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  1. #1
    Junior Member breezybikes's Avatar
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    Safety for females touring alone?

    Hi Everyone

    I'm getting ready to leave on a cross country tour in June (coast to coast)... and I'm a female going by myself. I'll have a friend traveling with me here and there, but for 3000 miles out of the 4000 miles I will be all by my lonesome. Unfortunately, the reality is that there is a difference in the degree of safety inherently possessed by a man versus a woman when traveling solo. I'm curious to hear about the experiences of women who have toured significant distances alone and the safety precautions that they took.

    I've been asked by several friends and family members if I'm carrying a firearm. After much last minute debate I've decided that carrying a *** is out of the question. I'm far too inexperienced with firearms to feel comfortable using a *******, universe forbid, in a time of necessity. And there really isn't enough time to act on such training now (classes, permits, etc.). I'm considering other self defense options, i.e. taser or mace or both. ???

    Had this crossed my mind six months ago, I would have gone through the necessary training to confidently carry a hand *** on tour, but that didn't happen so I need to find an alternative form of self defense.

    Any advise is greatly appreciated!

    Cheers
    L.

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  2. #2
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    fear versus danger

    It's been 30 years since I bike-toured more than overnight alone, but I have traveled extensively alone, including a 3-month solo (car) camping trip in the US and multiple solo multi-week foriegn trips. Most people, most places, will go out of their way to protect solo women travelers. Yes, there's the very, very rare exception, but they're exceptions.

    I've planned a major bike tour for this summer, and now my companion might not be able to travel with me, and it never occurred to me to be scared of anything for which a weapon might help!
    Dogs--now THEY scare me.
    Distracted drivers -- they scare me.
    Mountain passes, weak knees, mechanical failures, bad food, bad water -- they scare me.
    Weapons won't help against any of those.

    We've been taught to be afraid of strangers, of the other, but really, they're why I travel. And if you are on one of the ACA routes, you'll probably find other riders to hook up with from time to time, so you might not have to travel as solo as you're planning.

  3. #3
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    I'm not a female, but I've carried the CS Gas/Pepper defense spray, it's good for stopping humans or animals such as wild dogs. Simple to use, but I've never used it. In bear country I've carried Bear Spray that shoots pepper spray 35 feet, never used it either. Spray is not necessarily good if you're accosted inside your tent though.

    Last year I met a solo female bike tourist that was on her way to finishing her around-the-world tour. She told me that she felt safe virtually the entire trip. She said she had a couple of "caution alerts" but never any actual "situations". She said people were extra nice at looking out for her well being.

  4. #4
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by breezybikes View Post
    Hi Everyone

    I'm getting ready to leave on a cross country tour in June (coast to coast)... and I'm a female going by myself. I'll have a friend traveling with me here and there, but for 3000 miles out of the 4000 miles I will be all by my lonesome. Unfortunately, the reality is that there is a difference in the degree of safety inherently possessed by a man versus a woman when traveling solo. I'm curious to hear about the experiences of women who have toured significant distances alone and the safety precautions that they took.

    I've been asked by several friends and family members if I'm carrying a firearm. After much last minute debate I've decided that carrying a *** is out of the question. I'm far too inexperienced with firearms to feel comfortable using a *******, universe forbid, in a time of necessity. And there really isn't enough time to act on such training now (classes, permits, etc.). I'm considering other self defense options, i.e. taser or mace or both. ???

    Had this crossed my mind six months ago, I would have gone through the necessary training to confidently carry a hand *** on tour, but that didn't happen so I need to find an alternative form of self defense.

    Any advise is greatly appreciated!

    Cheers
    L.
    Josie Dew's books might be of interest.

    It seems to me that a key element is not getting yourself into certain sorts of situations. Part of that is not getting into desperate situations where you are forced (or something close to it) to accept additional situations that you otherwise would not accept. That's what happened to Josie Dew at one point. She was so thirsty that she accepted a ride and an offer that she would not otherwise have accepted. I've done similar things, but fortunately nothing terribly severe has happened. If you read a journal on CGOAB by McShane (as I recall, Marcus McShane), he got himself into a similar situation to Josie Dew's. And he later saw that it was impaired judgment, as a result of exhaustion, that played a key roll in his accepting or getting into the situation in the first place.

