Actively confronting ignorance/hostility

Some unicyclists, when faced with ‘unicycle comments’, bad jokes or hostility, veer towards accepting it as inevitable; others can’t help seeing it as really annoying.

I must confess, I tend more towards the latter, in that I find comparisons with circuses, shouted comments etc, unnacceptable. However, there is wisdom in a degree of acceptance, as it leads to less stress.

Increasingly though, I’ve been thinking of ways to constructivly challenge the preconceptions that lie behind such behaviour, some of which I’ve posted before.

I thought it would be useful to start a thread on which others can post their ideas/experiences of dealing with negative attitudes in a constructive way that educates the non unicycling public; and also post experiences of pitfalls resulting from such an approach.

This was triggered by an incident on my ride today, and I’ll kick off the thread by posting details below.

My 29-er riding has been going well, after almost a month of consistent daily riding I’m more confident both on the road and off.

A nice side effect has been that negative comments, already quite low, have dropped even lower now I’m on the 29-er. I guess it’s something to do with the height, skill/confidence and general serious look (high speed, helmet/padding, lights etc).

However today, I was faced with this: -

riding on the pavement (sidewalk) I saw two young men ahead, and adjusted direction to pass them as they came towards me.

The one closest was speaking on a mobile and, as I passed I heard him saying there was a unicyclist who he was GOING TO KICK! (capitals indicate the fact that he shouted the last part whilst thrusting his face towards me).

People jumping towards me or pretending to push me I see as a problem because, although usually a joke it’s difficult not to react because one day it may be carried out.

On passing a flurry of thoughts went through my head but I think it was mainly instinct that led me to react. This took the form of immediately dismounting and striding towards him with the intention of explaining that what he had just done was dangerous.

However, I must have gone in looking a bit aggressive because his mouth opened, his hands went up and he immediately blurted out that he ‘wasn’t really going to kick me!’; he looked as though he expected me to punch him.

I stopped and said that it was a pretty stupid thing to do to someone on a unicycle, and, as he again explained that he hadn’t meant it, cut him off by saying that I understood that now, but that I had only a split second to decide, at the time, whether he was joking or whether he was going to actually do it.

He still looked scared and was stuck on again saying that he didn’t mean what he said so I just held up my hands told him it was OK and walked off.

Looking back, I thing there are two lessons from the incident: -

  1. Some behaviour is out of order and, if you’re up to it, there’s good reason to not just ride by as if it didn’t happen.

  2. Be aware that jumping off a high wheel and bearing down on someone whilst wearing a big helmet and padded up with wrist guards etc, is open to misinterpretation. Whilst some may see this as good because people may take more notice if they are feeling threatened, my feelings are that it’s not a good impression to give because: -

a) it’s bad for the image of unicycling (although it does counter the image of unicyclists as clowns/hippy types)
b) it’s going to make the person feel bullied
c) one day you may encounter someone who’s well up for a scrap and end up getting hurt

It’s important to realise that when someone does something like this as a joke, they generally expect you to see it as a joke as well, and will not be expecting you to get off and head towards them; equally, it’s important for us to do our best to spread the word that certain types of ‘jokey’ behaviour are unwelcome and potentially quite dangerous.

one time i smoked a guy with my piece because he said i was holding my crotch.

Re: Actively confronting ignorance/hostility

muniracer wrote:
> one time i smoked a guy with my piece because he said i was holding my
> crotch.

I really don’t want to know what you did with your piece while holding
your crotch :-/


Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” - Thomas Paine

It’s always good for people to be afraid of the unicyclists. :smiley: I haven’t had any problems with people. They don’t jump in front of me and most of them usually keep quiet. A good way would probably be, to get off your uni, lift it up with your hands and start flailing it madly around. After doing that and chasing the joker around for a while, just stop and tell it was a joke too. :smiley: Or maybe not. Someone might consider you ass a threat and take out a gun or something similar. You never know what kind of idiots there are walking around.

Maybe something like riding backwards next to this funny guy would also work. Ride backwards and talk to him at the same time. Keep telling him how dangerous it would be if you fell on your face. After that graciously fall back and plant your head to the ground. After he’s called an ambulance tell it was just a joke and ride away.

Muniracer, you are my new comic idol.

My only experience with jerks so far was this one guy who lunged toward me, pretending like he was going to push me or something of that effect. I really didn’t have much of a reaction, because i always figure that with “bullies” it often helps to not even notice them, because it makes them feel not as important as they might like. Plus, i was still just learning, so i really was concentrating hard on not fallilng off and smashing into him regardless of his movements!
-Josh

Some youths pushed me into a hedge off my 26’’ once but enough about me…

Was talking to my freind who does sword fighting and how one of the people at her club was mugged whilst on the way home from the gym. Mugger was supprised when as pulling out a knife and demanding the wallet, muggie calmly pulled out a 4 foot broad sword and let out a yell as his dream came true and chased the mugger down the street.

