A customer called Team Estrogen
this afternoon with a dilemma. She'd put on a pair of cycling shoes for the first time and now she was stuck in them. She could not figure out how to get the buckle to release. She was stressing out because she needed to leave for the airport soon and she was about ready to take a knife to them and cut through the straps. Instead, she called us (which is pretty cool, because she didn't buy the shoes from us, but thought of us when she needed help). After listening to her describe it, I recommended she email me a photo. She did, and I had her out of them in about 10 seconds. :-)
Not only was I happy that I could help someone, it was also a good reminder that so much about our sport is NOT intuitive. We need to nurture and support our beginner and novice riders. Experienced riders sometimes forget that learning to shift is complicated, and clipless pedals can be scary, and shorts with chamois feel weird, and changing a flat tire
seems daunting, and on and on. All the little things that seem natural to us now are in fact things that can take ages to learn and be comfortable with.
Helping another rider gain confidence and skills is so rewarding. If you are out for a ride and see someone pulled off to the side of the road, stop and ask her if she has everything she needs. You just might save someone's ride!
And if you see someone looking lost or confused at the start of an event, offer some assistance. Your friendliness might be just what it takes to get her ride off to a great start.