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  1. #1
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    Encounter with military impostor on yesterday's ride, plus ride videos

    I want to thank BF member spingineer and his excellent Low Key Hill Climb sufferfest video for the extra motivation on yesterday's climbs. Unfortunately, what happened after the ride put a damper on the post-ride euphoria, and creeped me out!

    I climbed Bucks Bar Road and Grizzly Flat Road in El Dorado County, CA. While looking at the map for this ride the other day, I noticed a Moody Road off of Grizzly Flat Road. I wanted to see if it compared to the Moody Road in the Bay Area (that I've never climbed) that spingineer posted a sufferfest video of back in July.

    At 4/10ths of a mile long, it's not quite as long as the one in Palo Alto, but it definitely matches it in steepness, at least until the last part of the climb where it levels off to single-digit grades instead of the 11%-15% stuff earlier in the climb.

    At the beginning of the descent I encountered yet another loose dog. This time I found that slowing down to walking speed until past the dog's territory avoided a chase situation.

    Here's the creepy part. After my ride, I stopped recording on the helmet cam, but didn't turn off the power. I stopped at the store on the corner of Bucks Bar and Pleasant Valley Roads for a snack. A heavyset older male and a teenaged boy left the store as I pulled up. They got in a dark metallic green SUV. They didn't leave right away, and I noticed the boy eyeing me as I removed the Kodak Playsport from the handlebars. They made me nervous, so I brought the bike in the store with me.

    While I was picking out a snack, I heard someone say "Excuse me ma'am, can I talk to you a minute?" It was the boy from the SUV. He asked if that was a camera I had on my helmet. When I said yes he asked if it was recording. I said no. Then he said that if it had been recording he would have to get my name, address, and phone number because he's in the military and "not supposed to be documented". I told him he was full of it and that there was no way in hell I would ever give my information to a stranger with no credentials who claimed to be military or law enforcement. I reminded him that anyone can claim to be anything and it doesn't mean sht.

    I also reminded him that there is no expectation of privacy in public, so if anyone did record him no laws were broken. He claimed that a buddy of his was killed in Afghanistan because he was recorded here in the US.

    I had to repeat the no expectation of privacy line several times during this bizarre conversation, and I noticed him getting red in the face and more agitated. He told me I needed to be careful with my helmet cam and that some people may "get enraged" if they are recorded. I told him that anyone who attacks me for having a camera on my helmet will go straight to jail, as I will contact law enforcement asap.

    He finally gave up and said "God bless" before leaving.

    On the drive back down Pleasant Valley Road I spotted an El Dorado County Sheriff's deputy sitting in his SUV in an empty parking lot, so I pulled in and told him what happened. He asked if there was anything missing off my truck. I said no. He thought they may have been trying to distract me while they stole something.

    I asked him if real military personnel would say the kind of stuff that kid did. He said no.

    Here's the Garmin data for yesterday's ride: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/120338745#

    Here's the video of the ride southbound on Bucks Bar Road and eastbound on Grizzly Flat Road.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3dJ2s6iUmc


    Here's the video for Moody Road. This one is the climb and descent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87ZFHin_NMo


    I found a couple of tools during the ride. The third tool was the wannabe whacker military impostor.


    First descent on Bucks Bar Road.


    Second descent (on the way back). By this point the traffic was starting to get on my nerves, so I lost the motivation to push hard on the final climb and just took my time at 3-4 mph.


    Moody Road

  2. #2
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    That's the type of things and people that make military people look bad. If it were true that military people couldn't be on video then explain why they are every where on You Tube. As a Soldier I can tell you that it isn't true and you did the right thing. Please don't let the people like that give you a negative outlook on military members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlp1976 View Post
    That's the type of things and people that make military people look bad. If it were true that military people couldn't be on video then explain why they are every where on You Tube. As a Soldier I can tell you that it isn't true and you did the right thing. Please don't let the people like that give you a negative outlook on military members.
    That incident actually had the opposite effect, so no worries . I have always had the utmost respect for the military. That kid is an insult to anyone who is actually in the military and has paid their dues. Same as a wannabe cop is an insult to those who have done what it takes to earn the badge.

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    I'm retired Navy and was a photographer... Never heard of that. Even for someone that tended (tends) to be a bit paranoid about being recorded, I would never ask someone to not record me. UNLESS!!!! They are sitting out in front of my house for no good reason, and I might carry something swingable and heavy with me... Definitely strange. You are right, in public there is no expectation of privacy. I doubt the imposter asked the store clerk to turn off the surveillance cameras?

    Now, on the side of the imposter, if he thinks he should have any expectation of privacy, he should stay home, wear a disguise...

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    Quote Originally Posted by zjrog View Post
    I'm retired Navy and was a photographer... Never heard of that. Even for someone that tended (tends) to be a bit paranoid about being recorded, I would never ask someone to not record me. UNLESS!!!! They are sitting out in front of my house for no good reason, and I might carry something swingable and heavy with me... Definitely strange. You are right, in public there is no expectation of privacy. I doubt the imposter asked the store clerk to turn off the surveillance cameras?

