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Old 01-10-10, 02:47 AM   #1
jtwilson
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Worst Commute EVER

I've been enjoying my commutes so far this winter. That ended on Friday night.

I live in a very diverse neighborhood, with everything from stately victorian houses and mansions to housing projects within a 3 block radius. This means, essentially, that I travel through what many consider to be 'the hood' on a daily basis.

Friday I worked a double shift of 14 hours and began my ride home as usual. We have been getting some foul weather around here lately with our first signifcant snowfalls, and I have been very pleased with my first season on studded tires. I got two friendly honks early on during my ride home starting at 10pm.

Around 10:40 I was approximately 4 blocks from home, approaching a convenience store that caters in large part to the housing projects a few blocks north of where I live. As I got nearer, I saw that there was a large crowd of people hanging out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Getting nearer still, about five of the group of 12+ begin walking non-chalantly across the street generally towards a pizza shop on the other side. Aside from the large crowd, this is a regular sight, and I continue per usual. Two of the five slow down and stop in the middle of the street as if to let me pass in front of them rather than behind. I am left with the most sensible choice to continue on my path and go between this group.

I make eye contact with one of the people in the middle of the street, to my left, as I pass between the group. Just at this moment, one of the others to my right turns around and throws a haymaker into my ski-type goggles on the right side of my face.

This was no minor blow, and I go down right away, bike sliding away from me. I immediately get to my feet and begin to put distance between me and the group, which now separates me and the bike, as I say twice "I don't want any trouble!"

They begin to swarm me and soon I am receiving multiple blows to the face at the same spot on my goggles/cheekbone, as well as to the back of the head. I stumble and slide in the slush on the street trying to make sense of what is going on. They aren't just trying to steal my bike, they are beating me to a pulp as their audience hoots and hollers in entertainment. I scramble and notice that blood has began to splash up on the inside of my goggles.

I manage to stay on my feet and get to the sidewalk where I glance back and see the group coming towards me still, and one of the on-lookers already mounting my bike and trying to pedal down the street. I decide my bike [~$2000] is beyond a lost cause at this point and begin to run as fast as possible down the side street.

Four blocks later I am inside my front door, face covered in blood, with a large gash under my eye. This is not the way I wanted to finish an extra long day at work!!
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Old 01-10-10, 03:14 AM   #2
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What a bunch of ******** hopefully the cops will catch somebody and you can get your ride back.

Get that gash looked at and i'm glad you made it out of there.

Sorry
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Old 01-10-10, 04:44 AM   #3
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I effing hate that crap. No respect for their fellow man. You did everything right except for one thing you did out of order. This is what you should have done first...

begin to put distance between me and the group

I have a conceal carry permit and one of the things I was taught in my training was how to avoid having to ever pull my gun. Avoidance. If I go to a drug store and there's three unsavory types standing around outside I simply go to another drug store or come back. I don't believe in vigilantism I don't believe everyone should own a gun but have you given thought to getting your CCW permit?
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Old 01-10-10, 05:06 AM   #4
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That really sucks. Glad you got away from them though.

And I have to agree with Nigal. Maybe this is something that you learn by growing up female, but as soon as I read the part about several people casually walking into the street as you approached, it set off alarms in my head. I'd probably have turned around right then, even if I did feel sort of paranoid doing it. I've always avoided walking or riding between people if I possibly could, especially if they'd be within arm's reach of me.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:18 AM   #5
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Wow, that's horrible. I hope they're caught and sent to prison for a long time. Glad it wasn't worse than it was.
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Old 01-10-10, 06:09 AM   #6
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Cheesus that really sucks. That kind of stuff doesn't happen where I live I'm happy to say. Here's hoping you can get some kind of justice.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:38 AM   #7
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My gosh, that's horrific! Such violence out of nowhere...I don't even know you but am so glad you're alive. How awful. I hope just will be served. My God, that's terrible. Considering it's so close to where you live, maybe it'll be easy to have police find these people. There were so many participating, though...
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Old 01-10-10, 08:42 AM   #8
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That sucks man. I have so many things I would have tried, but you did the right thing. Me and one or two of the group would probably be in a morgue if I had my way.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:44 AM   #9
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Columbus, OH , Wow No Place is Safe.
Heal Fast..
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Old 01-10-10, 08:49 AM   #10
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I'm sure you called the police. Please keep us updated if they catch this human garbage.

They know where they hang out. Might get dicey with you having to identify them
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Old 01-10-10, 08:54 AM   #11
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Oh man, that is horrible. I hope you reported that to the cops right away.

Adam
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Old 01-10-10, 09:33 AM   #12
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Those stupid pieces of s***.
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Old 01-10-10, 09:35 AM   #13
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Thanks for the well wishes you guys. I really am not bad off at all considering what could have happened had I got stuck on the ground.

Re: avoidance - This advice is spot on and there is no doubt in the future I will not hesitate to look paranoid and pull a u-turn when I notice such large a group loitering like this. Fact is however that I have had small groups walk out in front of me like this at this very spot before. It's something 'hood cultural' about walking out into a street with no regard for any approaching traffic. The size of the loitering group should have been what set off the alarms. After working 14 hours doing fast-paced physical labor, I was exhausted and all I was thinking about was keeping the bike upright in the snow and that I was almost home.

