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Old 08-09-14, 10:43 AM   #26
Flying Merkel
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i feel absolutely OK riding through "sketchy neighborhoods" but it really freaks me out when a white man enters a crowded movie theater.
If racial profiling was applied equally, us middle-aged white guys wouldn't be allowed around crowds
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Old 08-09-14, 10:45 AM   #27
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enoli7 - where do you live in Houston and where are you riding to? (just tell me the general area or nearest major intersection!) Houston has a lot of routing options, maybe there is a non-obvious alternate that would be less worrisome?
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Old 08-09-14, 10:48 AM   #28
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I think using lights, and going fast is your best bet. The real risk is being jacked for your bike.
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Old 08-09-14, 11:07 AM   #29
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Great idea. Another expensive thing to get stolen in an ambush. Works on TV, truly doth sucketh in real life.
Situational awareness is of course key, as it is any time you are riding. However, but the stats show that the better tools you have to defend yourself with, the less likely you are to be injured when faced with a potential violent crime.

Shipwreck, great point about varying the route. Makes for better riding then anyways!
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Old 08-13-14, 09:37 AM   #30
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I would go with martial arts training.
And if she gets jacked a month from now would she be deadly by then? Harmful even? Not likely. What a total waste of space on the Bike Forum server this thread is. I don't understand the periodic necessity of the white majority on Internet forums to troll race baited threads before the world. The answer to the o.p. is simply not to ride a bicycle through sketchy parts of town if it causes her anxiety. Period. End of thread. Last thing I expected to find in A&S. Silly me. Isn't there enough controversy and poor taste in arguing helmet/no helmet or take the lane vs FRAP? Poor black and latino residents of sketchy neighborhoods have way more on their plate than they can deal with. The very, very, very few who want to add on top of that, felony assault or robbery of a white woman are NOT going to be intimidated or otherwise deterred from their objective by ANY self defense stratagem presented in earlier posts. And all of you know it. Including the o.p. who is likely bored, racist and male. In about that order

H
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Old 08-13-14, 11:43 AM   #31
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It looks like I won't have a car for a while. Problem is, I live in a very dangerous part of town. I'm a young 20s female and kinda stand out based on my ethnicity (please don't take this as a racist remark, but I'm blonde and glow-in-the-dark white. The majority of people who live around me are black or Latino).


What are some tips to keep safe? I'm terrified of getting a flat in one of these neighborhoods. Prevention strategies?
Also, personal defense ideas? Just in case...
Re. personal defense: wear shoes you can run in if you lose the bike. That's it. Any threat is likely to be bigger than you, probably from two or more people, who may well have knives even if you haven't seen them. The person who suggest "martial arts training" is just being silly - most martial arts don't prepare you for a street fight, certainly not against multiple and possibly armed attackers. Maybe if you boxed and did MMA for a couple of years, had exceptional talent, did a lot of kettlebells training, and lucked out on the knife thing.

Re. tyres: Marathon Supremes have excellent anti-flat protection and speed, and maybe you could anti puncture gunk.
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Old 08-13-14, 11:54 AM   #32
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+1, this was my first thought as well. Learn how to use it also. It isn't a magic talisman that prevens a crime, it is a tool to protect youself in the event of a crime about to happen.
I lived opposite a crack dealership when I was a courier in SF. Our corner liquor store held the record for Most Robbed in North California that year. And your view of crime is, I am afraid, somewhat more reflective of Westerns than real life.

...In Westerns, the bad guy says "Draw, podnuh!"

..In real life, a bike mugger hits you, without warning, with a piece of pipe. Or maybe grabs you at a stop - in which case he'll stand a better chance of getting your *** than you will if you're a woman. You'd be better with a knife, I suppose - but still not exactly "good". Because you'll either be trying to wrestle while on your bike, or having already been grabbed.