Perhaps all unicylists should carry a sword stapped to their backs for the benifit of the joker comunity. With a little time, a healthy respect for ‘those magnificent men on their gliding machines’ would build up. Hockey sticks could be readily adapted as they already have blades…

Fool.

Please, in the name of all that is good in the world, no one ride arround with a sword in some sort of one wheeled vigilanti way.

i was uniing near a skate park, and some jerk in-line skater was calling me a clown and generally making fun of me. I walked up to him held my uni out, and told him to ride it. he said ok, took off his skates and made a jackass of himself trying to ride my uni. I took my uni back, made a comment about his mother and walked off. i felt pretty awsome after that. no one should ever make fun of a unicyclist (especially if your an in-liner).

To paraphrase:

They think they are superior.

We Know we are.

Fool

I ride to and from school most days, although it takes a good hour.

Well, on the ride home late one night, some drunk fools had all their heads sticking out the window, and started throwing stones at me. Then, I really didn’t understand this, but one of them threw a hamburger, yes a hamburger, still rapped in foil and everything. I just kept on riding, but all in all it was a wierd experience having a burger thrown at me.

The one thing I have noticed about comments that are made, is that in the winter, people just yell “rock on”, or “go dude”, while in the summer they tend to yell the all to common “Where’s the other wheel”. Something to do with looking hardcore/extreme I think.

Tynan

I always dreamnt of beatting the crap out of someone with my wheel after he pushed me off my uni…

Saddly I never got a chance to do so…Althought one day, while uniing Isaw a couple of in-liners grinding a rail and right after one of them gave me one of them weird looks and fell off the rail proceed in grinding it myself as if it was no big deal…

and once someone put his leg infront to try to make me fall and i hopped over it…(I should have hopped ON it)

Those two stunts REALLY got my confidence going…yup, they sure looked cool…

An old thread about the use of a Coker to deal with an aggressive unicycle hater; it raised some interesting issues of the pros and cons of getting physical in the face of hostility: -

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=24716&highlight=Scott+AND+Kurland

I and some of the other Hell On Wheel members were chased by people in a car, twice. Once when they were drunk., and they threw beer at us.

john

Ignore annoying/aggresive behaviour and ride away.

i keep a gun rack on my 24" just to let people know who is boss

its awesome that in the U.S. you have to worry about asking someone to be careful when they try to kick you off your uni because they might have a gun…

This is something I’ll never understand. Why throw away something like that? Eggs and water balloons make sense. They’re cheap, come in higher numbers, and still are effective in making someone else be angry while the thrower just adds one more frequent flyer mile to his one way trip to HELL.
But a hamburger? That’s just wasting money. I had someone throw an entire Big Gulp (the fountain sodas from a convenience store) at me one time. He missed, and lost out on his entire 64 ounces of carbonated caffeine.
Insults, rocks, eggs, those I can forgive. But wasting junk food? That just makes me angry.

Any reasons why?

I’m not disputing that that may be the best way to deal with such situations, i just think that the reasoning behind it may be more useful in encouraging useful debate.

My inclination is to say that, just as in all life situations, walking away is sometimes the most appropriate thing to do, but that other situations require some form of interation with the aggressor. And, in the majority of cases that response should be calm and geared towards giving the person the unicyclists perspective.

An example being in the situation where someone has pretended to try and push you off; in most cases that person has no idea that their action is dangerous, so it is most valuable for unicycling in general if you can convey to them that they have just put you in danger.

Out walking one night, training for a backpacking trip, I was hit in the face with something Taco-Bellish… something with copious refried beans in it.

Yuk.

Idiots.

Not too long ago practicingi trials on the street in my semi-secluded neighborhood, a car pulled up and the guy asked me to ride it. He seemed pretty nice so it wasn’t a big deal we as unicyclist like to ride for people then he asked if he could ride it. So i let him and then he tried (he sucked) but immediatly after falling off the first time he ran with it and attepted to shove it in his car!!! He was gonna steal me precious (new) unicycle. To say the least, i was pissed off. I’m sorry but i didn’t keep a good image for the unicycling community at that point. What i think happened (it all happened slightly fast and i didnt really make real consious decisions), well what i think happened was that he took a swing at me when i went to stop him from taking my summit and then i yanked on the seat of the uni because the uni wasnt fully in the car and i think one of me wellgo’s nailed him pretty good in the back because he went strait to the ground. Then i ran home because i think this guy would’ve massacred me if he’d had the chance. Thank you Wellgo corporation, thank you.

Come to think of it another guy chased me down and said he was gonna steal my uni while i was in oregon, on my way to unicycle with jagur. I ended up going to the wrong meeting place but i met up with him the next day (sorry)

I’m glad some jerk got what was coming to him. I feel that you took perfectly justifiable action, and if he unintentionally got clocked while you were protecting your own property, he deserved it. I’m generally a pacifist, but you have every right to defend your private property from theft, even if this includes using your uni as a weapon.