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Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101(19 posts)

Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101gimmeaminute
May 3, 2001 11:28 AM
I'm in Southern California and we seem to have this protocol of offering just enough help to those in need to appear polite, but not really stopping to help. Sort of a roll-by/slowdown to check for life/limb/eyesight. Being this is one of the unwritten rules of the road, can I get some feedback on what is usual in other areas and perhaps generally educate the readers/posters?
re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101Ken56
May 3, 2001 11:52 AM
It's about the same here in NJ. Although I do stop when I see someone at the side of the road, most do as you describe.
re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101Cory
May 3, 2001 12:21 PM
Standard here in Reno is to slow down, ask if they need anything, then go on when they wave. Semi-serious riders seem to have the basics with them, but I'm always surprised how many casual or occasional riders head up into the hills without a pump, patch kit or the ability to use either one. I stop for kids (always schrader valves, can't help 'em) and the truly bewildered, with grease in their hair and the chain wrapped around the bb.
re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101NEIL
May 3, 2001 1:38 PM
Maybe I'm feeling grouchy today or something, but here in the Midwest, you can be stuck on the side of the road, surrounded by corn and bean fields with no sign of human life in 360 degrees, and a rider will come up on you and you get the "I'm going to pretend I don't see you because I'm riding too intensely" type fly-by. Not even a 4-finger wave. I'm hoping these are some isolated instances.

re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101mr_spin
May 3, 2001 2:35 PM
I guess I have an expectation that people out riding, especially if they are miles from civilization, are somewhat self-sufficient. I am, and most of my riding buddies are, too. What's so hard about carrying a pump, spare tire, and irons?

So while I will usually ask someone if someone is OK, rarely do I expect to stop. But you can tell a lot about the situation without asking. If someone is standing at the side of the road desperately waiting for someone to stop, you should probably stop. If they are actively working on a flat, they are probably in good shape and asking as you roll by is OK.

That said (and I'm sure I'll take some heat for admitting this), my chance of stopping increases dramatically if it is an attractive young lady!
Ahh, Chivalry....we are breaking ground here....gimmeaminute
May 3, 2001 2:49 PM
Being prepared to dish a good dose of valor and chivalry is quite honorable. If I find cause,(or opportunity)I may suggest cooling the body by drink or by zipper.....

Then I wake up to offer a regular guy help and he says "I got it, thanks."
Methinks thy noble reply hast gone over mine head...mr_spin
May 4, 2001 11:44 AM
Not quite following your comment, but I did get a laugh.

Come to think of it, I do have a story that makes my self-sufficiency comment look a little arrogant. So let me clarify it. If you don't carry anything, you are an idiot. If you at least make the attempt, you are off the hook. Case in point: once I was mountain biking in the desert outside Moab when I got a flat. Of course I carry a pump, spare, etc., but the pump didn't work. After futile attempts to get it to work, I ended up bashing the hell out of it on a rock and tossing it as far as I could into the desert wasteland. Now I had to walk 2 miles back to the road (Hwy 191 - the main road into Moab) and another 4 miles back to my car. Lots of cars carrying obvious cyclists passed, but no one stopped. I guess I was the pathetic idiot who should have carried a pump! As I passed the Gemini Bridges parking area, a couple offered me use of their pump, which was a godsend. I was able to ride the next mile or so, but the tire was going soft fast. I guess I missed a thorn, or picked up another. Damn. After another walking stint, I got to the final downhill, said screw it, and rode the now flat (again) tire back to my car.

In an unrelated story, a friend and I were road riding through a neighborhood when she flatted. As we were sitting on the curb fixing it, a guy came out of his house with a floor pump. That was very cool.
Some days I get a short between the chair and keyboard.....gimmeaminute
May 4, 2001 11:59 AM
Arrogant, no. I think your second post shows that even if you pack the same stuff for every ride, the day will come that something doesn't work. I carried the same spare tube in my kit for a while and when I needed it, it had a slow leak. I never checked to see if it actually held air. Sort of like finding out the hard way that the spare in your car is flat. Anyone having a compulsive disorder could be in a fit after reading this......and the floor pump thing...I lived at the beach as a teenager, we kept a pump in front of the house, in our minds it would draw the never did. Lots of kindly men in silly clothes as I recall....
re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101Dinosaur
May 3, 2001 3:27 PM
It's a polite and unwritten code, perhaps forgotten in this sometimes rude world of ours. I always slow down to a roll and ask if they have everything. 9 times out of 10 they do. If nothing else, it's nice to run into another roadie out cranking on the same roads that I do. I keep on looking for that damsel in distress but I can never find her. I think she blew by me once when I was changing a flat.
In South Georgia...PsyDoc
May 3, 2001 3:32 PM
I will always stop if the rider is by himself or herself simply from a safety standpoint. I would feel bad if the next day I read in the paper that the same cyclist I did not stop for was robbed, beaten-up, or hit by a car. Typically, there is safety in numbers. I have had my run-in with rednecks down here and sometimes things get a bit scary. The times I've been stopped by myself and an old beaten up vehicle (e.g., a pickup) begins to slow down the theme song from "Deliverance" begins playing in my head. Sometimes the folks are nice and other times they are drunk rednecks who make awkward comments or ask questions like "are you one of them gay boys?", "don't you have a car?", "the only exercise I do is lifting a can a beer", "why are you wearing black underwear?", "ya got a pretty mouth" (just kidding about the last one), etc.