The big thing to understand about real criminals is that they don't give warnings. Which makes "a tool to protect yourself in the event of a crime about to happen" not much use. Especially on a bike, where if you do get warning you have to choose between readying a weapon and riding.
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Old 08-13-14, 11:56 AM   #33
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The other route is the avenues with lots of stoplights and I'm not a fan of standing around with no one about.
If there is no one around who cares if there are a lot of stoplights. Run those puppies. I'd be more worried about the fact that bars close at 2 AM in Minnesota than anything though.
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Old 08-21-14, 11:06 AM   #34
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^^THIS is Number 1 . Does not give neerdowells time to set up an ambush.

2. If something up ahead looks suspicious, too many people milling in the street, make a U-Turn and find another street.

3. Try to NOT look like a girl. Easier for some than others but you get my drift.

4. Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Spendy but bombproof. You will likely not get a flat. Inspect your tires at home once a week for glass, staples, wire, etc embedded in the tread and remove with a dental pick or other pointy thing. Otherwise the sharp bits may eventually work their way through to the tube.

There is so much more to know but I think these four things (and some luck) will keep you out of trouble until your situation improves.

Practice using your gears. You want to be able to switch down to a lower gear which will make it easier to peddle away from trouble should you have to slow down, change direction or bunny hop a kerb. I have to cycle through a rough area of town on nights and instinctively switch one click to a lower (easier), gear if I'm close to folk that might cause trouble and I can't just buzz around them at speed. I'm also up and out my saddle and always ready for a burst of speed.

Learn escape routes, (alternative roads, paths), and where nearby safe havens are, Police and gas stations etc.

Don't engage with anyone. If you get yelled at or folk throw things at you just keep moving. Most people can't be bothered chasing after a cyclist.

Some nights there are areas that just ain't worth going through. Find an alternative route/transport.

Normally I'd advocate high vis clothing, but in a dodgy neighbourhood ninja clothes are ok. I do tend to have a strong helmet light as I've gotten out of trouble by dazzling folk who came after me.


Keep moving, look like your on a mission and did I mention keep moving?

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Old 08-21-14, 11:41 AM   #35
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Here's a funny tip I got from a pot dealer with his ghetto ride as we were both on a train one evening. He asked about my Kojaks, and if I worried about getting flats. I told him their okay for commuting, but not particularly puncture resistant and said I try to stay away from bad roads.

So he told me he bulletproofs his tires by shoving a second tire within a tire, cutting the wire from the inside slick. Ghetto, but for him it works and at no cost. He's not so worried about weight or drag of the tires, but he won't let anything stop him from getting busted or worse being ripped off and killed. He said even if the tubes pop inside, the stiffness of the tires allows him to keep riding.

He also told me his preference is single speed is best for him, nothing to wrong gear, jam or chain slip in critical times, but depends on what bike he happened to have stolen at the time!

To this day, I'm still wondering why he shared that bit of those commuting tips to me, but I have since kept an eye out to avoid the same train with leery riders...
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Old 08-21-14, 02:29 PM   #36
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Blonde,fair skin,rides a bike......You need personal protection....I've always wanted to go to Houston...

Like others have said,ride fast,don't stop if it looks iffy,change directions if it looks REAL iffy,change your route up so your not predictable.

Most people in any city are just regular folks,it's the tiny minority you see all over the news.If you believe the news,it's still the wild west here in L.A.....Get outa town by sundown pardner.....

Yall wanna buy a watch?...I knows you ain't got no watch.....If you did,you'd knows it's nighttime and nighttime ain't no time to be in this ahere part of town...Wanna buy a watch?...

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Old 08-21-14, 04:58 PM   #37
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I have been messed with riding through some sketchy, but nor horrible, parts of Chicago. I am just constantly scanning ahead of me and being aware of darker places or groups of people. But prepared to fight if needed, I'll run first, or try to, but if it came down to it I am going to make someone hate their life first before they'd get the upper hand.
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Old 08-21-14, 06:23 PM   #38
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Glock 26 loaded hot by Underwood placed in female specific holsters.
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Old 08-21-14, 06:52 PM   #39
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Just because you couldn't, doesn't mean someone else wouldn't get something from that post.

