Author Topic: Bicycaltruism  (Read 4222 times)


  • Senior Mustachian
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« on: June 13, 2014, 06:57:09 AM »
Anyone else noticed more and more opportunity to make the world a nicer place on your bike commutes?

Last week I saw an old lady with a walker trying to drag her heavy garbage bin out from her house, so I stopped my bike and pulled it out for her.  Took two seconds out of my trip and felt like the right thing to do.

Yesterday I saw a cyclist with a flat, so I stopped and showed him how to change and patch his tire . . . then pumped it up for him since he didn't have a pump.  Took maybe 5 minutes, but he was super happy to find someone who could help.

Anyone else working on their bicycaltruism recently?


  • Stubble
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 07:45:32 AM »
Stopped to pick up litter and put it in a nearby trash can.  Would honestly just drive over it in a car.  It's the little things!


  • Stubble
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 10:32:50 AM »
This past winter: helped several people push cars out of snowbanks. Much fun and made me appreciate having a vehicle I can lift and easily carry myself.

A few weeks ago: See a smartphone sitting in the lane, pick it up, it's locked but I answer when people call and then meet the owner the next day to give it back. Had I been driving I would've just run over the phone without seeing it. Unfortunately this seemed to have already happened several times, as the screen was cracked. She gave me $10 even though I tried to refuse.

I felt this was my karmic responsibility--a few weeks before finding that phone I dropped my wallet out of my bike bag when bringing it inside, without noticing. Someone walking by knocked on my door with my wallet in hand! I was very grateful to say the least.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 11:11:45 AM »
About a month ago I heard little chirping sounds coming from a storm drain as I rode past.  I turned around and looked into the grate and saw two tiny ducklings trying to swim back up the pipe and getting washed back into the storm drain manhole.  They weren't getting washed further down the pipe but were not able to swim back to their pond area.  They looked a little exhausted and one was trying to climb the vertical concrete wall of the manhole.  I wasn't able to open the grate but there was construction nearby so I asked one of the workers if he had something that could help me open it.  He came over and opened the grate with a crow bar.  We took the two little ducklings to a pond that was in front of some condos,  300ish feet away from the drain they were caught in.  A mom duck started swimming towards us quacking like crazy.  We put the two ducklings in the pond and they swam right to her happily chirping. It looked like she had her webbed feet full, there were another 6 ducklings following her!

It made my day!!  In a car I wouldn't have seen or heard them.  The next day I was telling the story to some co-workers and one lives in the condo complex.  They had recently rearranged the outlet to their spring fed pond and it allowed the tiny ducklings to fit under the grate because the water level was lowered.  He went out that afternoon and fixed it so they couldn't get washed into the storm drain again.

Edited to add: The anti-mustachian part of this story is the co-worker that lives in the condo complex drives to the office.  His bike commute would be about 3 miles.  It gets worse, he is the active transportation engineer for the county.  His job is to design and implement bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks.  It gets even worse, I see him in the office gym riding a stationary bike!! He occasionally rides in to the office and leaves his bike in his cubicle for weeks. I thought he was riding in daily for the first month or so but I realized I get in before he does and so does his bike (because it didn't go home with him).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 11:21:41 AM by lsaurus »


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 11:24:46 AM »
Aww for ducklings...

I call it bicycle karma.  Cyclists are amazing with helping out.  Learned how wonderful it was on one of my early rides  when my spare tube didn't work.  Would have been a long walk home if someone hadn't stopped and offered their spare.  After that, I always carried spare stuff and stopped for others.


  • Stubble
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 11:52:56 AM »
Rode past some poor pizza delivery kid the other day who forgot his phone and couldn't get inside a gated apartment complex, and stopped to let him use my phone to call the deliveree.  I think he would've been there a while, no foot traffic, and the cars weren't gonna stop for him.

I love the duckling story, that's just the cutest thing.


  • Bristles
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 12:42:29 PM »
I always stop and ask folks if they want a hand with their flat tires etc., since I carry a toolkit on my bike. 

Once I got a flat about 1.5 miles from my office after a 12-mile ride to work in the rain.  A friendly guy from a nearby office park saw me carrying my bike the rest of the way and stopped to pick me up.  Now I (a) carry a tool kit and patches, and (b) make sure to help people if they look like they need it.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 03:31:19 PM »
This is great stuff. I don't have a good story to add like it but I will say its a lot easier to say hi to your neighbors from a bike than a car.... And when I see a fellow bike commuter, that solidarity wave almost always happens.


  • Guest
Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014, 07:12:49 PM »
Does wanting to shout advice to cyclists riding the wrong way on the sidewalk count?


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 07:50:46 PM »
I have recently been commuting on foot, though at some point, I may switch back to two wheels.

Whenever I spot sharp objects (ex. nails) in the street or in the bike lane, I pick them up.  I like to think that I am helping to prevent a flat for a cyclist or, gasp, a clown car driver.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 08:02:37 PM »
What a great thread!  The duck story is awesome!

I don't know if this is bicyclaltruism or not, but my son and I bike to school every day, and you would not believe how RUDE the moms in SUV's are.  Then again, you probably would. 

Anyway, we always play impromptu crossing guard for kids walking and scootering to school without parents.  Most of the latte-sipping-texting-while-driving moms are pretty much oblivious to the walking kids.... how is this possible??? I think everyone needs to experience the world on a bike to realize how bad of a driver they really are.


  • Stubble
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 09:42:05 PM »
I think the great advantage of cycling is the easy stopping / starting. I find I tend to stop for largish pieces of rubbish sloating across roadways that motorists simply swerve into the other lane for.... I also find I am stopping to help stranded motorists more often as fellow motorists avert their eyes as they go out of their lane to get past the broken-down motorist.

Found my first $4 scattered on the road this morning as I rode back form the supermarket.  I have put it in a jar and labelled it my Bike servicing fund.  I constantly pleased with all the extra details I notice whilst riding that I wouldn't see in the car.

I sold my car in January and have been riding for 6 months now.  It has been rather easy and i have no desire to go back to a car, far more fun this way.


  • Guest
Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2014, 09:58:06 PM »
wow, you're nice on your bike, the most I have done yet is maybe pick up some trash if it is particularly noticeable in the immediate neighborhood.

Various times, I have driven by people's houses at the curb on trash night on my bike or come across bagsters and found some nice wood including some nice thick plywood to use at home for projects (this stuff is really expensive by the way), even a roll of brand new carpet that I use to cover a cat stand I made once. 

Sometimes if I don't have the bike trailer with me and its large, I will hurry home hook up the bike trailer and return to get the find before someone else finds it first.  I don't know if it this is "technically" helping someone else out but it is probably a plus for the environment because it is avoiding a landfill and going to a good use.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 10:01:44 PM by George_PA »


  • Stubble
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Re: Bicycaltruism
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2014, 12:35:06 AM »
hmmm Bike trailer - I have to get me one of those.  so many lost opportunities