    I don't think that self-defense devices or techniques are as effective or as important as situational avoidance. Not that they can't contribute to your safety -- they can, at times. But they can also (sometimes in subtle ways) encourage you to accept situations that you otherwise would avoid. It is better, for the most part, to avoid getting into them in the first place, even if you have the weapons or devices or techniques.

    Even if you know karate well, and even if you can win (not always the case, as Josie found out), it's often no fun to go through the fight. It can be traumatic in itself, and there can be serious aftermaths as well (emotionally, mentally, physically, legally, financially, and in other ways). The same can be said for using a *** or other weapon.

    I almost shot someone once on a tour, and I'm very glad I didn't, even if I was right or mostly right. I stopped carrying a *** after that.

    Wearing baggy shorts can be helpful. Not riding in certain areas can be helpful. Most areas in this country are not particularly bad, and as a previous poster mentioned, there are a number of other dangers that are more likely or more real (assuming you don't get yourself into the high-risk situations).

    Another book comes to mind, in which a woman bike tourist accepted an overnight offer. She had doubts when she saw the neighborhood and the trailer the guy was living in, but accepted the offer anyway, in part because she was so tired and wanted the shower, food, good sleeping accommodations, etc. Very similar to what happened to me, Josie Dew, Marcus McShane, others.

    The best I can offer is to keep your judgment in tact, don't get too desperate or exhausted, stay away from such situations, and don't compromise when you have doubts, even if it means more spartan accommodations, extra exertion, lack of comfortable physical circumstances or appealing offers, etc. When you can be chummed with offers, you set yourself up.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-10-12 at 01:16 PM.

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    Even people that carry guns and are experienced in their use will tell you that awareness and listening to your gut is the #1 defensive tool and that physical defense is dead last. If it is time to put three 9mm rounds in someone's cardiothoracic vault or break someone's elbow, then you have badly failed using awareness to avoid the problem.

    Secondly, in many backward and dangerous places (Mexico, England, California), weapons like firearms, pepper spray, tasers, and knives are illegal for mere civilians to be trusted with carrying, and even unarmed self-defense is largely illegal. In those places, awareness and flight are your only tools. The US in particular you can cross an unmarked state/county border and have something that was perfectly legal 100 yards back now will result in the police beating, arresting, and/or shooting you.

    If you carry a weapon, the police will now generally be more dangerous to you than the criminals were. Across the US, things like size of the pepper spray container, pepper spray vs. CS vs. Mace, length of knives, opening systems of knives, capacities of firearms, calibers of firearms, operation type of firearms, magazine type of firearms, etc. can make the difference between "perfectly legal" and "felony". Unless you are intimately familiar with all of these laws, I do not recommend carrying anything that could be construed as a weapon, especially if you are entering any major cities as the police tend to generally see the populace as the enemy.

    Read this guy's site. Unlike a lot of *** posers and testosterone-fueled martial arts companies, he actually talks extensively about the non-physical aspects to crime and defense.

    Also read The Gift of Fear.
    Last edited by when; 05-11-12 at 09:18 AM.

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    I'm a man so I can only offer from my perspective that I was exposed to sexually aggressive older men while hitchiking by bike, which in a way supports NilesH. comments that I allowed myself to need a ride from exhaustion and emotionally tired of riding. Situational awareness and having reserves seems like a baseline.
    When my daughter and a friend went off on a bike trip I put a yellow vest on her rack bundle and a PBSuperFlash on her friends once I realized how camouflaged they were in regular clothes. It's funny how at 21yrs one doesn't realize how driving blind some middle aged folks are until one gets there. I was riding all over the place when I was younger in regular dark street clothes.

  7. #7
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    breezybikes & teacherlady,
    Perhaps y'all should compare notes on your planned summer trips. Maybe riding together for part of the time would be a win-win.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

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    Diana Johnson (CGOAB) had a couple of uncomfortable encounters that didn't feel right to her and from time to time she talks about safety issues for solo female cyclists. It's a great read, BTW.... Here's a link to one of the incidents but the whole journal is worth checking out...

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=247379&v=39

  9. #9
    Junior Member breezybikes's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the responses! Much of my argument against carrying a *** with my family and friends has been reinforced! Fore the past few weeks, I've been flipping back and forth, back and forth, whether or not carrying a weapon is a good idea. Many times I would beat myself up over the fact that I didn't consider this aspect of tour sooner, thinking things like "if only I learned how to shoot guns 8 months ago." I feel like all the pressure from loved ones to carry a weapon has really clouded my original stance on the situation.