Hint: Not advertising you are a female would be desirable in some situations
Right, She should travel incognito. Seriously!!

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Great idea. Another expensive thing to get stolen in an ambush. Works on TV, truly doth sucketh in real life.
Exactly!!!
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Old 08-21-14, 06:56 PM   #40
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And if she gets jacked a month from now would she be deadly by then? Harmful even? Not likely. What a total waste of space on the Bike Forum server this thread is. I don't understand the periodic necessity of the white majority on Internet forums to troll race baited threads before the world. The answer to the o.p. is simply not to ride a bicycle through sketchy parts of town if it causes her anxiety. Period. End of thread. Last thing I expected to find in A&S. Silly me. Isn't there enough controversy and poor taste in arguing helmet/no helmet or take the lane vs FRAP? Poor black and latino residents of sketchy neighborhoods have way more on their plate than they can deal with. The very, very, very few who want to add on top of that, felony assault or robbery of a white woman are NOT going to be intimidated or otherwise deterred from their objective by ANY self defense stratagem presented in earlier posts. And all of you know it. Including the o.p. who is likely bored, racist and male. In about that order.

H
What makes you think the woman that started the thread. Was trying to start a race war.
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Old 08-21-14, 07:22 PM   #41
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Michelin Pro 4...less expensive than Schwalbes. Anyways, I do a fair bit of country riding - once I start hearing banjos (or, a sense a dog is trying to chase me while their owner laughs)...pedal faster! Haven't ridden through the bad part of my city yet, as I haven't needed to.
Best bet is to try and blend in, not carry anything of value, and maybe even make some friends. A girl I work with makes it a point to say hello to everyone if she is walking around a sketchy area. The people who might be bad apples know she sees them, and the others are at least friendly to her and might intervene if they witnessed something.
As mentioned earlier, bikes travel faster than anyone on foot and go places cars can't get to. If push really comes to shove, you can throw your bike at someone...or your helmet...or if you carry a pump you can use that as well. Also, carrying a small canister of mace is easy enough on a bike and can get you out of a jam a lot easier than a firearm will (which could be hard to do on a bike anyway, and could be taken from you).
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Old 08-21-14, 11:07 PM   #42
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If you get a flat, ride home without stopping and buy a rim.
Is that really doable? Is it really practical to ride on a totally flat tire?

I mean, if the tire were off and it were just the rim them maybe, but with a flat tire I've found the the tire makes everything all squirrelly and can even get jumbled up in something and so I doubt you'd make it 500 feet with a flat tire on a bike before it either makes you crash or the bike just won't go any more.
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Old 08-22-14, 07:48 PM   #43
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It looks like I won't have a car for a while. Problem is, I live in a very dangerous part of town. I'm a young 20s female and kinda stand out based on my ethnicity (please don't take this as a racist remark, but I'm blonde and glow-in-the-dark white. The majority of people who live around me are black or Latino).


What are some tips to keep safe? I'm terrified of getting a flat in one of these neighborhoods. Prevention strategies?
Also, personal defense ideas? Just in case...
It's kind of hard for me to identify with this for two reasons: lack of fear in general (I'm only nyctophobic, and that's largely been solved) and some weird thing where I don't lose fights (don't ask, I don't know why).

Weapons: hands first. Your body is the only weapon. Take Aikido, take Pentjak Silat, take Judo, take Jiu Jutsu, take Muay Thai, take something. Take both a grappling soft art and a striking hard art. Study in the context of self-defense, not sport fighting.

I can understand weapons. I've recently learned that most people don't see both time and space in movement: I see a moving object as its entire path, and its position related to time along a limited segment of that path in space. In other words: I can intersect the path of anything I can see moving with anything else I have sufficient physical control over. Weapons can deal more force and provide more protection than my body, and a simple, short, wooden stick can protect me from knives and pipe wrenches. This I understand.

