Things People Have Yelled at Me on My Bike in Brooklyn

It's not easy being green.

When you take the subway in New York, you occasionally wind up having conversations with your fellow passengers about cougar attacks, their recent court appearances related to their unleashed dog, and directions for navigating the world after resurfacing. But when you’re navigating through the Burroughs on bike or foot, you don’t end up having conversations so much as people end up yelling one to two liners at you. Some of the catcalls are nice, some make you walk/pedal faster, but they’re all funny. Here are a few of my favorite things people have yelled at me while I’m on my bike.

“Nice Rack!” [Grand Street near Bushwick Ave. in Williamsburg]
I was locking up my bike at the time, but the dude in the passenger seat of an SUV started saying “Hey baby, hey baby” when I was wheeling down the street. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t complimenting my choice in metal bars planted in the sidewalk.

“Watch it, Bike-O!” [5th Avenue in Park Slope]
I responded, “You watch it, walkie!” As I’ve said before, some pedestrians respond to bikers having the green light at an intersection by making eye contact with the bikers and crossing the street right where they’re riding. This guy was standing in the bike lane waiting to cross, and I swerved around him, so he had nothing to complain about.

“Move Bitch, get the f*** out the way!”
[somewhere on Central Ave in Bushwick]
I heard no Ludacris blaring from their windows. So I decided that these dudes weren’t joking and would ram me out of the bike lane with their scrap metal car. I turned onto a side street immediately.

“You don’t like yourself very much, do you?” [Nostrand Ave in Bed-Stuy]
I occasionally have to break my rule of always riding with traffic. As I was going the wrong way down a street, a delivery driver sat in his truck watching me. Right when I passed his window, he stared directly at me and questioned my self esteem. I just kept going the opposite direction.

“Hey I’ll take a ride.” [Pacific Street at Franklin in Bed-Stuy]
After he yelled, I saw a dude stop sorting his recycling to make some kind of pelvic thrust motion like he was auditioning for Rocky Horror. I didn’t get a clear look at his face, but I’m sure I’ve never been drunk enough to consider taking him up on his offer.

“Heeeeey…you got something on your neck…you got somethin on your neck…I’m just joking…c’mon…” [Myrtle Ave. at Bushwick Ave. in Bushwick]
I’m all for strangers who have the balls/curtesey to let me know when my fly is down or I have cream cheese on my face. But there was no food on my neck. This guy was standing close enough to me to see the mole on my neck, when we were the only two people at the crosswalk. Luckily, bikes are faster than feet.

“You can do it, hipster!” [Metropolitan at Union Street in Williamsburg]
There’s one block of Metropolitan Ave. that has an slight slope and a huge collection of potholes. I don’t think I was dressed in anything particularly “hipster” other than short shorts, but I did appreciate the encouragement on an psuedo-treacherous chunk of road.

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About the author

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.