what's the difference?

So for the last week I have been hiking some of the AT in new england. A number of places I went through small towns. I would often stop for supplies and what not. Here is the thing. Everybody instantly smiled when they saw me. Strangers and I would wave to each other like old friends, and I would engage in nice conversations with people who were instantly friendly toward me. Never once did anyone honk, swear, yell, make a stupid comment. How is this different in people’s minds than unicycling? Long distance hiking is as much of a threat to a frat boy as unicycling when his girl looks at me I’d suppose. I don’t know if hiking is something people can relate to more? Maybe newenglanders are nicer folks. any guesses why an enormous backpack generates such a different response than a unicycle? I certainly smelled worse as a backpacker.
-gauss

Stupid and unimaginative people rely heavily on conventions because they are stupid people who lack imagination.

Unconventional things such as unicycling are threatening because they show that conventions are not universal or reliable.

People fear what threatens them, and try to deal with that fear by disparaging the object of fear, or attacking it.

Hiking is not unconventional. It is a minority activity, but a conventional one, easily understood, and almost everyone has hiked at least once, even if they haven’t covered a huge distance. Unicycling is very unconventional.

I get the nicest comment when riding my unicycle. People often stop me to have a chat about unicycling and so on. I went out riding in a reserve/park/hiking sort of place yesterday and everyone was friendly. I’ve noticed that the sort of people who get out and go to picnics and go on bush walks and so on are just generally nice and friendly people.

Andrew

Re: what’s the difference?

gauss wrote:
> So for the last week I have been hiking some of the AT in new England.
> A number of places I went through small towns. I would often stop for
> supplies and what not. Here is the thing. Everybody instantly smiled
> when they saw me. Strangers and I would wave to each other like old
> friends, and I would engage in nice conversations with people who were
> instantly friendly toward me. Never once did anyone honk, swear,
> yell, make a stupid comment. How is this different in people’s minds
> than unicycling? Long distance hiking is as much of a threat to a
> frat boy as unicycling when his girl looks at me I’d suppose. I
> don’t know if hiking is something people can relate to more? Maybe
> New English are nicer folks. any guesses why an enormous backpack
> generates such a different response than a unicycle? I certainly
> smelled worse as a backpacker.
> -gauss

The odds of your having a gun go way up. :wink:


Knowledge is power.
Power corrupts.
Study hard. Be evil.

I only get stupid/obnoxious comments from people in cars or trucks. I’ve never gotten any bad words from anyone on a trail, ever. Outdoorsy folks flood me with smiles, nods, thumbs up, hand slaps, “you-da-man” , etc.

To be fair to the car people: 19 out of 20 say/do nice things (wave, thumbs up, smiles, friendly beep beeps). But that 1/20 idiot sure gets under my skin.

I also get “the nicest comments” when people stop and talk to me. Its the chickens in vehicles who do/say something crappy and then beat a hasty escape.

I have to agree with Memphis Mud. People on trails are generally way nicer than people on the street. On the street you get the full range of humanity, while on a trail, the more remote the better, you only get people who chose to be on that trail. Since they are also trail people, they already have something in common with you, even if they’re on a horse.

Beyond that, it’s the unicycle. Unicycles are unusual. Some people feel threatened (you can do something they can’t), and others just feel they need to blurt something. Unicycling is an extrovert activity. It’s an inherently “funny” mode of transportation. That’s why people see circuses and cartoons in their heads when they see unicycles. Since you’re being such an extrovert (whether you actually are or not), people want to join in the fun by shouting out something.

Even most of the people who make stupid comments, like ‘Where’s your other wheel,’ are just trying to get in on the fun. It’s their way of letting you know they noticed you (whether or not you cared), and saying something other than “Wow.”

The other day, I was riding home from work and got more comments from people than I’ve gotten on a single (street) ride in years. A guy walking said “All right! Yeah!” with great enthusiasm. Someone in a car went slow next to me and said something like “Nice unicycle.” Don’t remember the exact words, but it started with “nice.” Several cars honked. A guy on the bike path was just coming on, with a long customized bike with a big bin on the back. He said “Yours is even weirder than mine!” to which I replied “You’ve got a truck!” And many others. It was strange. It was really hot out, but lots of people were noticing for some reason. I was on my Coker with handlebars, brake, waterbottle, and a backpack strapped to the back. A “mini-unibago.”