Re: CCW - I do have a license to carry, and actually I am an NRA certified instructor to give the licensure courses in Ohio. I was not carrying at this time because my workplace is a no-carry zone, and I don't drive a car where I could store a gun during work hours. Legally I am obliged to do whatever possible to flee before drawing/firing. I did manage to flee, so I wouldn't have had the right to shoot, but honestly, had I drawn/fired at the moment I looked back and saw them begining to chase my escape - I really doubt charges would have been filed against me. The big caveat though was that this group of 5 had a large supporting audience, and there is no doubt in my mind that at least a couple of them had guns themselves. I would have likely wound up shot myself. Not to mention the fact that I had on lobster claw gloves and would have had to unvelcro my jacket cuff before degloving/drawing the gun. Not enough time. After I began sprinting down the side street, they didn't pursue me very far. I am glad just to have gotten out of there.

I am trying to avoid too much of the coulda/woulda/shoulda mental game. I was SO close to turning down a different side street a block before the incident, but decided not to because the road conditions on that street didn't seem any better than the other street I usually turn onto - which is a straight shot to my house. There are so many things that I could have done differently, but I simply didn't know what was in store for me, and since I have never had problems like this in the neighborhood - even walking alone to this convenience store at night - I simply went about my usual route and routine.

After I got home I did call for medical assistance, and the police also responded and took a report. They seemed serious about making a real effort to try to apprehend those involved and find the bike. However, since I had no details about the identities of those involved and would never be able to recognize them - not to mention the time they had to flee the scene - there is not such a great chance justice will be served. I can only hope the bike will show up at one of the used bike stores or co-op.

Time to start rebuilding my old bike...

Last edited by jtwilson; 01-10-10 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 01-10-10, 09:58 AM   #14
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I'm sure you called the police. Please keep us updated if they catch this human garbage.

They know where they hang out. Might get dicey with you having to identify them


Yeah I agree, you definitely want to report these morons to the police as soon as possible. Again, you (and the cops) know where to find them.
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Old 01-10-10, 10:39 AM   #15
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It tough. Distance is the correct answer. Too bad it isnt that easy. For instance, next time you go to a pistol range with adjustable targets have someone pull the target in from 7 yards while you unholster and fire three rounds(good luck-its tough). 21 feet is nothing to someone on foot, particularly when they have committed themselves to harming you. They know what is coming, you dont. Mid-day, decent neighborhoods, people within a few feet of me presents no real threat. After dark, all that changes. Since you cant carry on your ride, grab some fox labs pepper spray. That crap is the best. It will melt faces off. Be warned, it will cover you as well, but thats the cost of doing business. You can get some decon wipes that will help with that. Additionally, mount a light on your helmet. 120 lumens in your eyes from 5 feet makes aiming your blows a bit difficult. It is not perfect, but as part of a system, it will help you stay on your bike, and them to stay the hell back.

Better luck next time.
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Old 01-10-10, 11:09 AM   #16
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Glad to hear things aren't as bad as it sounded reading this. I hope you heal quickly and justice is served. I would do my best to avoid that area for some time and keep an eye out for the bike.

Take care...
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Old 01-10-10, 11:12 AM   #17
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**** that sucks. Glad you are ok though - could have been much worse as you said. Not much you could have really done, although I'm sure now that you won't go anywhere near large groups of people like that. Hopefully the police can do something.
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Old 01-10-10, 11:36 AM   #18
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That is absolutely horrible. It is extremely saddening that some people's lives are so pathetic that the only entertainment they can get is from harming others. I'll never understand why some people enjoy doing that. I'm a firm believer that what goes around comes around eventually. For every action there is a consequence at some point, and they will have to deal with that consequence later in their life, whenever and whatever it may be.

In the mean time I support the idea of getting pepper spray. Keep it in easy access range and if you see anything suspicious have your hand ready to grab it. I've never had to use it on a person but it's saved me from dogs many, many times. Only problem is that in your situation, had you sprayed your attackers, the rest of the group may have tried to attack, potentially with weapons. Whenever there's more than 3-4 people all you can do is try your hardest to get away.
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Old 01-10-10, 11:45 AM   #19
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I don't even know what to say. This sickens me.
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Old 01-10-10, 12:12 PM   #20
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However, since I had no details about the identities of those involved and would never be able to recognize them - not to mention the time they had to flee the scene - there is not such a great chance justice will be served.
All those onlookers, but no witnesses? I'm sure the police can do a better job than that!
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Old 01-10-10, 12:17 PM   #21
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All those onlookers, but no witnesses? I'm sure the police can do a better job than that!
In the hood you don't "squeal" or talk to the police. I'd be shocked if this crime was ever solved.
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Old 01-10-10, 12:34 PM   #22
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Wow, that sucks big time. Scum of the earth! I hope you're not too badly hurt physically and psychologically.

Is your bike covered under any insurance? Homeowner's maybe?
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Old 01-10-10, 01:08 PM   #23
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jesus christ man! sorry to hear this! Glad to hear you are doing okay.... If you don't mind me asking, where did this happen in Columbus? High - Broad - Cassady - Johnstown are the main parts of my commute and I'm just wondering if I need to find a different route for a while.
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Old 01-10-10, 01:32 PM   #24
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Wow. Glad you're ok. This story sickens me.

I'm also in Columbus, and would like to know where this happened.

ETA: If you don't want to post the location, you could send me a PM if you like. If you don't, I understand.
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Old 01-10-10, 02:01 PM   #25
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jesus christ man! sorry to hear this! Glad to hear you are doing okay.... If you don't mind me asking, where did this happen in Columbus? High - Broad - Cassady - Johnstown are the main parts of my commute and I'm just wondering if I need to find a different route for a while.
To the OP: Sorry this happened. Hope you are doing OK. I'd be interested to know where this happened as well. Think I have an idea. If you don't want to post it here, can you send me a PM? I help manage the Facebook page for one of the local Columbus cycling groups and like to pass the info on to other cyclists.
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