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  1. #1
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    commuting in a rough neighbourhood

    I am seriously thinking of commuting to and from work. It is about 10 miles each way, which doesn't bother me but the last mile or so is through some rough neighbourhoods. In the morning I don't see this being a problem but there are some concerns for the trip home. I can go around the majority of it by taking a different route but some of my family is concerned that someone might try and rob/mug me at a stop light. I have seen others commute through this area and they seem to be fine so I was wondering if this had ever been a problem for anyone or if I should be ok as long as I keep an eye on my surroundings.

  2. #2
    uke
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    Whatever you do, don't wear spandex!

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  3. #3
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Define rough neighborhood
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  4. #4
    Gutter Bunny Jonahhobbes's Avatar
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    Check out this thread.

    Mugged whilst commuting home

    Some good advice there, I also ride through dodgy neighbourhoods; I have a very strong headlight mounted on my helmet, people have assured me they cannot look directly into it.

    Also I "ride light", (loose, move down a gear or 2, ready to sprint away), and I am prepared to out manoeuvre dodgy looking people. I check people out, move away from curbs if someone looks like they may cause trouble out into the middle of the lane. I also approach lights slowly and try and time it so I don't actually stop, (without running reds of course).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Whatever you do, don't wear spandex!

  6. #6
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Whatever you do, don't wear spandex!
    And why would you say that? Are people just waiting to rob people based on what they wear?

    I ride with regular road bike clothing (spandex) through a marginal neighborhood. I'm not sure if what I wear has anything to do with making me more of a target. Educate me.

  7. #7
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Just keep your eyes open and your finger on the button of some pepper spray when you are
    at that one light.

    If you have to use it you better start taking another route afterwards.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  8. #8
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk4df View Post
    And why would you say that? Are people just waiting to rob people based on what they wear?

    Educate me.
    Yes, REALLY !!
    It doesnt warrant getting into stuff that might offend people or derail the thread
    but 'urban camoflage' is a very important safety feature for commuting through
    bad areas. All the stuff I said Id never do or become went out the window when
    my commute went through Riviera Beach in FL., one of the highest concentrations
    of violent gangs in the country. Over time I have found that looking homeless has
    helped. If you've ever been chased, have people block you with a car to sell drugs,
    or get the 'Thats my bike' by a gang of angry teens twice a week you'd understand
    better. Now, I dress down, ride a beater and have more weapons than DiNero in
    Taxi Driver and Im OK. If you look like you have -anything- worth 5.00 they will
    try to take it.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  9. #9
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    It is highly rare and random someone will mess with a cyclist on the street. We are the lowest on the transportation totem pole. I would be more concerned about a remote rails to trails path through an industrial wasteland. When I lived in Mpls there were cyclists getting jumped "just for kicks." But even there, I don't think there is much to be concerned about.

    It is far more dangerous biking in the "safe" suburbs with traffic flying by at 60 when it is posted for 40--- angry soccer moms on the phone, etc. My worst altercations were always in the suburbs--- even as a pedestrian.

  10. #10
    Custom User Title anthegreat1's Avatar
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    i ride through some somewhat sketchy areas but noone really bothers me. In poor areas there are alot of people on bikes but not many cyclist. I don't wear spandex for other reasons but it also helps not attract attention to yourself. Don't act timid, say hello to people, don't be affraid to look people in the eye, and be fast. While a weapon could be useful if your in a neighborhood and being attacked you will be out numbered quickly. And yes if your bike looks obviosly expensive get a beater.
    yes . . . .my legs are sore

