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Old 01-17-06, 01:45 AM   #1
hester
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side streets after dark. i'm not kidding about this one.

i spent the day riding. all over town, i rode. i bought some stuff for my bike had lingh at a cafe, and then fixed a problem with the break, blah, blah, blah... 7 pm is not the best time to ride major streets in la, so i took the itty bitty roads.

suddenly and out of nowhere, appeared a dog, snarling and snapping. i haven't had this happen, ever! so i peddeled as fast as i could. when i got to the bar for a game of pool, i related the story to a friend. i told him how i didn't think that i've ever had a better day all alone.

but then i went home. a couple of beers later i again had a preference for the slow pace of the back road. i took sunset to gower or bronson and turned on to a dark residential. approaching a stop sign i became aware of two 'vatos', i'll call them, obviously afiliated to some sort of gang, pounding on the window of a car. i thought the car had stopped short and they were 'teaching them a lesson'. no. they were up to no good. a car jacking in action!

i figured it would be harder and more dangerous physically to flip a bit(h on small street lined with cars, 5 feet away from a couple of car jackers, riding a bike i'm not used to riding and have a tendency to clip the front tire with my toes when making a quick turn... soooooooooooo, i clenched my teeth and rode quickly on off to the side. well, the guy farthest from me noticed and started yelling at his pal, who was so very absorbed in beating on the car that it took him some seconds to respond. thankfully.

long story short, he made chase, i turned to see his angry face just feet behind me and like superman, literally flew down the street. lord, was he yelling at me. jack my $hit??? my what??? my centurion and a 22 of tecate? he was either just having fun scaring people in the area, or he was looking for trouble in which ever way he find.

the moral of the story: don't ride the small ones alone in a big city. stick to the lights.

and i thought i was scared about the dog! at least i know i won't piss myself when it counts.
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Old 01-17-06, 06:39 AM   #2
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Mount a smokescreen on your seatstays.

Glad you escaped the, uh, bikejacker. Crazy.
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Old 01-17-06, 07:47 AM   #3
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One of the advantages of a bicycle is how quiet and fast they are. You can sneak up on a pedestrian and be past him before he has time to react.
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Old 01-17-06, 08:33 AM   #4
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get a can of pepper spray.. keep it taped to your bike or in your pocket.......

just as a backup to pedaling out as fast as you can !
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Old 01-17-06, 08:47 AM   #5
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I usually give any lawbreakers I happen to ride by a low key hand signal and nod or a wink - show some solidarity, hester !!
But the pepper spray backup is one realistic option. tape one to your seatstays, most bikers even think its a CO2 inflator...course, it'd might get you shot in the above described situation if you couldn't ride out of trouble...
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Old 01-17-06, 10:24 AM   #6
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Wow.

I've worried about that myself. Santa Barbara isn't as bad as LA, but I do ride in the Lower West Side and have worried that riding the same route night after night could invite the "vatos" sitting on their porches drinking 40s or loitering around in the street to lay in ambush for me. For me or my bike, not sure which.
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Old 01-17-06, 10:35 AM   #7
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Man on bicycle stops carjacking.
That'd be a cool headline.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:04 AM   #8
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A couple of Mormons on bikes where shot the other week. Police think the shooting occurred because the missionaries witnessed a crime.

Read the full story here.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:43 AM   #9
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911 didn't work from my phone and i'm in the process of reporting it right now. i went home and did some meditation to decompress which didn't help much and i proceeded to have terrible nightmares of sleeping with a knife under my pillow in case they found out where i lived...

other than that, second day is peachy.

i never thought much of caring weaponry, but i most definately will now. i live quite a distance from most of my social activities and all the group rides and i usually end up alone at some point in the night. pepper spray, you made my day!

jeff-o: i guess my invisibility super power which i rely on so much was on the fritz last night.

i was never as happy to be on a bike as i was then, just for teh reasons you described, lbm. i drive down that street after work on occasion and i probably would have fared worse... i'm not a door locker. or i wasn't! being on the bike, i snuck up like a ninja and was going twice as fast as the guy ran.

diane: i highly suggest altering your route. i had the opinion that people don't mess with you unless you look like you're out for trouble or unless you mess with them first. riding by trouble makers every day is like waving a razor blade at an emo kid (sorry, i had to.) you know what's going to happen. there are worst things a man can do to a lady than steal her bike.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
I usually give any lawbreakers I happen to ride by a low key hand signal and nod or a wink - show some solidarity, hester !!
But the pepper spray backup is one realistic option. tape one to your seatstays, most bikers even think its a CO2 inflator...course, it'd might get you shot in the above described situation if you couldn't ride out of trouble...
How long would it take to untape the spray as you are sprinting madly and perhaps performing evasive steering maneuvers, and all the while flashing phony gang signs?
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Old 01-17-06, 12:52 PM   #11
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Velcro might be a good quickdraw option. I would say it's better to keep on your person though, instead of the bike. If you get knocked off your bike, you'll still have it on you.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:58 PM   #12
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I think the best bet would be to keep the guy chasing you, by adjusting your speed to stay just ahead for as long as you can. It removes his friend from the picture and when he stops, completely out of breath, that's the time to have a talk with him. Mano a mano.