Somewhat apropos, my daughter, Emma, who can’t even ride yet, has now experienced this phenomenon. Walking through Penn Station to get our train home, each of us pushing our unis, one guy said, “well, together you make a bike.” Then later on a couple of teenage boys passed, one humming the “Entrance of the Gladiators” music; Emma asked me why he was singing “that circus song?” (Actually I think she knew, but was keen on being part of the scene that I talk about all the time. Ah well, they inherit the bad with the good, I suppose.)

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

When hiking the AT, you are traversing a corridor that has experienced tens of thousands of through-hikers, most of which are really nice people, and all of which are trying something that is very hard - hiking 2100 miles through mountainous country. Chances are good that you inherited the fruit of the passing of those hikers. The people in the local towns don’t see you as abnormal, but normal.

As a point of comparison, suppose that 3000 Coker riders passed through those towns every year, being nice people, spending money, doing the trip of a lifetime, etc., etc…

Re: what’s the difference?

johnfoss <johnfoss.q7qjr@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> The other day, I was riding home from work and got more comments from
> people than I’ve gotten on a single (street) ride in years. A guy

Round here, time of day seems to make a big difference.

When I commute to/from work during rush hour, there are the most people
around, but I get fewest comments. People walking to work on their own,
lost in their own thoughts I guess.

During the middle of the day I get the nicest comments. Lots of
parents out with their kids. Little kids are most in awe of unicycling,
and parents like to join in on the awe.

During the evening I also get a lot of comments, but more mixed than
during the day. People out on the town enjoying themselves in groups
are always the ones. Sometimes nice, sometimes not. The best is when
you find a really really drunk person and they aren’t sure whether to
believe their eyes or not. :wink:

As an aside, I’ve had a really severe haircut recently. I had
dreadlocks down to the middle of my back, now, well, now I don’t is
the short version of that story. Anyway, now people keep recommending
that I hook up with the old long haired me.

“Hey man! Have you met that other
guy that unicycles round here? Yeah yeah, he’s got really long hair and
I think his unicycle is, like, identical to yours.”

Re: Re: what’s the difference?

It is your credo which fascineted me. It is, frequently b…y true. Interesting World ha!!! but lovely… eg. unicycling.


Knowledge is power.
Power corrupts.
Study hard. Be evil.

[/B]
[/QUOTE]
:smiley:

I’ve realized that there’s some people who are mean to me because they think I unicycle only for attention, not for the love of it. So if someone sees me unicycling, they might think, “Oh, that sport is pretty stupid, but he’s probably just doing that to impress people. What an idiot, I’m gonna go make fun of him.”

I guess the main point is that when people see others and think they’re doing something stupid to be impressive or noticed, they want to turn the person down because they think the person isn’t doing it because they want to.

I think this is a very perceptive observation. Personally I prefer to push around my unicycle when I’m not working on a skill since I get fewer annoying comments.

There are people who really enjoy getting attention, but I don’t think that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. The elitist snob in me might get annoyed that they’re not showing off a more difficult skill than just plain vanilla riding, though.

I think a lot of us don’t push our unicycles when going to places because we’re using them to do the going to places, rather than just going places in between practicing skills. A unicycle is one of the handiest methods of transport in a city and I’m certainly not going to waste it.

Joe

to quote a fellow-poster on this forum (who said this originally?),
'do they say ‘DUH!’ where u live?
sounds like u only needed a string of lights to be a one person parade;)

one a more scientific note, is there a marked difference in quality and quantity of comments when the rider wears a broad smile?

Jax, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. This is the reason why ALL of the negative comments I hear are during my road rides. Those folks think I’m showing off. NO nasty comments come from the MUni rides. When I suddenly appear out of some hole in the woods, they inherently realize that I was back in there just having a big time for my own sake. No audience typically. This realization must be so deep in one’s conciousness that they don’t even know its affecting their comments. Most of my appearances are so sudden to them, it leaves no time for cognitive thought…just the first thing that pops into their heads. And, as I’ve already said, trail comments are ALWAYS nice ones.