A Word of Wisdom in today’s cartoon from Bikeyface…
This reminds me of discussions I’ve had on Twitter and elsewhere:
Lord knows I’ve been guilty of this condescending “More knowledgable Than Though” attitude on the pages of this blog, in email discussion lists, on Bike Forums, and even in the world of Real Life, and I repent of it. To borrow a cliche from the world of Evangelical Christianity and John Maxwell, they don’t care how much we know unless they know how much we care.
The comments following Bikeyface’s cartoon are split between those giving their stories of unsolicited advice, and the Dudley Do-Rights who without apology will continue yelling at the clueless newbies riding on the sidewalk with their saddles too low.
Where do you draw the line between minding your own business and offering helpful advice to complete strangers?
Its a fine line. So far, i just let people continue doing their own thing. That might change in the coming months, who knows. I personally like the advice, but we shall see.
I think if it is a matter of safety, that’s a reasonable place to draw the line. Crooked helmets drive me crazy though I rarely, if ever, point it out. On the other hand, not wearing a helmet at all doesn’t bother me. Not sure how to reconcile that.
I know exactly what you mean about the helmet! I’m annoyed by crooked helmets, but no helmet is no bother to me.
Advice from nice people usually comes off nicely. Advice from creepy people is always creepy. If you’re a creep, you should lay off since no one is going to listen to you anyway.
I will unilaterally fix the helmet of anyone under 18. But then, I’m a school teacher. 🙂
I don’t give a string of random advice to people, but if something looks like a genuine problem and I know of a quick solution and/or local co-op I’ll usually strike up a conversation at a stop.
I’ve gone over how bikes work with a few really casual cyclists I’m aquaintances with, and they’re usually genuinely appreciative (hows and whys of gearing/shifting, etc). As Kylee said, be nice about it and if they don’t seem interested don’t go beyond your initial comment – if they seem receptive/appreciative talk further.