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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-03-08, 07:16 AM   #1
aussieinva
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:33 AM   #2
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Whatever you do, don't wear spandex!
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Old 08-03-08, 07:41 AM   #3
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Define rough neighborhood
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Old 08-03-08, 07:52 AM   #4
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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).
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Old 08-03-08, 07:55 AM   #5
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Whatever you do, don't wear spandex!
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Old 08-03-08, 08:41 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:11 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:12 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:41 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:52 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 10:09 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 10:21 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 10:27 AM   #13
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stop worrying and just ride. if something happens just deal with it.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:29 AM   #14
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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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Old 08-03-08, 11:40 AM   #15
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Get one of those "Driver carries no cash" signs on a t-shirt for the trip home.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:02 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:05 PM   #17
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:08 PM   #18
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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?
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Old 08-03-08, 12:37 PM   #19
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:18 PM   #20
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Carry a gun. 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 01:26 PM.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:23 PM   #21
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:30 PM   #22
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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 gun 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.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:33 PM   #23
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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.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:39 PM   #24
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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.

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 gun and give it to the enemy just becuase it was in my tailbag. I've been thinking about an even smaller conceal gun, 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.

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Old 08-03-08, 01:54 PM   #25
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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' gun.
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