Positive feedback: Complimented for cycling?

We discussed here and elsewhere the trash talk from co-workers, acquaintances, family and strangers about our crazy habit of cycling to work. It’s a proven scientific fact, however, that the mere act of being on a bike makes you more attractive. For a dramatic example of this, take a look at my wife’s cousin’s brother-in-law Monty. Here’s a photo of him off of the bike.

Red Skinsuit Man

And here’s Monty when he’s on a bicycle.

Kathy Ireland on a bicycle

I constantly receive comments from co-workers who compliment my fitness and my dedication to helping the environment. This middle aged man apparently enjoyed the attention he received from a teenager, and I’m also the recipient of shouted compliments from attractive young ladies as they express admiration for my backside.

What kind of positive feedback do you receive from people? Do they appreciate your thriftiness, your looks, your athleticism, or your ethics?

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0 thoughts on “Positive feedback: Complimented for cycling?”

  1. Noah says:

    I get the occasional compliment, usually from some eco-zealot who is gushing about how cool it is that I’m trying to save the planet (I’m not trying, I just rock), followed shortly by excuses why said eco-zealot cannot ride a bike for errands or commuting.

    I did, however, just get berated by cow-orkers for having those images on my screen, and I’d be lying if the first photo didn’t make me throw up in my mouth a little… Thanks, Fritz. The second photo almost (but not quite) made up for it.

  2. kaz_kougar says:

    I rarely hear negatives in regards to my bike commuting obsession. Many “kudos” and “atta-boys” from co-workers. And then there’s the eco-zealots that Noah speaks of that, as you stated, always have an excuse as to why they ‘need’ to drive.
    I have a lot of fellow commuters at work so it’s a pretty positive and upbeat thing that we do. It also helps that our employer is very pro-environment and participates actively in the local “Bike to Work Week” every October.
    In regards to the second picture, if we had more Kathy Ireland’s on the bike paths we would have more bike commuters, guaranteed. Can swimsuit models be the key to fighting global warming and the oil companies?

  3. Tim Grahl says:

    Swimsuit models are the key to everything.

  4. OMG – I **AM** turning gay (not that that’s a bad thing – live & let live, etc). First of all I started finding the Fat Cyclist’s friend Kenny attractive (it was the glasses, not the man, it turns out), and now I get the hots for Monty when he’s on his bike. Just what is going on?

    More seriously . . . people generally are pretty impressed and positive. Especially as I’m an independent consultant, and turn up to clients’ offices on my bike – it somehow doesn’t fit with their expected image!

  5. David Veatch says:

    I regularly get compliments from coworkers. Most simply express admiration, while some actually ask for advice and details on how I do it. At first, one concerned soul had a hard time with it, thinking it too dangerous, but she’s since come around.

    Once a man who was shoveling his driveway out from under 4 inches of snow stopped what he was doing while I passed him on my Kona and proclaimed “You are a hardcore biker!” I didn’t bother to correct him ala s/biker/cyclist/ig. After all, I was cold and wanted to get where I wouldn’t be anymore. Cold, that is.

    Another time, while riding home on a major and busy artery, I heard the prototypical teenage-girl “Wooo!!” from behind me. Personally, I would have simply smiled had we arrived at a stoplight together. Maybe offered a better view or something. Hey… if she likes, she likes, no? I’d rather have that than a “Get off the road!” any day of any week of any year.

    What gets me is that every day, several people tell me to “be careful.” I wonder how many of their fellow drivers they say that to.

    Oh, and yes. Swimsuit models are the key to everything.

  6. Noah says:

    OMG @ Dave and the sed replace. HAHA!

  7. Fritz says:

    Thanks for the comments all. One I’ve heard a couple of times from passing motorists “LIVESTRONG DUDE! RIGHT ON!” This while I’m wearing commuter clothing (not racing kit) on my 20 year old steel fixed gear bike.

