsquid] [ In reply to ]
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I was a "victim" of this last Thursday!

I teach at a CX clinic on Thursdays in the month of August, last week's was #3. One more this Thursday. We had a poor turnout and I wasn't doing much actual teaching. So, then this dude I have never seen before decides to give me UNSOLICITED ADVICE! I thought of the OTHER thread on this forum! LOL. Anyway, I humored him, while being obviously crabby (my friends noticed, and laughed, thought it was amusing). Guy offers to get rid of my skip step while remounting. I'm like, "I have been racing CX since '05 and can't get rid of it". Well, in non-race situations, I can indeed get rid of it. Which I do. He's all proud. Then we have a race simulation. I CLOBBERED him. Absolutely dusted the guy. Then he quit early. So then he was by the barriers, of course my skip step came back. After the "race", he actually apologized for being "so forward" and seemed genuinely surprised my skip step came back. "I'm all like 'I told you so, I can get rid of it in practice but in the races it just comes right back'". He seemed again so surprised. SHEESH. Thankfully he lives in Colorado and won't be around.
Of course I'd love to get rid of the skip step. I can practice it all I want but there it in in every race. Did this guy REALLY think 5 mins of his amazing "coaching" would get rid of it?

2017 PACK Leader for The Rescue Project
http://www.rescue-project.org/
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Re: Men giving unsolicited advice on the bike - help! [determination] [ In reply to ]
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what is a "skip step"?

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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