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Bike Commute Diaries: Getting the Creeps

17 Jul

In almost four years of daily bike commuting I’ve had my share of men try to chat me up on my ride. When you’re a solo female it’s bound to happen, especially when your choice in footwear is eye-catching. But when the “Nice shoes!” is preceded by a sense of being followed strong enough to make you look back; and it’s followed by a “Do you ride here every day?,” a simple compliment takes on a whole new creepy meaning.

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About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve seen and learned while bicycling for transportation.

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8 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

8 responses to “Bike Commute Diaries: Getting the Creeps

  1. Daly

    July 17, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Creepy indeed. Tell ‘em you’re going to the target range or to see your parole officer. ;-) I do think women are safer traveling on a bicycle than walking. I carry pepper spray and am not afraid to use my heels or bike as a weapon or barrier. But since I tend to avoid conflict, most likely I will sprint away.

     
    • ladyfleur

      July 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

      What makes it creepy vs threatening is the ambiguity. Your sensors go off a bit, but you’re not sure if it’s real. Like hearing a noise in an empty house. I don’t carry any sort of weapon like pepper spray. To be honest, I can’t imagine I’d have time to use it for most threats, unless I kept it a quick-grab holster on my bars. Hmm, product idea. (just kidding)

      I’m very good at using my outside voice when threatened. Usually it’s just for a rude, impatient, or clueless drivers. And I do feel much safer riding than walking.

       
  2. Jean

    July 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Hmm… I haven’t quite had that happen yet. But then I don’t cycle in non-cycling shoes nor in dresses/skirts. Except for skorts. I tend to ignore/barely aware of the car beeps for my attention.

     
    • ladyfleur

      July 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      The majority of my commute is on a bike and walking path along a river, so there’s a lot of bike traffic and it’s a lot easier for people to chat. I wore the same thing on my previous commute and didn’t get nearly as many people chatting. Too hard to ride side by side.

       
  3. Elaine

    July 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Unabashedly picking your own nose often works to dissuade them.

     
  4. Jenny

    November 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Am I missing something here. I take it the creepy is the comment on the shoes? Maybe the commenter has a foot fetish? I personally dress down when I commute on my bike and leave my clogs, sandals, etc. at my office. Not a nice feeling I’m sure

     
    • ladyfleur

      November 16, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      It wasn’t the shoe comment per se, it was the context. As I said above in the comments, what makes things creepy is the ambiguity. Like hearing a noise in an empty house. It’s more likely nothing, but you’re just not sure whether is something.

       

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