  8. Noah says:

    Sorry, Fritz. That is mockery, not a compliment. I get “Go LANCE!!!” All the time, and I don’t even OWN any racing kit. And I’m often on my mountain bike when that happens.

  9. Fritz says:

    Ah, Noah, yer such a wet blanket.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I often get “You’re so brave!” “Good for you!” or “Thank you for stopping!” (at red lights, which worries me a bit) and sometimes “Hey, nice rack!” when I’m bungeeing stuff to the carrying rack.

  11. david p. says:

    one of my favorites was from a guy driving a budweiser truck. as he rolled down his window i braced myself for what i thought would be a horribly mundane comment.

    instead, he asked me where i was coming from.

    “wow, all the way huh? good job man, keep it up. be safe.”

    pretty simple, but it was just one of those comments from an unexpected source to make you feel pretty good.

    the excuse-praises you get from co-workers are nothing more than attempt to assuage their guilt/admiration.

    i always try to encourage them to try it. perhaps when gas is $7/gallon, i won’t be so gallant any more.

  12. rick says:

    I get compliments on the muscle tone in my legs from people, I live in shorts for as much of the year as I can. The biggest compliment is when the wife grabs the ‘buns of steel’.

  13. Bigby00 says:

    Most of the people I work with just assume that I’ve recently been arrested for DUI and have lost my license. I’m constantly getting offers of rides home.

  14. Girl Jen says:

    I just did my first bike commute today. When my best friend Mr. C. (who comes in to work a few hours after me; swing shift) walked in and saw my helmet on my desk, his eyes just lit up. “You rode your bike to work that’s so COOL!!” He’s the type of guy who will ride 50 miles for fun. The fact that he actually admired my rinky-dink six mile round trip commute gave me an ego boost I’m still riding.

    On the way home, I got honked at and waved at by a few random cars and an ambulance. I’m sure most (if not all) of them were coworkers.

  15. Lesley says:

    I get no compliments. My coworkers think i’m crazy, unsafe, or a treehugger. i get comments like “Oh, think you’re saving the world?” “Jeesus, are you nuts?” “If I see you on the road, I might hit you!”. My mom thinks I should park a few blocks away and ride in from there, instead of miles away. Motorists point and laugh (haha, fat girl on a bike) or yell and threaten. Random people make fun of my bike, or me. Even the boys at the bike shop view me with more amusement than anything else.

  16. Fritz says:

    Lesley, fat girls on bikes are beautiful too! You’re probably more fit than most of your coworkers and you’re doing great!.

  17. emptycave says:

    hey, nice bike!

    That’s about the only compliment i get and yeah, its pretty sad.

  18. Quinn says:

    People around here range from “its ANother guy on a bike” to “get the F*** off the road” to “you’re Insane!”, Compliments- nil

  19. Walt says:

    Nice Continental. 🙂

  20. kaz_kougar says:

    Lesley, if the boys at the bike shop view you with amusement then they are just a bunch of phonies. No matter one’s shape or size, if those working in the industry can’t appreciate another’s passion for the ride then they don’t belong.

  21. James says:

    I’m a novelty at the office wherever I have worked for the last 15 years I have been commuting. Honestly, the overall reaction of people has gotten better over the last ten years but the harassment certainly outweighs the compliments. I just recently moved to a new neighborhood in the suburbs and rode home from work. I saw one of my new neighbors out and stopped to say hi and introduce myself. His comment after inquiring about the bike – “You’re one of those people. You people just hold me up and slow down traffic. Get back on the sidewalk where you belong.” I tried to briefly explain how the law allows bikes as vehicles on the road but he didn’t want to hear about it. here we go again. I’m going to love living here….

  22. dvicci says:

    It’s disgusting to me that people would make fun of others. Period. It doesn’t matter what the subject of the ridicule, the reason is self-loathing. Keep riding Lesley. Keep riding proud.

    I’ve either been lucky, or the human tendency to remember bad experiences over good is showing in the nature of the comments here. I’ve had nothing but compliments and concern.