    I've intended to carry pepper spray all along primarily in case of aggressive dogs, but the idea of a *** or a taser never once crossed my mind until about a month ago. (My mother's husband is a police officer, so we've had many a "what it" discussions.) For me, cycling is such a huge part of my every day life (commuting, exercising, etc) that all of the safety precautions is second nature and I just do it: super bright lights, helmet, light/reflective clothing, safe routes... Like teacherlady said, it's about meeting new people and that's one of the reasons that makes touring so attractive to me. I think my biggest fears are the headwinds and dogs! In addition to that, I really do pay attention to the routes that I cycle on and maintain an awareness of my surroundings.

    Part of what I've been struggling to communicate to family and friends is that I don't intend on putting myself in bad situations. If I have to choose between a sketchy camp site and a hotel... well of course I'll pick the hotel. It's worth the extra money to me to ensure a safe evening. However, I didn't consider the fact that impaired judgement can occur due to exhaustion. I can look back on previous (much shorter) tours when I could have been pretty vulnerable because I was bonking at the end of a day. So, thanks for bringing that up!

    When also made a good point about the legality of carrying weapons across state lines - which was the first thing that I researched and found out that over half the states that I will be riding through do not honor my home state's carry permits. The same goes for tasers as well.

    I think I'm going to "stick to my guns" (hehe) and go with my original plan: just pepper spray in case of aggressive dogs.

    Thanks again for all your opinions! I can't wait to see what others think about the issue, especially from other ladies out there!

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  10. #10
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breezybikes View Post
    Hi Everyone

    I'm getting ready to leave on a cross country tour in June (coast to coast)... and I'm a female going by myself. I'll have a friend traveling with me here and there, but for 3000 miles out of the 4000 miles I will be all by my lonesome. Unfortunately, the reality is that there is a difference in the degree of safety inherently possessed by a man versus a woman when traveling solo. I'm curious to hear about the experiences of women who have toured significant distances alone and the safety precautions that they took.

    I've been asked by several friends and family members if I'm carrying a firearm. After much last minute debate I've decided that carrying a *** is out of the question. I'm far too inexperienced with firearms to feel comfortable using a *******, universe forbid, in a time of necessity. And there really isn't enough time to act on such training now (classes, permits, etc.). I'm considering other self defense options, i.e. taser or mace or both. ???

    Had this crossed my mind six months ago, I would have gone through the necessary training to confidently carry a hand *** on tour, but that didn't happen so I need to find an alternative form of self defense.

    Any advise is greatly appreciated!

    Cheers
    L.
    First of all, I'm not a female, just giving some thoughts.

    The first part of self defence is not getting into tricky situations in the first place.

    Seriously, I used to study karate under a female instructor. She was a 2nd dan black belt and when I was about a green belt she used me as an example when talking to a couple of the ladies in the class. She said in no uncertain terms that for all she was trained to a much higher standard than I was, if I jumped her in a dimly lit alley she'd have very little chance against me. In a street fight all her training would be worthless if I landed a single blow on her (I'm 6'4 and at the time weighed about 260).

    If you carry a weapon you have to know how to use the weapon and you have to be willing to use the weapon. If you get unlucky an assailant takes your weapon and uses it against you. If you couldn't pull the trigger and drop someone with your first shot (and by that I mean kill them) you're probably better off not having a *** with you.

    With a taser, mace, anything like that, unless it's readily to hand it's all but useless. If someone does jump you the chances are they're not going to hang around while you rummage in your saddle bag to find your can of mace.

    The questions I consider when thinking about anything security related are pretty simple. First of all identify the threat. Then consider what you might do to avoid it, or to minimise its impact on you. At the same time consider how likely it is you will face the threat.

    The high-impact threats you're probably thinking of first are being assaulted, on the basis a female is more likely to be assaulted in more ways than a male. Here your first line of defence is basic awareness of your surroundings. I'm constantly bemused by the number of women I see walking alone, after dark, in dimly lit areas, with hoods up and headphones on. Put another way they are in places with few if any people around to help them, unable to hear a potential assailant approaching from behind, and unable to see a potential assailant approaching from behind or the side. Simply dropping the hood and losing the headphones would give them so much more awareness.

