Author Topic: Useless advice/help  (Read 9095 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Useless advice/help
« on: November 14, 2014, 09:33:29 am »
I've often benefited from the kindness of strangers like a night's stay in CT or a bottle of Snapple at the top of a hill in PA while on tour but once or twice the 'help' was anything but. Like the time I came out of a cafe in Ellensburg WA and a passing stranger informed me my back tire was flat. Now I think there's a fair chance I would have noticed that on my own. I know the guy meant well but nevertheless I found it irritating and felt obliged to thank him for pointing out the obvious. Anybody else had a similar experience?

The previous time someone pointed out a flat tire was in Valence France, I was pushing my bike because my left arm was in a cast, I'd broke it a couple of days before. The man not only pointed out the flat tire but he fixed it as well! He was a master, fixing the flat without taking the wheel off and re-inflating it for me in about 5 minutes. I was so grateful I was going to tip him my last 12 euros and then I found my wallet had been lifted. The same man recovered it for me. (I'll never know but I suspect he was the lifter. All the cash was gone but my credit cards etc were still there.) All in all quite a day.

Offline zzzz

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2014, 10:14:16 am »
I was going west to east on the Western Express route. I got to Cedar City, Ut and took my bike to the bike shop in town to have it thoroughly cleaned up. As it was being worked on another customer came in and we were talking. He was a local and had apparently done a lot riding thru-out Utah. He asks about my route and I show him the ACA map.

For anyone not familiar w that area there's a pretty stout climb right out of Cedar City that tops out above 10,000' and on paper it looks kind of intimidating. At the top is something called Cedar Breaks. So this guy is going on and on that he wouldn't climb all the way to the top, he would turn at this intersection before the top and head straight to the next town. Nothing that terrific to see at Cedar Breaks.

So the next morning I start the climb up the hill. I'm thinking from what the guy said that the climb was going to be a total beat down and when I get to this early intersection I'll make up my mind then if I'm going to take his short cut. The climb turns out to be perfect. It was substantial but never so steep that you couldn't keep your rhythm the whole way up. And I keep looking for this intersection for the short cut, 8000', 8500', 9000', finally at around 9500' I see the turn off. I'm thinking to myself "Really?!, I'm going off-route to save 700' of climbing?! I don't think so!".

The icing on the cake was that the view of Cedar Breaks was easily within the top 5 things I saw on that trip.

pm

indyfabz

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Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2014, 11:18:51 am »
I was riding the early miles of Sklalkaho Road heading towards Hamilton, MT this past June. That part of the road passes through wide open ranch land. I could see rain showers coming from more than a mile away. An old ranch worker came by on a motorcycle and said something like "Looks like you're gonna get wet." Really? But I don't let things like that bother me. He was just trying to be friendly. Reminded me of one of the early scenes from "Animal House." As a fraternity rush party Dorfman walks up to four guys sitting at a table playing cards and says "So. You guys playing cards?"

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 06:53:42 pm »
I have received repeated worthless advice on tour.  Most of it was about routes. One time I was in a small town in Western WA and asked at the ice cream shop about different roads out of town on the map.  The lady said she only had lived there three years and only knew one way out of the 4 or 5 on the map because she was afraid of getting lost and so only used that one route.  Also, she then told me she was not sure if it was hilly or not.

Another time we were in the far NE part of WA and met three locals who were walking along and we told them we were heading from Tiger over to Colville. They told us that we would have to climb Tiger Hill and that it was probably close to impossible to do that on a bike and it would take hours.  I got up that hill  in just over a half hour.

Another time we stopped in a bike shop in Oxnard CA to ask how to get south along the Pacific Coast because construction had affected the normal route. The guy working there just said something like "How would I know that?"  We later found the necessary trail over a dry creek bed about a half mile away.  Jeez! 

Locals often know little to nothing about local geography and especially about topography.  If you always driver everywhere maybe you lose all ability to notice ups and downs!  I've seen that over and over when asking about upcoming routes in the west. 
May the wind be at your back!

indyfabz

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Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2014, 11:52:20 am »
A ranger at Bay View State Park in WA swore up and down that it was only 8 miles round trip to the grocery store in Burlington and back despite the fact that our map suggested it was 8 miles each way. "I drive it all the time." It was 8 miles each way.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2014, 12:45:47 pm »
I have noticed several times interesting facts about human psychology. Ask most anyone anywhere about the lay of a road where they live, and where there are numeous rises and hills and dips in the road ahead, and they had driven that road 100 times, they say it is flat. Of course, if the road is a steep climb  into the Rockies, this rule will not apply. People had driven roads, and had not expended any personal energy to overcome the hills. Their minds say flat even though they have seen the hills 1000 times. It has interesting implications.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 12:48:02 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline misterflask

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2014, 11:14:34 pm »
On a TA tour an erstwhile cycling companion and I would joke about the passion people had for giving you bad advice, whether it was about weather, roads, provisioning or whatever.  We eventually decided that if you didn't hear it from someone with a bike with panniers, you could pretty well discard the information.