  23. Jennifer says:

    “Random people make fun of my bike…”

    Oh, mine too; it’s one of those $300 Trek hybrids with seven or eight too many speeds that bikey people just love to rag on. I used to let it get to me, but then I realized that it is my bike and therefore the most wonderful thing in the whole world. If you think of it that way, it’s much more enjoyable. If people make fun of your bike just for the sake of being a bike, then think about how that makes you so much more awesome than the lowlifes who dare to mock you.

    I know people complain all the time that bicyclists are just so arrogant and full of ourselves and love to go on and on about how much better we are than everybody else, but I think it’s really because we have to develop a sense of arrogance just to survive all the mocking and mistreatment we get.

  24. Ryan says:

    I have never had anyone insult or jab at me at work. They already view me as a fitness nut (I run at lunch) so I guess this is just normal to them.

  25. siouxgeonz says:

    I get lots of different kinds of comments. I choose to focus on the positive 😀 I’ve found that if it looks like I’m having a good time, people have a more positive response.
    The tally is mostly positive around here, though. Move on out, Lesley 😀

  26. 25 comments and no one noticed the bent fork on that Schwinn? 😉

    Sheesh! I must be sick. 🙂

    I can’t really talk about my co-workers, since they all work with me at a bike shop. They think it”s cool to commute already, of course.

    I can totally relate to the negativism from “car people” though. I am a freak! 🙂

  27. Fritz says:

    Guitar Ted — *laugh* The fork is so obviously backwards it’s not even worth mentioning 🙂

  28. != says:

    Just today I had a senior staff member tell me that I was a smart man for commuting by bike. Most of the people I talk to, however, tell me the usual: “That’s amazing, but I could never do it.”

  29. rick says:

    I’m astonished at all the negative comments you folks receive.

  30. Mindy says:

    I doubt my friends who tell me bicycling is dangerous and who are astonished at my riding in all weathers think they are being negative. I’m sure they’d call it being concerned. However the constant questioning of one’s choices is patronizing and I perceive it as a real negative.

    As far as positive comments, I mentioned in another post that a few friends are always positive, calling me their hero, saying they’re impressed, etc etc. Yesterday I was riding to work and I came to the place on my route where the bike lane goes away for about 50 yards. I moved into the right car lane until my bike lane came back. There was a recreational cyclist behind me, or at least he was wearing the “costume”. He said, “I see you’ve done that before! Nice move into traffic.”

    Imitation is the best compliment, and I’m thrilled that my husband took up commuting shortly after I did. He only rides 2 or 3 days a week because he has to haul loads sometimes with his job. One night when he cycled home, he said, “If only I could cycle to work every day!”

    One day I was riding through my grocery store parking lot and an overweight, middle-aged lady stopped me and asked where I got my bike. I was very pleased, because being overweight and middle-aged myself, I felt like the sight of me made her believe that maybe she could do what I was doing. She really made my day.

    Mindy in Tucson

  31. Denver Nick says:

    Most of the positive feedback I receive is in the form of not getting run over. It makes a guy feel really good.

  32. siouxgeonz says:

    Where cyclists are pioneers I think they’re more likely to get the negative stuff. That’s where you’re different… therefore a threat… so take courage and hang in there!!!

    Last night I rode my Dahon home in the dark (well lit, of course). Not once, but *three* times I was honked at in a friendly fashion. The second time: “oooh, baby baby!!!” and something unintelligible. The third time, “SEXY!!!!” (I was ensconced in sweats and Gore-tex. ’twas the bike inspiring the comments.) Both voices were feminine…

  33. dan says:

    My favorite compliment actual came from a fellow bike commuter just a couple nights ago. I’d rolled past her as a light turned green and was going kind of fast (thank you, tailwind!). She caught up to me at the next light and said, “Man, you got a motor on you!”

  34. derrick says:

    I once had a young lady call me Neil Armstrong on my morning commute. I’m not sure what that means. I think she meant Lance. Or perhaps she was so stricken with my lycra clad body that she thought I was “out of this world” in an astronaut kind of way. In actuality, she was probably just making fun of me.