You must understand: if you try to pull out a ***, and I'm 2 feet away from you, I'll grab your wrist when you reach for your holster, and then take your ***. This goes for mace, a knife, a baton hidden up your ass, or anything else. Don't rely on weapons in that way.

By the same token, if you can grapple with me for about 3 seconds before you inevitably lose, you can probably unholster your firearm and shoot me in the face. Probably. Maybe not.

Your body is your only protection. It will take a beating, and it can deal one out pretty hard. If you bring weapons, you will need to shield them when brought into play, or else you will lose them; your body must be ready to use weapons, or they are only dangerous to yourself. The only possible exception is a small, concealable air horn, which does no useful damage, but at least alerts the whole neighborhood and thus can't be used against you.

It also pisses people off, and they rain fury upon your head.

Also, don't look terrified. Don't be terrified. Your body does involuntary things with fear; you can't conceal it. You will be beaten, you will be bruised, you will be battered and you will be broken. These things heal; do not fear them. If someone brings them to you, force them back, and do not stop until you die; when they realize what they have started, terror will fill them. The most horrific thing for an assailant is the realization that you have no fear of them, even when they're winning. They know death is coming the moment they flinch.

People attack you because they're weak, frightened cowards. It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak.
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Old 08-22-14, 07:52 PM   #44
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And if she gets jacked a month from now would she be deadly by then? Harmful even?
Yes.

Ignorance tapers off immediately. The pouring of a foundation is a small effort, but a huge improvement.

If you don't believe me, record yourself singing. Then spend a month in two one-hour voice lessons per week. Eight lessons. Then review.
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Old 08-23-14, 10:58 PM   #45
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Best bet is to try and blend in, not carry anything of value, and maybe even make some friends. A girl I work with makes it a point to say hello to everyone if she is walking around a sketchy area. The people who might be bad apples know she sees them, and the others are at least friendly to her and might intervene if they witnessed something.
As mentioned earlier, bikes travel faster than anyone on foot and go places cars can't get to. If push really comes to shove, you can throw your bike at someone...
+1. This was my technique when living car-free in sketchy areas. I fortunately never had to throw the bike at anyone, but I did almost attack some dogs with it a couple of times.

One other resource which might be helpful is crime mapping: just Google crime map and your location. For many locations (including Houston), you can get a map with a listing of incidents. While I'm sure that there's a lot of unreported incidents, it's enough to get a sense of where the particularly sketchy pockets are so that they can be avoided.

That said, the scariest incident I've had as a car-free female involved a white guy, in a high income part of a high income city...
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Old 08-24-14, 09:16 AM   #46
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I lived and cycle commuted in a rough area at your age as well...I think it's hard to underestimate the difference gender makes. You are without a doubt a target much more so than any male here. I've gotten a lot of race/class harassment as well in rougher areas (more so now than back then). As others said...try to keep moving, if something feels wrong, it probably is. Avoid riding after hours. You can't blend in, but you can act like you belong there. Confidence tempered with caution. No one gave me much grief in those areas when I lived there, but they do now that I don't. People can smell who doesn't belong, and age makes a difference. I'd avoid wearing any jewelry or watches.

I'd consider a noticeable helmet camera.
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Old 09-03-14, 09:49 AM   #47
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I'd consider a noticeable helmet camera.
I didn't know they made GoPro's that send data to the cloud in real time. How would a 'normal' camera help you (or the o.p.) if some cracked up jacker takes it away and wipes the memory stick? You should have more respect for the residents of the sketchier parts of town. A little less braggadocio and a lot more applied common sense on the part of "glow in the dark" Americans would completely eliminate the need to go on in this speculative vein for two pages.

H
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Old 09-03-14, 10:52 AM   #48
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You've gotten about as good advice as you can get on this thread, but everyone has missed one small thing, and that's predictability. If you ride the same street at the same time every day like clockwork then your presence can be anticipated. If its really hard to change your schedule then possibly keep things mixed up by having several different routes, even if its just a street or so over. Don't have a pattern to your routes either, like a Monday Wednesday Friday route and Tuesday Thursday route.