For the PC folks...I do not endorse the use of stereotypes as a means of treating anyone unfairly (e.g., discrimination) nor am I trying to offend anyone. Being born a redneck, I feel I can safely joke about the characteristics associated with my kin.
re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101blue bayou
May 3, 2001 3:40 PM
If they seem ok, I just keep going. You can tell if the guy is really in trouble. I saw a rider go down and we flagged down a truck. What else can you do? If it's a flat, that's one thing. Serious injury is another. Common sense.
I got picked up in Texassims
May 3, 2001 4:16 PM
I was JRA near a construction site and encountered a huge staple that punctured the rear tire and tube. My boyfriend was up ahead with my pump in a bit of a hammer session. (Yeah, I know. Stupid. Carry your own pump.) I stood there drinking my water trying to decide whether to walk the 3 miles home or sit and wait for boyfriend to finish the out-and-back. A Volvo made a U-turn within minutes. Salvation. The fellow was a cyclist, and his wife had insisted that they offer help. He didn't have a pump with him, so he drove me and my bike home.

So I guess the damsel in distress thing does work. I hope I can return the favor someday.

When I'm actually riding around here, I acknowledge and will stop if requested, but I haven't had to yet.
I got picked up in KentuckyPaulCL
May 4, 2001 8:52 AM
Early on in my cycling days (probably very "freddy") I was riding the Schwinn without a pump or repair kit or anything. 10 miles from my car with a flat tire and it's gonna be dark in one hour. I was also wearing cleats. I'm screwed.

A very nice farmer noticed me out his window, got up from his dinner, and asked if he could give me a ride. What a life saver. Nice guy. I got his name and sent him a nice note and a gift certificate to a local restuarant. His niceness almost makes up for all the yahoo's that throw rocks at me and try to bump me off the road.
roadside repair etiquette!Bill J. Pappas
May 3, 2001 5:01 PM
Here in Calgary, Alberta the norm is to slow, and ask if they're OK! If they wave/nod, then you can carry on riding, if not then offer whatever assistance you're able to, to get them riding again. If it's getting dark, or the weather is worsening, then sometimes it's better to stick around, if they don't mind, until they're up and rolling again.
re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101Steve Bailey
May 3, 2001 7:17 PM
My wife and I were in our truck, stopped at a light today when a cyclist (roadie on a C-Dale) rode past, having just started up from a light. He soon encountered a problem, almost fell over, then stumbled thru the intersection. As we made a right on red, with my wife driving, I glanced at his rear quick release flopping around. I immediately told my wide to pull over, realizing that he might well have just trashed his rear derailer. I've seen this happen when the rear wheel pulls out of the dropout as the rider stands to accelerate. The result can sometimes be very ugly.

I walked back as he fixed the problem, my wife having asked exactly what I intended to do, as we had no tools, etc... I was more then willing to give him a lift as needed.

I've been there, I've gotten a lift from a total stranger, early on in my riding career whan I hadn't yet learned what to bring along to stay out of trouble. I'd do it again.

re: Roadside Repair Etiquette , 101DERICK
May 3, 2001 11:28 PM
This is just my opinion but I will stop to help anyone in need. I carry the tools to do most simple repairs and won't hesitate to stop and help. Once I stopped to help this old redneck lady get her car running (I turn the wrenches on the family vehicles as well as the bikes). It may seem silly but she might relay the story to her redneck son and he might decide not to throw a bottle at one of us. Who knows? It's all about improving the image of cycling.
Angels do exist!vram
May 4, 2001 12:16 AM
Three weeks ago I was just done with some intense hill intervals out in the country and was heading home. I unclipped at a stop sign and as I put my foot down, the cleat slid on the painted white line. As I was doing this incredible split, my other leg was still clipped on to the pedal. I twisted my knee real bad--unfortunately, it was the knee that also has a torn ACL. I dragged myself to the patch of grass off the road and was rolling in pain. A woman in a minivan stopped beside me and asked if everything was OK. I shook my head to say "No". She offered to call my house, but I told her that it was futile because nobody would be in. She then offered me a ride home-- to a total stranger, a guy, in the middle of nowhere. I accepted her offer gladly because there was no way I would be able to bike home (which was 15 miles away). She put my bike at the back of her minivan (she was quite surprised at how light the bike was).

It was a warm day and she had the AC running and her windows rolled up. I asked her to roll down the window. The moment the windows came down I unloaded my endurox, lunch and my pre-ride banana on the side of her van! It was so gross, all plastered on the side. I had to throw-up another time. I was in so much pain that I didn't bother to apologize. She drove me 15 miles to my place, even though she had to drop her daughter off for her musical lessons and she was running late.

Although the circumstances weren't really pleasant, this was one of the most positive experience I've had while biking.
Find her and...Almost there
May 4, 2001 7:50 AM
Offer to wash her van or take her and her husband out to dinner maybe. I slid out a while back at a stop light much like you but, I did not hurt my self but these idiots tossed a milkshake right at me(it missed luckily). After reading your story It made me realize not everyone in 4 wheels vehicles are jerks. Hope your feeling better.

Ride on,
Even while driving, I'm still a cyclist...biknben
May 4, 2001 9:03 AM
I can remember two times I've given people rides back to civilization with my car. Once came upon a MTB guy who was walking on the road. He had gotten multiple flats and poped outa the woods to walk back to his car. I put his ride on the roof of my car and drove him to his car.
Another time I passed a woman riding alone, at night, who had gotten a flat with no means to repair it. Don't know what she was thinking, she was no newbie either. Actually found out she was a shop wrench at a shop nearby. I was gentlemanly...offering what I had to allow her to repair it herself but all I had was a pump. Neither of us had a tube or patches. I ended up driving her home. Damn, thinking back, she was a looker, but unfortunately the story ends there.