  35. Clunkerider says:

    I get comments all the time like “what’s the matter you didn’t ride today is your bike broken?” This after we got two feet of snow and I drove that day! Or one jealous jerk said “even though you cycle, your legs are kind of fat.” People are wierd! They shoud ride or walk to work (some only live a 20 minute walk away but drive anyway). Hey, their the ones who will get ill from inactivity…not me.

  36. Axel says:

    I love my $300 Trek hybrid! And my wife loves her $400 Raleigh road bike. You don’t need a $3k carbon nanotube whatever to have a comfy commute. Don’t let the bike snobs bring you down!

  37. Michael says:

    I get some positive feedback, but like others have stated the negative stuff seems to stick in my memory more.

    Positives: My coworkers are very encouraging. A little poking of fun, supposedly I look like a super hero, in the winter I’m all decked out in the dorky gear (its functional!). They are mostly appreciative of the effort though. Since I work at a design firm, I think the bike parked next to my desk adds to the company’s cool factor. It also helps that one other coworker rides often. We both ride bikes that suit our own needs (mine is a sirrus with a rack and decked out with two lights, his is an old heavy beater with a rack), so we don’t feel too much pressure to ride top of the line (expensive road bike) or hipster wheels (fixed gear, single speed).

    Negatives: Mostly stems from car culture. As stated by others, the comments come mostly from people who aren’t aware of the laws. I get yelled at often to ride on the sidewalk. Once two guys got out of their car to pick a fight with me. They thought I had flipped them off, when I had actually motioned them to pass. Thankfully, a bike cop came to my rescue!! I too have also received a lot of the “Go Lance!!” mockery comments from snarky kids.

    Overall: The rewards off biking (exercise, low gas bills, mental health, and my wife’s appreciation of my bicycle butt) outweigh the negative comments. Or else I wouldn’t continue my 24 mile round trip commute (only 1-4 days out of the week though).

  38. mtbman1 says:

    I only get positive and surprised comments at work (accounting firm). Nothing negative on the road unless you consider being forced off the road negative. 😉 Commuting drivers tend to be a bit uptight, in-a-hurry, on the phone, etc.
    I live in kind of a yuppie, upper middle class area so cycling and jogging are pretty normal.

  39. Zoe says:

    I rarely get negative comments because I smile and wave at everyone.

  40. NoTrail says:

    I can only dream of passing another commuter cyclist on my way to work. It’s kinda funny that I ride right past a Ford plant every day. All these big trucks just looking at me weird.

    The main reason I ride is for the health beneifts. The gas savings is just a bonus! And yes, my co-workers think I’m a little off … but they thought that BEFORE I started riding to work.

  41. Quinn says:

    I found a New way to get Anti-compliments (from drivers), Ride your 29er down a main drag, following the law down to the letter.

    **Warning- you may want to wear ear plugs.

  42. Fritz says:

    Quinn, some people in Portland organized a Super Legal Bike Ride a few years ago. In San Francisco we have the “Critical Manners” bike ride every month.

  43. Quinn says:


    Here in Reno we have Critical Mass, 1 they never ride around the whole city, most of the reactions are “O gawd, A Group of Fixie Nerds…!@#$%!@#”, and the biggest reaction I got was from a luxury suv that probably had its engine to far up its tailpipe to care about the law.

  44. turboptimus says:

    no one likes bikes in the 49th state. they just honk and tell you to get the f off the road. i just smile and keep on riding.

  45. evan says:

    nice bent fork!!!

  46. bobbylikestacos says:

    People in the suburbs north of Detroit are surprisingly cool. They give a lot of room when they pass and they don’t yell at me. Another guy in the office is a bigger bike nut, but I bike commute more. I’ve commuted to work at least one per month for the last 27 months. Hang in there, Lesley.

  47. hercules says:

    hey can i get her number Swimsuit model

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