    Now, on the side of the imposter, if he thinks he should have any expectation of privacy, he should stay home, wear a disguise...
    +1. I had to repeat the "no expectation of privacy" phrase so many times I felt like a broken record!

  6. #6
    Senior Member catmandew52's Avatar
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    Sounds like they were some kind of wacked, I don't trust anyone, doomsday scenario militia family.
    Take care that no one hates you justly. ~Publilius Syrus

  7. #7
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    this kid was deranged...military or not.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Pics of the military imposter or it didn't happen.


    /had to be said.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    Pics of the military imposter or it didn't happen.


    /had to be said.
    I thought about switching the camera on during the conversation, telling him it was on, and watching the show! One of my friends told me that when he asked if the camera was recording I should have said "yes, here let me turn it off", and instead turn it on.

  10. #10
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill View Post
    I thought about switching the camera on during the conversation, telling him it was on, and watching the show! One of my friends told me that when he asked if the camera was recording I should have said "yes, here let me turn it off", and instead turn it on.
    If the kid was a loony toon, probably best that you didn't. Loony toons aren't always benign loony toons.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    If the kid was a loony toon, probably best that you didn't. Loony toons aren't always benign loony toons.
    +1. That's why I didn't act on my thoughts.

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    It is Halloween time. Trick or treat!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    It is Halloween time. Trick or treat!
    I forgot about that!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    that would freak me out. I'm exmilitary and that guy sounded like he was trippin' hard and had likely done something he didn't want to be on film for.

    http://www.favordeals.com/security-p...age-16387.html

    If you want to start carrying something not as noticeable as a helmet cam, you can always get one like this above. It clips to just about anything and is so small most people won't notice it. I know military/police people who carry them for documentation purposes.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
    American Expat living in the Netherlands
    Artist, Educator and Cyclist

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rona View Post
    that would freak me out. I'm exmilitary and that guy sounded like he was trippin' hard and had likely done something he didn't want to be on film for.

    http://www.favordeals.com/security-p...age-16387.html

    If you want to start carrying something not as noticeable as a helmet cam, you can always get one like this above. It clips to just about anything and is so small most people won't notice it. I know military/police people who carry them for documentation purposes.
    Good point. A poster on another forum said that one or both of those two could have active warrants for their arrest. Another reason why I wish I could've gotten their license plate to give to the sheriff's deputy I talked to. They beat a hasty retreat once it became clear that I wasn't falling for the kid's BS.

    That's a nice tiny camera, but way too limited in features for my needs. Built-in batteries are a deal-killer on any device I buy, especially cameras. I typically use at least 2 batteries per ride (I carry 2 extra in addition to the one that's in the camera). It also won't take memory cards bigger than 8 GB, and I don't know if it has decent quality video and audio. The Contour has excellent video quality and clean audio.

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    Personally, I don't understand where those kinda stories ever got started. If someone's so bad ass that you can't take their picture or know their name, they're not going to come up to you and tell you.

    If it seems like a bunch of crap, it probably is.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    Personally, I don't understand where those kinda stories ever got started. If someone's so bad ass that you can't take their picture or know their name, they're not going to come up to you and tell you.

    If it seems like a bunch of crap, it probably is.
    That's what I figured. My BS meter was pegged the minute the kid gave me that "I can't be documented" line.

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    What you should have said:

    "Dude, I'm Taliban, and even without a picture, you're now compromised."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill View Post
    A poster on another forum said that one or both of those two could have active warrants for their arrest.
    That was the first thing that came to mind before I finished reading the tale. I used to do a lot of urban street photography. One day I was shooting on the subway and someone asked me if I had taken his photo. I hadn't and told him so. My first thoughts were that he was wanted on a warrant (as so many in Philly are) or involved in illegal dealings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    What you should have said:

    "Dude, I'm Taliban, and even without a picture, you're now compromised."

    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    That was the first thing that came to mind before I finished reading the tale. I used to do a lot of urban street photography. One day I was shooting on the subway and someone asked me if I had taken his photo. I hadn't and told him so. My first thoughts were that he was wanted on a warrant (as so many in Philly are) or involved in illegal dealings.
    Years ago I remember stumbling across a forum that dealt with photographer's rights. I don't remember the title or URL, otherwise I would join and post this over there too.

    I tend to think that the people who are most paranoid about being recorded are the ones with the most skeletons in their closet.

