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  1. #1
    Victoria's secret MsVicki's Avatar
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    A scary situation!

    I have such an ideal situation...one that works for me anyway. My "hundred acre woods" has trails all through it that I ride on as often as I can. I usually stick to riding on my own property. Last weekend, though, I decided to go ride on the trail in town. It is a great trail, several miles long, and maintained by the city. I haven't been there in a really long time, but the weather was gorgeous, and I wanted a change.

    About two miles down the trail, in a particularly secluded wooded area, I was acosted by 5 or 6 teenagers, who stepped out in front of me and caused me to stop. From the way they were dressed, I assumed they were gang members...even in our little town, the gangs are getting bad. My mind was racing as I heard them saying things like "Hey, baby" and "You out here all alone?" (Mainly my mind was saying "Holy ****...what have I gotten myself into??!!") I said something stupid like "Let me by, please," and my eyes teared up.

    About that time, two big ole men joggers came jogging up. They stopped and asked what was going on ...then they told the teenagers that they had no business out on the trail and told them to scram. The teens mouthed off to the men a bit but they turned and sauntered off back into the woods, a couple shouting obscenities back at us.

    Needless to say, I was never so glad to see anyone in my life. I burst out crying, and the men walked me back to my car. They advised me to maybe ride with others the next time I rode the trail and suggested that I call the police. I thanked them several times, and they patted me on the back, handed me a handkerchief, waved, and went jogging off..in the OTHER direction, not in the direction from which we came!

    I got into my car, calmed down and stopped crying, and called the police. They said they were sending patrolmen out, that they had had two other complaints about the teens on the trail that day. I left my name and phone number, and left it to them to take care of things.

    I shudder to think about what could happen to the little college girls who jog down that trail, or the young families that ride their bikes there, or the elderly people who walk there. Hopefully they are not as naive as I was, and they jog or ride or walk in groups, not alone. I have never heard of there being any trouble with anything like that on the trail before. I hope the police can clean the trail up before anyone gets robbed or hurt. What a shame little punks like that can ruin something nice like that trail.

    As for me, I will stick to my hundred acre woods when I ride, at least for the time being. And I will thank my lucky stars that someone up there was watching out for me last weekend!
    Last edited by MsVicki; 03-05-03 at 01:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bobsled's Avatar
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    Sorry that happen. The obvious answer would be not to ride alone, but in case you do and the situation were to come up again I would reccomend you not stop or even slow down but speed up. Pick a point between two of them and shoot for that spot. If you have to take one out then so be it. It's either you or them.
    Litespeed, lasts a lifetime.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Hants Commuter's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your trouble. You must have got quite a nasty shock. Glad to hear you are OK though.

    You may actually have saved some young college girl as the police are now aware of the problem
    "Fame doesn't await at the top of the hill, Fortune doesn't await at the top of the hill, the only thing that awaits at the top of the hill is the top of the hill"

  4. #4
    Wide Load HalfHearted's Avatar
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    Scary situation indeed but you should be glad you live here in Texas where you can (if you wish) go take some classes, get a concealed-carry permit, and surprise the living heck out of the next bunch of punks that try to terrorize you!

    (BTW, if you do choose that option, then really learn to use the gun -- handle and shoot it frequently enough to be comfortable with it. If you don't, you're better off not to get a gun or carry permit at all.)

    I don't carry around here 'cause while I'm not huge I'm male and big enough that I've never been accosted by punks -- cowardly bullies, even in groups, are always on the lookout for the easy victim, not one that might bite back. If I lived in or frequented some parts of Dallas or Ft. Worth I might carry, anyplace else around here the punks are just gang-banger wanna-bees trying to convince themselves that they aren't pansies. I would have to imagine those in rural east Texas are even more lightweight in nature.

    At the very least get some good pepper spray (another thing that's legal here in TX that isn't in some states). By "good" I mean an absolute minimum of 10% and, if you can find it, get the 15% stuff. Look for a spray that fogs a fairly wide area without having a ridiculously short range (i.e., avoid the tiny, mostly useless "keychain" sprays). Get an extra can of the stuff and "waste" it learning to trigger the spray quickly and how the pattern spreads. Just like with a gun, if the first time you ever spray the stuff is an emergency, you are very unlikely to use it effectively.

    Finally, take some confidence / self-defense classes. From your own description it sounds like you had "victim" written all over you and to these punks that is like blood in the water to sharks. Build up enough confidence that you get more mad than afraid when threatened. Punks know the difference and they will mostly avoid the person who doesn't appear frightened. (Inside, you can be quaking like California as long as it doesn't show )

    The confidence / self-defense classes won't turn you into a ninja assasin, but they will teach you to be very situationally aware at all times and to project an air of confidence and competency. In many, many encounters that is all that is needed to make punks wait for an easier victim.

    Don't hide and don't be a victim!

