Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Building You Up or Tearing You Down

This morning's bike ride was a rather strange one. I normally try and bike once a week as a way to cross-train (that way I am not pounding the pavement every day with running). Now I don't have a road bike or anything fancy - it's actually a hybrid beach cruiser {meaning a comfy bike that has 7 gears} - but it does the job for what I need.

Ain't she purrrrrty?!

I originally bought the bike to use for commuting to and from work every once in a while (my office was about 5 miles from the house), but I also wanted something I could use to tool around at the beach and not have a sore booty. 

Since purchasing the bike I have added a few 'upgrades' to it... Spoke beads, streamers, a pinwheel bell, etc.

The streamers are just ribbon I cut and looped on a hair tie... 

Obviously when people see me they realize I am not a professional biker, but the accessories bring a smile to my face and often to others (even if it's only because they're laughing at how silly I look). My thought is the more ridiculous I look noticeable I am, the more likely people will be to see me and hopefully, therefore, the LESS LIKELY they are to hit me!

Well, back to today's experience. 

I normally go out for anywhere from 15-20 miles on my normal ride. There is a nearby bike trail that you can cruise on for a while, so I usually head that way since there is less traffic to battle. After I turned around to head back home an older gentleman rode up next to me. 

The first thing he said to me was, "HA! Who's bike is that?". To which I replied proudly, "Mine." Continuing to laugh he asked, "Really?! And you are out here actually riding it?!". At this point I wanted to push him off of his bike but I did my best to bite my tongue and be polite. 

He mentioned that he was waiting for some of his biking friends to join him (apparently they ride 80-100 miles on Wednesdays along the coast) and decided to stick with me for a couple miles in the meantime - OH JOY...

Don't mind if I do ;)

I'm not sure if he thought it was a great way to break the ice or strike up conversation, but continually making fun of me and my bike were NOT the way to go about it. He asked me if I biked often, to which I explained that I was a runner but try to bike at least once a week. Then came the remarks about how much better biking is than running and oh yeah, then it was time to tell me how bad running was for my body...

Source

After a couple miles we came up to some hills. Thankfully (for me) he decided my pace was too slow for him and he wanted to get back to his workout so he bid me adieu... But not before telling me that if I were to ever get a 'real bike, you know, a fancier one' that I could join him and his friends on their Wednesday ride. I wished him a great afternoon (but secretly thought about how I'd NEVER EVER EVER want to ride with them no matter what type of bicycle I had). 

A helmet for safety... Streamers for joy... A windmill bell for smiles...
Spoke beads for sound ;)

I spent the last portion of my ride replaying the conversation over and over in my head. Now obviously I am not a biker cyclist, but what if I was trying to get into it... What if I really enjoyed biking and this guy came up and made me feel like garbage about trying to get out there and ride...

We can build each other up with our words just as easily as we can tear each other down. We all remember the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me", well, that's a LIE! Words sting, they hurt and they can stay with you for much longer than a bruise or a broken bone. 
Let's be careful with our words. Let's make sure we are using them to encourage one another. Let's take an extra second to really think about what we are going to say - because once the words are said, they can never be taken back.

How do you get over hurtful words?

9 comments:

Michele said...

As much as I'd like to say I let hurtful comments roll off, it's not that easy. I put in a lot of time, training, cross training, etc. for running and to have someone say something spiteful, it stings. I try to think that maybe they are having a bad day, projecting on to me, etc, but really sometimes people just don't have a clue how their words effect others. I remind myself I'm doing the best possible I can, not them and this is fine. The comparison game is the thief of joy and also hurts when it's used the other way around.

Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete said...

I mean, YES, girl...some people are jerk birds and should just learn to be nicer.

Newsflash: You were on a bicycle; henceforth, you're a cyclist.:) I get what you're saying, though. As a triathlete, I'll say it right now: Cycling is an expensive, sometimes (very) snobby sport. I LOVE your bike, and I'm going to put streamers on my aerobars just for you (well, a little for me, too...weeeeeeeee!). You go on with yo' sweet self.

thisiscarrie said...

Lots of people think cyclists are assholes. It's not hard to see why they've gotten that reputation.

John Hykes said...

These stories always piss me off (this doesn't happen to me, because I look like a giant). I'm with you, McDot! If you aren't going to be supportive, especially on the trails, keep your mouth shut. And for the record, your bike is amazing!

Jenn13.1 said...

I'm sorry you had that experience. Those types of comments hurt. Someone once told me I wasn't a real runner because my pace is slow. It takes courage to come back from comments like that and kudos to you for rocking the streamers and spoke beads. Your bike makes me smile!

Corine said...

When I hear hurtful comments from other people, I try to remember that what they say isn't a reflection of me, but a reflection of them. If he saw your bike as silly, that's on him. Just because he would never ride it, doesn't mean you shouldn't or that you should put any weight into his words. That's what I always tell myself anyway. It's hard to keep ourselves from doing the loop replay in instances like this; but I do try to remember *they* are the unhappy and self-conscious ones. Realizing that usually makes me feel bad they choose to carry that burden.

Jessica Johnson said...

Reminds me of something you just said in a post, "I am a runner...simply because I run". The same can be said for cycling. You ride a bike, therefore, you're a biker, cyclist. So that guy was a jerk about himself being "better" than you. We all know that is simply NOT true, so don't let it get ya down. Unfortunately there are people like him that we all come across in our journeys. But luckily, there are LOTS of people like YOU who encourage rather than discourage and those are the folks we need to hang on to, the comments we need to remember when we are having a tough time in our fitness and really, in everyday living paths.

Kathy Walker said...

This sucks! I will say from one cyclist to another... The one time I received a super rude comment it was from an older gentleman. But the one time I pulled over on the side of the road with a flat tire it was an older gentleman who stopped to help. He even stayed with me until my ride it showed up just to make sure I was OK. So you got To take the good with the bad! We are girls. Comments will always come!!! No matter what.

Meesh said...

What the heck! That is totally unnecessary conversation from Bike-Man! Don't say anything at all if you can't be nice! I've done multiple sprint tri's on my hybrid bike and gotten nothing but ENCOURAGEMENT from people. Sure, I went in knowing i wasn't going to WIN - so the extra lbs on the bike didn't matter. That is so messed up, what he said. Grr!