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Temptation to give unsolicited advice(12 posts)

Temptation to give unsolicited advicetommyb
Apr 10, 2001 8:40 PM
Throughout the entire winter, I was the only bike commuter at work. This spring, however, there is a new entry-level road bike in the lot(unfamiliar brand name, Sora equipped). The set-up on this bike is all "wrong" according to road bike rules. The saddle is pointing down at an extreme angle, and the ends of the handlebars are pointing up at the saddle. Through the window, I saw the guy leaving work the other day. His saddle appears to be way too low. He sprinted into traffic wearing gym shorts, tennis shoes and no helmet.

Now, do I make an effort to approach him and offer some unsolicited advice? Or do I write him off as a newbie fred? If I offer advice, I may come across as an elitist roadie. If I ignore a newcomer to the sport, then I definitely am an elitist. I realize that the best thing would be to offer to ride with him, but we work different shifts, and apparently live in different directions.

How do you guys handle this type of situation?
It dependsStarliner
Apr 10, 2001 10:10 PM
My first inclination would be to resist temptation and mind to my own business - taking responsibility for what others do is not something I have found to have much of a payoff, and often ends up not the way you would like it to be.

What is your motivation for intervening? If it is to selfishly call attention to yourself as the big bicycle expert, then yes, you will come off as an elitist. If, however, you are truly motivated to help out, then your chances of coming off as a lout would be less.

This doesn't seem to be a situation where you'd be spending a lot of time and effort mending his "problem." As long as you approach the guy with a good attitude, as someone who is an experienced and enthusiastic cyclist, it would be fine to maybe give a little small talk on his new bike and his riding, and then slip in a little of your "experienced" observations along with a few helpful suggestions in your conversation.

The worse thing that would probably happen is that he'd have you turning wrenches for him. But then so what - if you indeed can help him, chalk it up as your good deed for the day.
re: Temptation to give unsolicited adviceMade in Taiwan
Apr 10, 2001 10:11 PM
maybe you can stike up a bike chat and ask him about his interesting position.
advice?gromit
Apr 11, 2001 3:33 AM
Personally, I would establish some common ground first. You are both in a minority at work, you both enjoy cycling, you both face traffic daily, you share the same facilities (or lack of) at work. Remember 'two wheels good, four wheels bad'.
Once you get to know the guy a bit you may be better placed to help or advise.
3rd Type of Ridergrz mnky
Apr 12, 2001 3:10 PM
> those that have fallen in traffic and those that are going to fall in traffic

And those that will fall again.

Passed on to me by a retired motorcycle CHP during a 3 day M/C training course. His point being just because you've gone down before there is no reason to think that you won't go down again - no matter how careful or defensive you think you are. He'd crashed 3 times and had 950,000 mi. on motorcycles in his life so far.

Dunno about helping out the Phred, best to figure out if he's open to suggestions or just trying to get to work while he replaces the water pump on his straight six '74 Nova.....
advice on adviceDog
Apr 11, 2001 5:40 AM
Let's start with some interesting quotes:

"I daresay one profits more by the mistakes one makes off one's own bat than by doing the right thing on somebody's else advice."
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965), 'Of Human Bondage', 1915

"It is very difficult to live among people you love and hold back from offering them advice." Anne Tyler, Celestial Navigation, 1974

"The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right." Hannah Whitall Smith, 1902

"Never give advice unless asked." German Proverb

"Friendship will not stand the strain of very much good advice for very long." Robert Lynd

My advice -- befriend the guy; establish a common ground; talk bikes; wait for him to ask.

Doug
re: Temptation to give unsolicited advicePuffer
Apr 11, 2001 6:34 AM
Well, there is a lot of good advice there. But on the other hand, it's always a nice feeling when someone tells you something really useful out of the blue, providing it actually is useful, and the comment well-meant. Why not start with a "do you find that confortable?" type line. If you get a "YES VERY - WHY WHAT'S IT TO YOU?" response, then I suppose you'll have your answer on weather to say more....
How did you learn?shmoo
Apr 11, 2001 6:36 AM
First, I think you could develop at least a conversational relationship with the guy - not just to give the advice (that's a bit pompous, don't you think), rather to see if there is a potential friendship there. . The common ground is obvious. The opportunity to give the advice should present itself naturally.

Ask yourself, how you learned what you know about cycling. Did you have stanger "know-it-alls" poping in with tidbits of information? For me, I learn by reading, riding, and riding with others. If your relationship with this guy could develop into say the occasional lunch ride; wouldn't that be a great way for him to learn the ropes? You don't have to tell him about the clothes and shoes - he'll pick up on that, and probably ask questions. Teach safety by example. The rest is conversation.

Now, if neither of you are interested in developing any level of relationship, the point becomes moot. In that case, he doesn't want your advice and you don't need to give it.

All IMHO, of course.
try "wow that seat position looks painfull, do you like it likejohn de
Apr 11, 2001 7:14 AM
it like that "..he'll think hes special at first and then later realize he doesnt know what he is doing....i used to have mine like that once, i thought i looked better and would be more comfortable because it left the beans alone
This begs another question....E3
Apr 11, 2001 1:36 PM
Why did the bike shop let him roll out the door like that? I suppose there's a chance that he's configured it the way he likes it.

I think I'd wait until I was in one of my rare "everyone's my friend" moods and time my exit with his. Sincerely say, "Hey, nice bike." (If someone says that to me, they could talk about my mama and I'd still not think they were all bad). Make a friend, then after a while, give friendly advice.

Like the others say, you'll know quickly whether it's appreciated or not.
Here's a thought...look271
Apr 11, 2001 4:18 PM
You both may be riding for different reasons; You, obviously, because you enjoy it. He, because he may HAVE to. (DUI, no license, etc.) I'm not saying that that is the case, but I have notice many people on my commute that are probably riding because they have to, rather than because they want to. It is for this reason alone I'd skip the advice, or very cautiously find out about why he rides.
Hmmm...Kristin
Apr 12, 2001 12:56 PM
If he's a new rider and riding because he must, he may be more open to advice than an experienced rider.

After college, I moved to Chicago with a couple nickles in my pocket. A friend gave me an old cruiser for my 3 mile commute to work. I knew nothing about bikes and made no adjustments. After a while, my knees were killing me--unable to climb stairs or get up from a sitting position. Because I felt fine on the bike I never connected the two. One day, while at my LBS, a mechanic asked if my knees hurt. I figured he was psychic or something! Then he told me my seat was way too low. Viola - my knees healed. I'm SO glad he said something! Though, granted, he was an official sorta bike guy.

Last year, I observed a guy on my loop riding a bike at least 3 sizes too small for him--practically eating his knees. One day I caught him on a break, so I pulled up and while chatting asked him if his knees hurt. He told me he felt physically fine, then introduced himself. He still rides the same setup and likes it (???). Sometimes we ride together for a spell or chat on rests. So, no harm done and I have a new friend.