Keep a cool head. its been mentioned to not be afraid to turn around or change direction based on the situation. Until its time to panic, don't.
Lotsa good advice here on tires and the like, but I think the suggestion to change up routes and timing is good advice. I'm a strong believer in paying attention to your gut. It's your subconscious picking up things that you might not consciously sense. Definitely listen to your "spidey-sense."

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Old 09-03-14, 10:56 AM   #49
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I didn't know they made GoPro's that send data to the cloud in real time. How would a 'normal' camera help you (or the o.p.) if some cracked up jacker takes it away and wipes the memory stick? You should have more respect for the residents of the sketchier parts of town. A little less braggadocio and a lot more applied common sense on the part of "glow in the dark" Americans would completely eliminate the need to go on in this speculative vein for two pages.

H
You're clearly just looking for a confrontation and it's not worth my time.

My contour does save/transmit video to my iphone. I would guess others have similar features, including, possibly, the cloud. Nothing is 100%, it's risk mitigation. The person now has to break your camera and storage device...it's another step and potential discouragement. Is it 100% nope.

Please don't tell me what I should or shouldn't have, or make assumptions about my respect. You don't know how I feel about any socio-economic issues and I'm not interested in discussing those things with you. I lived in those areas when i was younger. I know what it's like, both as a resident and as a visitor. I still bike through those areas. The vast majority of people are just looking to get home and feed themselves/their families. That said, our economic reality has led to a lot of disenfranchised, pissed off people with little to lose. A woman is more likely to be a target. There are ways to reduce risk...and the risk is real. If you chose to believe otherwise for you and your family...have at it.
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Old 09-03-14, 02:05 PM   #50
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You're clearly just looking for a confrontation and it's not worth my time.

My contour does save/transmit video to my iphone. I would guess others have similar features, including, possibly, the cloud. Nothing is 100%, it's risk mitigation. The person now has to break your camera and storage device...it's another step and potential discouragement. Is it 100% nope.

Please don't tell me what I should or shouldn't have, or make assumptions about my respect. You don't know how I feel about any socio-economic issues and I'm not interested in discussing those things with you. I lived in those areas when i was younger. I know what it's like, both as a resident and as a visitor. I still bike through those areas. The vast majority of people are just looking to get home and feed themselves/their families. That said, our economic reality has led to a lot of disenfranchised, pissed off people with little to lose. A woman is more likely to be a target. There are ways to reduce risk...and the risk is real. If you chose to believe otherwise for you and your family...have at it.
Bollox. Link me the statistics of women jacked off bicycles at intersections and taken off to have specific assuaults perpetrated that have something to do with them being female. I live and ride daily in perhaps the most female dense cycling environoment in the entire US. 50% of the cyclists on the road are women unlike many places where women are 2% or 3% of cyclists. Many make a point of highligithing their femaleness. Many don't. A LOT are riding through the North Portland area which is in the process of gentrification. The environs are very sketchy but the streets and intersections are more or less neutral territory. No one is going to run up to a cyclist and jack their bike. It's just not going to happen. But what I can guarantee is that if that were to happen, the cyclists gender would be secondary and it would be the perceived worth of the bike. A bike thief and a ****** are two different species of dirtbag and ******* do not pick off commuter cyclists as a rule. Oh... btw. there is a MUCH better chance of being jacked in the better parts of town! Check the crime stats. Property crime in the hood is always low and the kinds of violent crime that prevail will be the kind where both perp and victim are not the most savory kinds of individuals. The better areas have much lower rates of violent crime but have lots of jackings, muggings and other kinds of crimes of opportunity. The o.p. should be more worried about criminal elements lurking in the posh areas looking to pick off soft, well off people with stuff worth stealing. In the sketchy areas no one gives a crap. Out in the street you are invisible. I know of what I speak.

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