Ok, so I live in Downtown LA, and ride my bike all the time during the daylight hours. Lately I've been riding more often at night (of course with the appropriate safety equipment like lights and reflectors). I am never more than 5 miles away from home when it's dark out, and since I live with 4 other people, I ALWAYS let at least one of them know where I am going and when I plan to be back. I try to ride on the most well-lit streets, and carry an easily accessible cell phone at all times...
Anyway... People (like my mom, other non-biker friends) have been freaking me out lately about how it's TERRIBLE to ride at night because of not only car-related issues, but because bikers (male and female) get robbed all the time, etc. etc. I know so many riders (girls included) who don't take hardly any of the precautions that I do and who have never run into trouble. However, I am wondering if I should quit my incredible late night rides because of the supposed "grievous danger" involved.
Has anyone, especially girls in big cities, had any nasty experiences at night? If so, how did you deal? What would you suggest? Self-defense classes? Getting pepper spray? Guys, please answer too!
Oh... and if any of you are ever itching for a midnight ride Downtown, count me in.