    Another line of defence, if you're not in a position to fight, is to figure potential escape routes. This is where practicality and glamour can clash - to take a simple example a woman wearing high heels and a tight tube skirt is unlikely to be able to move at any speed, whereas wearing running shoes and jeans would at least give her the option of running. I'll assume you won't be cycling in a tight skirt and heels, but I'm sure you get the idea. In a cycling context if you're using a narrow alleyway you're more vulnerable to ambush than if you're on a road that doesn't have walls either side.

    For all it's important to think of threats that relate to your personal safety if I had to think of the threats that are most likely to affect you I'd list theft first. If someone steals your bike (or a crucial component, such as a wheel) you've got problems. If someone steals panniers you may find yourself left without crucial supplies. If someone steals clothes you can probably get by, even if you do end up smelling pretty bad by the time you find new clothes. If someone steals your maps or your GPS you could find yourself struggling to navigate.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  11. #11
    Senior Member DeadheadSF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by when View Post
    The US in particular you can cross an unmarked state/county border and have something that was perfectly legal 100 yards back now will result in the police beating, arresting, and/or shooting you.
    The reality in the USA is that this is *always* a risk now. The number one thing to avoid in all situations is the police. And if you've tried to defend yourself against an attacker, don't tell the police that.
    What a looooooooooooooooooong strange trip it's been...

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    (This is from the perspective of being a woman, and being a woman who has done a lot of solo cycling, and some solo sections of cycling tours ...)

    First of all, it seems like there are several people doing a cross-US cycling trip this year ... maybe you could start a thread and see who's planning to do what and then arrange to ride with some of them at some points in your trip.

    Another idea I would have would be to contact cycletouring clubs and randonneuring clubs along your route and see if they have any rides that would roughly correspond with your direction of travel when you're in that area, or if any of their members might be interested in riding a day or two with you as you pass through their area. In both Canada and Australia, most provinces/states have at least one cycletouring club who do anything from day trips to week-long trips, and then their members often get together casually to do tours together too. Most also have a randonneuring club whose members do long distance riding, but will often be out cycling at other times as well.

    Some of these clubs have discussion boards and email lists etc. For example, if I were to cycle across Canada, I'd post something on the BC Randonneur discussion board, and there would be a reasonable chance some of the BC Randonneurs might want to ride with me or meet for lunch or whatever (it helps that I know some of the BC Randonneur members). Then I might post on the Firewheels email list out of Edmonton ... there are often posts like "I'm doing a long ride on Saturday from here to here, is anyone interested in joining me". You might end up with a small group of riders interested in doing that sort of ride that day.

    It can be good to get to know the cycling community across a country, and around the world.


    I have to dash to work now, but may have more suggestions later.

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    >Secondly, in many backward and dangerous places (Mexico, England, California), weapons like firearms, >pepper spray, and knives are illegal for mere civilians to be trusted with carrying, and even unarmed self-?>defense is largely illegal.

    >If you carry a weapon, the police will now generally be more dangerous to you than the criminals were.

    Oh grow up!

  14. #14
    eternalvoyage
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    This book has some good tips:

    http://www.amazon.com/Ride-New-Life-...6694994&sr=8-1

    The cover photograph tells part of it. She consciously chose not to look too appealing. She didn't want to attract that kind of attention, or be appealing in that way.

    Add some baggy shorts, and it looks pretty effective to me.

    Speaking as a male, I have to say that when a fit woman is dressed in lycra, it definitely attracts a certain degree of attention. It's almost like body paint. I'm sure there are many other males of whom it can be said that the attraction is substantial at times. It is a shame in a way, but it's the way it is. It has been that way for many thousands of years. It's even that way for many other species. I'm sure you already know this -- but maybe some of the concrete measures that can be taken, and are taken by cyclists like Michelle Sicard, are worth mentioning.

    She also cut her hair for the trip.

    And she was able to pass as a boy or young man at times.

    I had a girlfriend who did the same thing because she was sick of being hit on every time she walked down the street (no, I didn't hit on her like that; I met her in a different way).

    Another point, one that came up well in a link in another post, is simply being clear with someone if you want to be left alone. Apparently (this comes out in that link, and police told me the same thing once when someone was harassing me), if you tell someone clearly that you want to be left alone, or that you need to be alone right now (or today, or this week, or on this trip), and the person does not leave you alone, the person is in violation of the law, and can be arrested.

    It is interesting to realize that one has this right, and that there are laws in support of it.