Riding in eastern Ohio, if I asked how far away someplace was, the answer was always framed in driving time.  I never did work out a useful conversion.

Offline DaveB

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 08:49:37 am »
The most untrustworthy statement you ever receive is, as you reach the top of a really tough climb; "it's all downhill from here".

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2014, 05:40:20 pm »
I've definitely gotten my share of bad info in the distance/hills/service/etc. department. And I accept the info graciously, then take what has been said with a grain of salt. So it's easy to fall into the trap of all advice given on the road (that isn't from other tourists or cyclists) is bad. But sometimes it can come back and bite you in the posterior.

For example, when I toured the Pacific Coast in 2006, I ended up staying at the Point Reyes Hostel. This is a bit off the main route. When I called the hostel to confirm that I was coming that night, they warned me of the "big hill" between Point Reyes Station (the town, on route) and the hostel about six miles away. "Pshaw", I thought. I had been biking down the coast for two weeks, over many a hill. I made it up and over the Crescent City Hills and Leggett summit, the dreaded two "big hills" on the route (between Astoria and SF), ones they warn you about in "the book". I figured if I made it over all that, the "hill" the hostel staff mention should be a cakewalk, er, roll, right? Probably nothing at all.

Big mistake! That was quite the hill, almost 850 feet in elevation (starting from near sea level), and some of the steepest pitches that I encountered on that tour. I made it up, yes, but there was a section on the return I needed to walk. It was posted at 17% grade!

So I guess what I'm saying is: Don't get too cocky when offered advice from the locals. While a lot of it may be bad, sometimes they are right.

Offline etsisk

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 11:20:55 am »
Some of the advice can be good. When I ask distances, I'll ask a number of folks, eventually getting a good sense of the actual distance. And the old men sitting together in McDonald's or some small café are a wealth of info for directions, etc!

Offline BrianW

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2015, 11:54:15 am »
I've often benefited from the kindness of strangers like a night's stay in CT or a bottle of Snapple at the top of a hill in PA while on tour but once or twice the 'help' was anything but. Like the time I came out of a cafe in Ellensburg WA and a passing stranger informed me my back tire was flat. Now I think there's a fair chance I would have noticed that on my own. I know the guy meant well but nevertheless I found it irritating and felt obliged to thank him for pointing out the obvious. Anybody else had a similar experience?

Wow, really? Somebody kindly informing you that your tire was flat made you irritated? Seems like a nice thing for a bystander to do, if it seems like perhaps you didn't or wouldn't notice it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2015, 02:49:41 pm »
Like the time I came out of a cafe in Ellensburg WA and a passing stranger informed me my back tire was flat. Now I think there's a fair chance I would have noticed that on my own. I know the guy meant well but nevertheless I found it irritating and felt obliged to thank him for pointing out the obvious. Anybody else had a similar experience?

Yes I have and I considered it a nice thing for them to do.  I'd rather know sooner, rather than later, so I was genuinely grateful when I thanked them.  I remember a time when I was sitting killing time waiting at a coffee shop for a friend to break camp across the street and join me to start the ride for the day.  After waiting for 15 minutes for him, I discovered that I had a flat.  It would have been nice if someone had told me and I could have fixed it while I was waiting.

Offline etsisk

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 01:39:27 am »
Thinking about it, I don't think someone not knowing the answer to a question you've asked, and telling you that, constitutes "bad advice", you know? That's just... not knowing.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2015, 11:59:52 am »
Riding in eastern Ohio, if I asked how far away someplace was, the answer was always framed in driving time.  I never did work out a useful conversion.
That is one of the major differences between USA and Europe. When asking for directions in Europe people will never give you the hours or minutes but always the distance in kilometers ... then you can always decide for yourself how fast you are going.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Useless advice/help
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2015, 12:18:03 pm »
One thing I will say is that there are two groups of people that I have found very likely to give accurate road info.  Big rig truckers and a lesser extent farmers.

I have found that a car driver will likely say something like, "it is exactly 20 miles and pretty flat the whole way" where a trucker might say, "This is just a guess but I think it is about 31.2 miles.  The road descends a little for a couple miles and there is a big climb a couple miles before the end.  The rest is pretty flat and there is a kind of rough shoulder the whole way".

When I actually ride the route I usually find the car driver wrong and the trucker spot on.