    John

  5. #5
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    Thank God, for the joggers who came by. I'm glad that you weren't hurt.I hope that the police have indeed cleared the punks out from this public trail, and will see to it that they stay out in the future. Roving packs of antisocial criminals must not be allowed to rule public spaces in small towns or large. Half-hearted's advice about self-defense is good. One caution: no one should ever pull a gun unless they are prepared to use it. Take care of yourself, MsVicki.
    Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr

  6. #6
    Wide Load HalfHearted's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bobsled
    Sorry that happen. The obvious answer would be not to ride alone, but in case you do and the situation were to come up again I would reccomend you not stop or even slow down but speed up. Pick a point between two of them and shoot for that spot. If you have to take one out then so be it. It's either you or them.
    Bobsled has a good point, that illustrates what I was talking about with the self-defense classes. Punks expect a victim to act a certain way, in this case stop. When you do the expected you are telling the punks, "yes, I am a victim, do with me what you will." The second thing you'll learn in a self-defense class is to act immediately, confidently, and unexpectedly.

    For example, if, when the punks first blocked your path you'd suddenly displayed a huge grin, let out a joyous war whoop and ridden straight at the one nearest the center of the trail as fast as you could pedal they'd probably be home changing their pants about now. At the very least they would almost certainly have reacted with a very natural flinch to this totally unexpected behaviour and by the time they recovered you'd be well past them with a good head of steam up and on wheels while they're on foot.

    The key to being able to react to an "unexpected" situation so quickly is to have planned in advance what you will do to in certain "imaginary" situations. If you try to figure it out in real-time you've already become a victim!

    Oh, BTW, the first thing you'll learn in a good self defense class is situational awareness. You were probably riding along enjoying the scenery and "smelling the flowers." Chances are good that if you'd been a little more aware you would have seen at least one of the punks lurking about in the bushes as I've yet to meet a gangbanger wannabe who was any sort of woodsman. Forewarned early you could have either turned around or changed your demeanor so you were riding fast with a determined expression like an athlete in training and even stupid gang-banger wannabes aren't going to step in front of a bike that's moving really fast.

    John

  7. #7
    Bring It! Sailguy's Avatar
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    Glad to hear everything worked out well. That was definately a scary situation. There is some good advice in this thread for all. Keep riding MsVicki!
    Sailing and Cycling make the world go 'round. Quietly Too!

  8. #8
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    I am very glad to hear you came out of the situation OK. Our local trail is always so packed this is not a problem. My wife goes there to ride while I watch the baby. Sometimes I go and walk with Samantha while she rides.

    I am a advocate of firearms for personal safety but in this type of situation it may work out to a disadvantage unless you just went ahead and fired at a nearby spot to scare the crap out of them. If they were truly agressive and clever they may be able to get your gun from you and then where are you at?But I would certainly admire a "packin momma" out on the trail.

    Pepper spray or better yet a true teargas spray would do well. Soak them good with it. There are also some telescopic pumps out there that would give a good bump on the noggin.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Victoria's secret MsVicki's Avatar
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    You know, all this happened so quickly that it is all a blur to me now. No time to shoot or charge or spray....they were surrounding me within seconds. What I remember the most was how my chest hurt because my heart was pounding so hard!

    I have found a good self-defense class at the Rec Center that I plan to attend. I have a gun and I know how to use it, but I have no plans to take it riding with me. I will, however, get some pepper spray the next time I go into town! Most of all, though, I will never again be so naive as to think nothing bad can ever happen to me. I will at least be aware that I am not invincible.

    Thanks for all the great advice!!

    Vicki

  10. #10
    TLN
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    This type of crap really yanks my chain hard not just because you are a biker but because this crap happens and it happens a lot. IMHO, I think that if you get caught with a gang, in a gang or even have the colors, you should be dealt with extreme prejudice in the most extreme harshest way...even if youve done nothing wrong... because good money has it that if you havent, you will sometime soon. Im glad to hear you are ok. Its just too bad that we cant take these worthless idiots and air drop them in Afganistan, Iraq, Sudan or some nice warm climate near there.

  11. #11
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bobsled
    Sorry that happen. The obvious answer would be not to ride alone, but in case you do and the situation were to come up again I would reccomend you not stop or even slow down but speed up. Pick a point between two of them and shoot for that spot. If you have to take one out then so be it. It's either you or them.
    Is there a significant risk of seriously hurting youself if you do this?
    Last edited by Spire; 03-05-03 at 05:15 PM.
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  12. #12
    Junior Member Cyclesister's Avatar
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    OMG, Vicki! Thank goodness you are okay!!!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bobsled's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Spire
    Is there a significant risk of seriously hurting youself if you do this?
    There is a chance you can crash and hurt yourself. There is also a very good chance the guy(s) sees you barreling down on him/them and jumps out of your way at the very last second. I think your options are limited. Like I said itís either them or you.
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  14. #14
    suitcase of courage VegasCyclist's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MsVicki
    I have found a good self-defense class at the Rec Center that I plan to attend.
    if you are proficient in self defense in situations like that, you will be calm and collected in. Although a few classes will make a difference, you may want to think about a long term (a year or two) training where you will be advised on how to handle many different situations. IMHO you should not need to carry a weapon....

    p.s. you own 100 acres of land?! that you can ride on!
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  15. #15
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    Yikes! Scary situation. I hope you reported it to the cops since you got a description and know exactly where you saw the guys. I would definitely report it since, as you said, other women go through there and one day, one of them could be in that situation and not get out of it like you did! It's possible they may just have wanted to steal your bike, but even so, that's not so much fun either.

