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We All Reflect On Each Other

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We All Reflect On Each Other

Something happened yesterday evening that got me to thinking. I was driving home when I spotted two fully loaded bicycle tourists (a man and a woman) going my direction. I immediately decided to welcome them to my town with a dinner out, and also offer to provide them a place to stay overnight if needed. I pulled ahead to park and then attempted to flag them down on the sidewalk. I yelled out that I was a rider, too and... I was gruffly told to get out of the way and they just zoomed by. I was in a suit and tie so it wasn't my appearance. I was annoyed but I quickly changed my mind because they smelled so bad that I was able to get a whiff of them from ten feet away. They were filthy dirty in appearance, too. There is no excuse for that and I surely wouldn't have wanted them in my home. ...These two and any others who are rude and unsightly give the rest of us a bad name. Thinking back, I have run into really dirty looking riders on the trail (only a few) and have wanted to move on in a hurry. I suppose there are trashy people everywhere, even in bicycle touring.

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"Trashy people" ??

Camping cyclists may start to smell a bit.

Once I got talking with a guy (happens often when riding my recumbent). He was cycling from Finland to Spain on an old bike, collecting cans to buy food. When I asked him where he would spend the night in Växjö and when he said that he would be sleeping on the cemetery, I invited him to stay at my place. This was in November, drizzling. And the guy could really use a shower.

Next morning I made sure that he would be on his way to southern Europe. He was still quite young, around 20 I think. All he needed to be presentable was a shower.

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I was being polite about these two

Hey Pieter: I have put in 20,000 miles of touring since retirement and these two took the cake. They were nasty, not just a little aroma challenged. They hadn't bathed this month as yet. ...What I'm saying is that they are not representative of the majority of us, but the public doesn't know that.

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Jack, you're assuming a lot

Jack, you're assuming a lot of things, I think. First of all, it may be that the road was busy (and thus it was dangerous to stop) or they were stressed out, had already been stopped by other people and didn't want to stop yet again, or your appearance (and nice smell) put them off! Sometimes (especially in enclosed spaces) I have to gag at some people who put on so much perfume or cologne or whatever that they literally stink! I find it self-centered of you to say "I was in a suit and tie so it wasn't my appearance." Maybe it WAS your appearance, not just the suit and tie. If you say "I was gruffly told to get out of the way" that means (to me anyway) that I'm maybe right in assuming that you were in the way (and creating a bit of a risk?). From personal experience, I don't like it when people bike next to me to "chat" or get on the side of the road and try to "flag me down."
Like someone else here wrote, cyclists tend to smell a bit after a while. Of course, not if you're the asceptic, super-groomed, snobbish type, etc, etc. The point is, you don't get to judge on people and complain about it like this. I'm sure they're glad in the end (if there was a way of knowing these things) that they didn't stay with you because you would certainly have found many other things about their demeanor and manners, they physique, too? And they wouldn't have felt comfortable? Who knows. Anyway, rude and unsightly? I think your post is rude and unsightly. And trashy. Or provocative? Maybe I took the bait.

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Not worthy of a reply.

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I agree. I have had days when

I agree. I have had days when I am being constantly waved down by curious locals for a little chat, and it gets tiring after a while – especially when you live in the country and already know exactly how the conversation will go. I try to at least smile politely as I ignore them, but I can definitely understand someone being a little irked and responding gruffly.

(I switched from mainly hitchhiking to mainly bicycle touring so that I wouldn't have to have all these inescapable interactions with strangers and so I could control where and when to be social – like at the end of the day at a WS member or other host. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to maintain his own personal space on the bike.)

From the description of them as very dirty, however, it may be that they were simply gutter punks on bikes. That’s a whole different demographic than most of us here, and anyone representative of mainstream society (i.e. suit and tie) should expect a confrontational attitude from these travelers.

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Hospitality Offered

Bottom line, not everyone accepts welcomed hospitality. As Registrar for WS, I read new profiles and will send a welcome letter out if I see someone is passing my way. I might send as many as 10 of these out a week, and few ever reply (with as much as a thank you).

Of course, there response rate has instantly dropped, something others will see when asking for accommodations.

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What a great idea.

That has to be frustrating after all you do for the group. But remember, somewhere up there, they are keeping track!

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LOL, "somewhere up there,

LOL, "somewhere up there, they are keeping track"
Up there.... or down there.
By the way, next time try to be a bit more perceptive and get clues from the dress, facial expressions, hair style, etc.
That way you don't need to get your nostrils and olfactory faculties (or us) involved.
Who asked you to get involved in their lives?
Why do you think this is any different than people smelling (one way or the other) in regular non-cycling life?
Just don't let them in your house. Do you feel rejected by them?
You think they and their "demeanor" is worthy of reflection? Yours is, too, that's all I'm saying. You can be offensive to them, too, and to many of us who, although we maybe don't stink that much all the time, are not obsessed. Ever read The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris?
Anyway, have some respect in order to get some yourself.

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