  21. #21
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    I'm very wary around folks who fear cameras, especially if I ride in rural places. If I do use one, I tried to use a tiny one if I am recording and not one that is conspicuously attached to me on say, my helmet. Rather, something small and clipped to the bike that might look like a headlight or something so small as to go unnoticed. The reason being is that enough folks in rural areas of California, where I live, either run meth labs (south of Santa Cruz) or pot farms (North in Sonoma or Mendocino). We hear stories of Mayors or Census workers shot or hung and the news stories initially talk about these folks being political victims of some assassination of some sort, but we never hear much about the followup investigation. Through recent training for adult leaders for Boy Scouts, I found out from one of the instructors a couple of these folks had ties to Scouting and were likely murdered when they were alone out there and stumbled onto illegal farms or drug labs. So we're told to be very careful and use well documented trails, and leave travel plans, use buddy system, and follow a strict schedule when taking boys out or scoping out new hikes. We also were told to lookout for unusual infrastructure. For example, multiple 55 gallon drums still full, upright on the side of trail, or a functional water pumping system in the middle of nowhere should be signs of extreme danger close by. Recommendation is to make a hasty but quiet exit.

    At least you rode off and they didn't come back after you, which might be a good thing. But there are folks that fear exposure in public and that's usually because either the bad guys want them or the good guys want them. Neither situation is good news for a cyclist out there.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    I'm very wary around folks who fear cameras, especially if I ride in rural places. If I do use one, I tried to use a tiny one if I am recording and not one that is conspicuously attached to me on say, my helmet. Rather, something small and clipped to the bike that might look like a headlight or something so small as to go unnoticed. The reason being is that enough folks in rural areas of California, where I live, either run meth labs (south of Santa Cruz) or pot farms (North in Sonoma or Mendocino). We hear stories of Mayors or Census workers shot or hung and the news stories initially talk about these folks being political victims of some assassination of some sort, but we never hear much about the followup investigation. Through recent training for adult leaders for Boy Scouts, I found out from one of the instructors a couple of these folks had ties to Scouting and were likely murdered when they were alone out there and stumbled onto illegal farms or drug labs. So we're told to be very careful and use well documented trails, and leave travel plans, use buddy system, and follow a strict schedule when taking boys out or scoping out new hikes. We also were told to lookout for unusual infrastructure. For example, multiple 55 gallon drums still full, upright on the side of trail, or a functional water pumping system in the middle of nowhere should be signs of extreme danger close by. Recommendation is to make a hasty but quiet exit.

    At least you rode off and they didn't come back after you, which might be a good thing. But there are folks that fear exposure in public and that's usually because either the bad guys want them or the good guys want them. Neither situation is good news for a cyclist out there.
    Wow! Thanks for the heads up! I didn't know about that stuff. I tend to follow my instincts, and they were spot on yesterday.

    Right now I ride mostly road, but if and when I get a properly-fitting mtb, I'm sticking to the established popular mtb trails around here. In my mtb days I followed that rule, which kept me out of trouble and kept me from getting lost.

    I do wish there were stealth cameras that had the quality and features of the Contour. I don't like having an obvious camera either, although the presence of a camera might keep malicious motorists at bay, since they would see it and know that I could take footage of their misdeeds to law enforcement.

  23. #23
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Sounds like they were more interested in your info to possibly case and rob your house. I have many friends and family in the military - past and present. It seems like some people are using this as an in for bad reasons. I had a woman approach me the other day where I have some items stored and asked if I could help her move her stuff and it would only take a couple of hours. I politely declined and then she drops the " I was in the military and injured in the war". I asked which war, she says the current Iraqi conflict and says she was an SR71 pilot. Well fortunately I know that the SR71's were retired from service in the late 90's. I give her this info and she make a beeline for her car and drives off.

  24. #24
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill View Post
    Wow! Thanks for the heads up! I didn't know about that stuff. I tend to follow my instincts, and they were spot on yesterday.
    I have been up the hills in Santa Cruz/Felton areas. And towards Loch Lomond reservoir. The road is pretty steep and loaded with lots of trailer homes, some with empty 55 gallon drums. Sometimes, you'd have this really bad stench in the woods. I was always wondering where that came from. It certainly wasn't a skunk. But about as bad. And after getting this training, it's like adding 2+2 and my eyes were much more opened. I always wonder why the sheriff simply doesn't stake out the places with known labs, and part of the problem, at least with Santa Cruz hills, is that there are enough other folks living adjacent to these labs that they don't want to do a full on enforcement, since the exit strategy is a small self-destruct that could light up some of the neighbours on the same road on either side with the stuff they have in those drums. The stories we get from some rangers who work the Stanislaus are equally scary. It's the bad guys that have all the high tech gadgets running 3G and 4G cameras with sensors. If the sensors are tripped, they signal the local watchdog who gets a position fix and then waits to sniper the intruders. And with satellite uplinks and solar panels mounted near tree tops, they have universal coverage on any field. And it's worth the $millions each crop will bring in.

    Quote Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill View Post
    I do wish there were stealth cameras that had the quality and features of the Contour. I don't like having an obvious camera either, although the presence of a camera might keep malicious motorists at bay, since they would see it and know that I could take footage of their misdeeds to law enforcement.
    Yeah, I see your point. But the problem is if the drivers are malicious. What's going through their minds is how does the video get to the cops if you're dead and we get the camera? As for the contour, it's got a nice size and good performance, but I figure I'll wait a year, and it should be free with a happy meal, right?
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

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    do you have a picture of your helmet cam?

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