    In the meantime, avoid going through that path alone. There's a path like that near here too. It's a fire road that's great for off-road biking, but it's also frequented by rather seedy characters, and I have been advised not to go alone. But it's only part of the trail that's like that, the rest of it is mostly families camping. I wouldn't go alone anyways, since it's kind of out of the way and I'd worry about crashing and being injured and not being able to get home!
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  16. #16
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    Sorry that happened, Ms. Vicki. Glad you are ok.

    I would be happy to knock some heads, but I'd probably get my own head smashed. I call on the Big Boys in Blue when crap like this goes down. They have many ways of dealing with punks. You'd be suprised how much cops know about the neighborhood.
    Give them the info, they'll close in.

    Pete.


  17. #17
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    Dang, I nearly hyperventilated just reading your post, I cannot imagine how that must've felt.

    Please be very careful always, I am glad you were not hurt.

    Eric

  18. #18
    Ride Nekkid! A.troll's Avatar
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    You're right, MsVicki, that is a scary situation. For the first time ever in my life as A. Troll, I'm at a loss for words. I don't know what to say. I don't have the language to express my anger, my fear, my sorrow for the state of the world, and my relief that you were not hurt. I'm glad that you and I have been able to ride together, and I would hate for anything bad to happen to you.
    So many men....so little time!

  19. #19
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    I am glad you are okay, Vicki. The gangs are pretty common around where I live. I have to be careful everywhere I go, too. Best to ride with a bike club or a pack of friends (preferably big GUYS!) if you can!

  20. #20
    Plays well with others. greg360's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MsVicki
    ... As for me, I will stick to my hundred acre woods when I ride, at least for the time being. And I will thank my lucky stars that someone up there was watching out for me last weekend!
    MsVicki, I am glad you were watched out for.
    I hope you will also reconsider the relative safety of your own woods. Private property is not necessarily any more safe than public lands, what with the spread of gangs or meth labs. Back when I owned a modest amount of forest land, I came to realize that I could "disappear" out there as easily as anywhere else, if I ran afoul of violent criminals.
    What to do then? Live in awareness, not fear, on your land and everywhere else. Be prepared - physically and mentally - to harm some miscreant rather than let him harm you. That's what these posts so far are trying to say. Once you cross that line where you would rather cause hurt than be hurt, you are truly ready to learn about self defense.
    Look up 'Police Equipment' in the Yellow Pages; I have found that type of shop to be more professionally operated than most gun shops. They will have a good selection of effective sprays. And do take a hands-on class in how to use them effectively. Practice the way it will go down for real, get good at it, and when it goes down for real you will do as well as you did in practice.
    You did the right thing, calling the cops. I'm really glad you're OK. I hope you will now take the next step and take it vigorously.
    Protecting the environment is important - start by protecting your own.
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  21. #21
    Grounded Inkwolf's Avatar
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    Yow! Thank god for joggers! I'm certainly glad for you that you came through that okay. Must have been terrifying.
    "A curious two-wheeled vehicle called the Velocipede has been invented, which is propelled by jack-asses instead of horses."--The Federal Republican and Baltimore Telegraph, July 9, 1819

  22. #22
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Glad you called the cops. Hopefully something will be done about these tosspots. Also glad to hear you're OK.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  23. #23
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    teens here walk on the trails...wait for you to ride by and push you down as you are passing them and take your bike.

    it is easy for someone to say 'take self-defense classes' but you've been watching too many action movies to think that you could fend off 3 or more men. please reconsider and ride when you know there are patrols there or with other people....
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  24. #24
    Victoria's secret MsVicki's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RiPHRaPH
    teens here walk on the trails...wait for you to ride by and push you down as you are passing them and take your bike.

    it is easy for someone to say 'take self-defense classes' but you've been watching too many action movies to think that you could fend off 3 or more men. please reconsider and ride when you know there are patrols there or with other people....
    For some reason, I don't think these thugs were just after my bike. They could have pushed me down and took off with it if they were.

    While a self-defense class will make me feel some better, I will be sticking to riding on my own property for now. I hope the police can make the trail a safe place again...there sure are a lot of college kids and elderly people and young families who use it (or who used to use it...I didn't see many people on it last weekend).

  25. #25
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    The example of what happened to Ms. Vicki may be a valid and legal reason to avoid some paths, even if local law enforcement orders you on to the path, which they can do in many places.

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