    BikeNinja

  11. #11
    uke
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Yes, REALLY !!
    It doesnt warrant getting into stuff that might offend people or derail the thread
    but 'urban camoflage' is a very important safety feature for commuting through
    bad areas. All the stuff I said Id never do or become went out the window when
    my commute went through Riviera Beach in FL., one of the highest concentrations
    of violent gangs in the country. Over time I have found that looking homeless has
    helped. If you've ever been chased, have people block you with a car to sell drugs,
    or get the 'Thats my bike' by a gang of angry teens twice a week you'd understand
    better. Now, I dress down, ride a beater and have more weapons than DiNero in
    Taxi Driver and Im OK. If you look like you have -anything- worth 5.00 they will
    try to take it.
    Thank you. This is the kind of stuff people should be aware of. If you want to blaze through rough streets dressed like Superman/Bozo the clown, be prepared to deal with the consequences. Otherwise, try to blend in whenever possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthegreat1 View Post
    i ride through some somewhat sketchy areas but noone really bothers me. In poor areas there are alot of people on bikes but not many cyclist. I don't wear spandex for other reasons but it also helps not attract attention to yourself. Don't act timid, say hello to people, don't be affraid to look people in the eye, and be fast. While a weapon could be useful if your in a neighborhood and being attacked you will be out numbered quickly. And yes if your bike looks obviosly expensive get a beater.
    Exactly. Assert yourself without drawing attention to yourself. If you have a four grand bike, you can afford a forty dollar one. If you have a jersey, you can afford a t-shirt. The point is to get from zone A to zone B without getting stopped. The fewer heads you turn, the better.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Be wary. Keep your head up. Make eye contact with people. Be prepared to sprint away. In traffic keep escape routes open. And if somebody does attack you, fight back with maximum force, then get away.
    Not too much to say here

  13. #13
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    stop worrying and just ride. if something happens just deal with it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    Define rough neighborhood
    I have the same question: what makes a rough neighborhood?

    I ride past a housing project, but it's one of the roads with lots of traffic. I've not seen anyone that appears to be a threat, but have only been commuting a few weeks.

    If I don't see gangs of teenagers and obvious drug deals, but mostly older folks standing by the bus stop or walking to the store, it is still worth avoiding? I can add about 5 miles and a few hills and avoid this area, but have not seen anything (yet) to make me take another route.

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    Get one of those "Driver carries no cash" signs on a t-shirt for the trip home.

  16. #16
    I am Joe's lactic acid. Big M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Yes, REALLY !!
    It doesnt warrant getting into stuff that might offend people or derail the thread
    but 'urban camoflage' is a very important safety feature for commuting through
    bad areas. All the stuff I said Id never do or become went out the window when
    my commute went through Riviera Beach in FL., one of the highest concentrations
    of violent gangs in the country. Over time I have found that looking homeless has
    helped. If you've ever been chased, have people block you with a car to sell drugs,
    or get the 'Thats my bike' by a gang of angry teens twice a week you'd understand
    better. Now, I dress down, ride a beater and have more weapons than DiNero in
    Taxi Driver and Im OK. If you look like you have -anything- worth 5.00 they will
    try to take it.
    I grew up in a bad neighborhood, and I completely agree with this advice. If you wear spandex and bright jerseys and have a really nice bike, you will be a marked target by anyone standing around with nothing better to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthegreat1 View Post
    In poor areas there are alot of people on bikes but not many cyclist.
    Exactly. It helps to look more like "some dude on a bike" and not a "cyclist." That's why I normally ride through these areas in cargo shorts, basketball shorts, or jeans with the leg rolled up. And an ordinary shirt. If the neighborhood is bad enough to worry about, just blend in and you're fine.

  17. #17
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Yes, REALLY !!
    It doesnt warrant getting into stuff that might offend people or derail the thread
    but 'urban camoflage' is a very important safety feature for commuting through
    bad areas. All the stuff I said Id never do or become went out the window when
    my commute went through Riviera Beach in FL., one of the highest concentrations
    of violent gangs in the country. Over time I have found that looking homeless has
    helped. If you've ever been chased, have people block you with a car to sell drugs,
    or get the 'Thats my bike' by a gang of angry teens twice a week you'd understand
    better. Now, I dress down, ride a beater and have more weapons than DiNero in
    Taxi Driver and Im OK. If you look like you have -anything- worth 5.00 they will
    try to take it.
    Lem is right.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  18. #18
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benda18 View Post
    stop worrying and just ride. if something happens just deal with it.

