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.


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.


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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