Az
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Old 01-17-06, 01:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
How long would it take to untape the spray as you are sprinting madly and perhaps performing evasive steering maneuvers, and all the while flashing phony gang signs?
maybe they wouldn't have come after me if i had waved and said, 'wow! a carjacking! neat-o!' it's worth a try, really. i would have probably let it go, got home and thought, 'gee, that sucks. i hope those people got away!' if they hadn't chased me, but being personally affected, now i have a vendetta. i'll file a report, they'll look into it, cross reference it and if these guys were picked up for anything in the area around that time, not only will i press charges, but i can also act as a witness.

it kinda sucks that i inadvertantly found out i would let a crime go by unpunished if i'm not affected by it. i feel like a tool admitting it, but hey... what can you do?

they've got to make some sort of quick release pepper spray attachments, no? like something you can bolt onto your frame that has a snap on for the spray?
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Old 01-17-06, 01:11 PM   #14
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god, that mormon story is horrible. it shows you that you really can't do anything about a gun on a bike. pedaling for naught.

ha! i just realized i've been spelling pedaling wrong all this time! how embarrassing.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Az B
I think the best bet would be to keep the guy chasing you, by adjusting your speed to stay just ahead for as long as you can. It removes his friend from the picture and when he stops, completely out of breath, that's the time to have a talk with him. Mano a mano.

Az
I like the way you think. Get the bully tired, out of breath and away from his support system, then kick his butt.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hester
i figured it would be harder and more dangerous physically to flip a bit(h on small street lined with cars, 5 feet away from a couple of car jackers, riding a bike i'm not used to riding and have a tendency to clip the front tire with my toes when making a quick turn... soooooooooooo, i clenched my teeth and rode quickly on off to the side.
You should learn how to make U-Turns because there may come a time when you might not be able to out run the predators. I've never had an experience like yours and I ride in slums all the time. The reason I don't have any maybe because I'm lucky but it's also because I make U-Turns if the street doesn't look safe. There were a couple of occasions when something might have happened to me if I had continued riding down the street but nothing never came up because I made a U-Turn.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:20 PM   #17
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20 years ago, I decided that that neighborhood had gotten too dangerous to happily live in any longer.

Move.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
One of the advantages of a bicycle is how quiet and fast they are. You can sneak up on a pedestrian and be past him before he has time to react.
Yesterday on the Hudson Greenway there were some kids who looked like they were trying to get a stick into passing cyclists' spokes. Fortunately, when I saw two kids running along with a long stick looking back, my instincts said "sprint" and so I did and disappointed the kids by suddenly speeding past them without any additional sound. Awww, spoiled their fun... little bastards. Some kids on the Greenway once tried this on my wife. She wasn't as aware at the time and was lucky that their aim was bad.
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Old 01-18-06, 02:17 AM   #19
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they've got to make some sort of quick release pepper spray attachments, no? like something you can bolt onto your frame that has a snap on for the spray?


Check the web for police supplies. Galls.com carries several pepper spray holders for law enforcement. I would go with the nylon holster (easier to clean) and then zip tie it under the seat. Some have velcro straps that secure the canister and others have a snap.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o
Mount a smokescreen on your seatstays.
Screw that, I hear you can get an RPG launcher to mount on your top tube for cheap!
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Old 01-18-06, 06:38 AM   #21
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Wow... do you ever feel like you're living in a video game? Constantly dodging bad guys, miscellaneous flying objects and maze-like bike routes designed to keep you alive long enough to eat lunch??

Is human decency going out of fashion of have we always dealt with this level of danger from our fellow man?

I'm just amazed... and not in a good way
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Old 01-18-06, 11:04 AM   #22
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the police last night, thought it funny that i made a report. not injured? they said. you still have your stuff? they asked. well, we just don't know how to classify this? how's about assault and attempted robbery?

apparently you have to stick around, kindly hop off your bike and load it into the back of the robbery vehicle and then turn face and smile as they beat the living crap out of you to get a rise out of the cops. even then, not so much.

i also offered my services as a witness to any crime that might have happend in that area at that time. if they picked these guys up for anything, at least i could come on record stating that they were in the area harrassing everyone.

the cop said, 'ok. thanks. g'bye.'
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Old 01-18-06, 11:14 AM   #23
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Is human decency going out of fashion of have we always dealt with this level of danger from our fellow man?
i don't think it's ever been in fashion. there have always been rough areas of town - sometimes neighborhoods get better and sometimes they degrade - but there will always be shady stuff going on somewhere.
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Old 01-18-06, 12:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
i don't think it's ever been in fashion. there have always been rough areas of town - sometimes neighborhoods get better and sometimes they degrade - but there will always be shady stuff going on somewhere.
So true. Crime rates have gone down dramatically almost everywhere. Since I went to high school and lived in inner city Detroit (Highland Park, actually) in the 60s and 70s, things have gotten a lot better most places in the U.S.

(Edit: Of course crime is still a problem if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the OP shows us.)
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Old 01-18-06, 01:26 PM   #25
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I am pretty sure that if I were the person in the car they were first harrasing and saw them take off after you, I would have run them down like the dogs they are. The gene pool needs chlorine and I would love to help out if I were pretty certain I could get away with it.
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