    In Lebanon, Ohio, maybe. Try rolling through the west side of Dayton. (seriously, DON'T...)

    "Jonahhobbes' laid out good advice, about the bright light, and saving momentum. If someone yells, 'Hey; come here!', etc., be ready to sprint like you're going for the wire to win a stage. Better yet, roll an extra mile or two and avoid the whole scene. You can beat most trouble by being on guard, but it takes some of the fun out of the ride. Same deal as riding in heavy traffic. I *can* do it, but why would I want to unless I needed to?

  19. #19
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    Be wary. Keep your head up. Make eye contact with people. Be prepared to sprint away. In traffic keep escape routes open. And if somebody does attack you, fight back with maximum force, then get away.
    Buzzzzzzzz! Wrong. Avoiding eye contact is rule number one in rough neighborhoods.

  20. #20
    Getaway Rider
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    Carry a ***. Get a permit, get some good training, and stop being a potential victim.

    My Glock 36 .45 fits perfectly in my tail bag, and is readily available if the situation warrants some lethal leverage.

    There are many, many tactics to increase your safety and avoid confrontation, and I recommend you listen to everyone else about those, as my opinions are a bit polarized.



    *prepares for naysayers*
    Last edited by VolksDragon; 08-03-08 at 02:26 PM.

  21. #21
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    kel-tek .32

    Really tho.....I stopped giving hand signals too, because
    the rolling gangsters took this for a 'Lets Deal' signal
    more than once before I figured out I was inviting some of this
    stuff.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  22. #22
    Getaway Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    kel-tek .32
    Nice work...that's not a bad choice at all.

    My commute is safe, quiet and fast for the most part, but I've been in the ***** a few times when I least expected it.

    Oh, and here's another tip: If you are going to carry a *** on your person while riding, make sure you practice drawing and firing while wearing your bicycling gear. Carry it in your pack or tail bag? Practice drawing from there, etc...muscle memory and training make a world of difference when your adrenaline is through the roof and your life is in danger.

  23. #23
    Mr. Frowny Man Alathea's Avatar
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    Possibly a belly band rather than a tail bag if you get separated from your bike, and some stress shooting time at the range-all the permits in the world don't do a lot of good if you can't shoot straight under stress and adrenaline.

    MMMmmmmMMM..... .45. Stay down......Stay down NOW.
    The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound.
    Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book,
    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
    --Assyrian Stone Tablet, c.2800 BCE

  24. #24
    Getaway Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alathea View Post
    Possibly a belly band rather than a tail bag if you get separated from your bike, and some stress shooting time at the range-all the permits in the world don't do a lot of good if you can't shoot straight under stress and adrenaline.

    Exactly. Go run a mile, do 50 pushups, and THEN hit your target at 10 yards. We practice stress shooting techniques at work consistently, and it makes a huge difference.

    Belly band is a good idea, I would hate to get separated from my *** and give it to the enemy just becuase it was in my tailbag. I've been thinking about an even smaller conceal ***, as even the baby Glock is a bit big for hiding on the body while riding. I am a HUGE fan of the .45 round....as far as pistols go, it officially puts dicks in the dirt.


  25. #25
    Mr. Frowny Man Alathea's Avatar
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    Ive had the opportunity to try some of the newer smaller framed .45 acps. These are not your Daddy's 1911 for sure. Pretty light, full of bigger brother features (rails for sights/lights) etc.

    I also read a series of books by Laurel K. Hamilton, and while she herself is not into weapons, her protagonist (an investigator of sorts, at 5' 3" ish) is. Ms. Hamilton does a lot of sound research and has a lot of friends in the St. Louis PD that assist her finding weapons for her character(s) smaller statures. You still won't find a .22 or .38 in the bunch unless it's ankled and classified as the 'oh sh*t' ***.
    The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound.
    Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book,
    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
    --Assyrian Stone Tablet, c.2800 BCE

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