    Every time I have said something along these lines to someone (usually with words like "I don't mean to be unfriendly, but I really need to be alone right now"), they have respected it and left me alone. Almost like magic.

    You don't have to be nasty or rude or impolite or even firm, just clear.

    [It would be very interesting to see the actual laws (on this sort of harassment). If anyone knows more, or has any links on this topic, I would love to see them. I don't have time to dig into it right now; but if anyone finds anything, please feel free to post it.]
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-10-12 at 06:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by when View Post
    Secondly, in many backward and dangerous places (Mexico, England, California), weapons like firearms, pepper spray, and knives are illegal for mere civilians to be trusted with carrying, and even unarmed self-defense is largely illegal.
    Which England? England in the UK? If so have you ever wondered why we have a minute fraction of *** incidents that the USA has?

    Simple because they are very difficult to get hold of. So less guns, less violence all round.

    Now is that really backward?

    Logic and common sense says no.
    And how can England be dangerous? We have areas that are bad like other countries in the world. The trick is to avoid them. Not hard just look for the usual signs.

    I'll admit in England it is not perfect, but definitely not backward or dangerous.

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    I'm not female, but I have been the victim of random street violence that left me hospitalized with amnesia. That happened to me not on tour, but when I was in a busy middle class university neighborhood with two of my friends.

    With regard to safety while touring I think it's more important to worry about traffic. If you feel vulnerable to violence I'd say just carry mace or a knife if it makes you more comfortable (a knife is a useful tool to have anyway). As a female you may be at higher risk of sexual violence, but on the flip side people are more likely to trust you and help you out along your tour.

    I did once wake up to a family of bears within arms reach of me while on tour. That was kind of terrifying, but they just sniffed at me and walked away. A can of mace might have made me a little more at ease in case the mother bear had become aggressive though.

  17. #17
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    Recommendations? That's easy...

    Use your common sense.

    Be mindful of your surroundings, all the time. Don't put yourself in a situation or environment that might be sketchy. Keep to yourself on the road; just have a watchful eye.

    On the other hand, one of the pleasures to be had while touring is the hospitality of others; even though there are bad eggs out there, most people you meet will be friendly
    and glad to lend a hand when needed.

    When all else fails, pull into town, head for the nearest constabulary and explain the situation. Most often they'll keep an extra eye out for ruffians.

  18. #18
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
    This book has some good tips:

    http://www.amazon.com/Ride-New-Life-...6694994&sr=8-1

    The cover photograph tells part of it. She consciously chose not to look too appealing. She didn't want to attract that kind of attention, or be appealing in that way.

    Add some baggy shorts, and it looks pretty effective to me.

    Speaking as a male, I have to say that when a fit woman is dressed in lycra, it definitely attracts a certain degree of attention. It's almost like body paint. I'm sure there are many other males of whom it can be said that the attraction is substantial at times. It is a shame in a way, but it's the way it is. It has been that way for many thousands of years. It's even that way for many other species. I'm sure you already know this -- but maybe some of the concrete measures that can be taken, and are taken by cyclists like Michelle Sicard, are worth mentioning.

    She also cut her hair for the trip.

    And she was able to pass as a boy or young man at times.

    I had a girlfriend who did the same thing because she was sick of being hit on every time she walked down the street (no, I didn't hit on her like that; I met her in a different way).

    Another point, one that came up well in a link in another post, is simply being clear with someone if you want to be left alone. Apparently (this comes out in that link, and police told me the same thing once when someone was harassing me), if you tell someone clearly that you want to be left alone, or that you need to be alone right now (or today, or this week, or on this trip), and the person does not leave you alone, the person is in violation of the law, and can be arrested.

    It is interesting to realize that one has this right, and that there are laws in support of it.

    Every time I have said something along these lines to someone (usually with words like "I don't mean to be unfriendly, but I really need to be alone right now"), they have respected it and left me alone. Almost like magic.

    You don't have to be nasty or rude or impolite or even firm, just clear.

    [It would be very interesting to see the actual laws (on this sort of harassment). If anyone knows more, or has any links on this topic, I would love to see them. I don't have time to dig into it right now; but if anyone finds anything, please feel free to post it.]

    Even though I understand your point, Niles... Holy ****! What's next? Riding in a burka?

    I haven't toured by myself, but agree with advice of not putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Always know your route, always have a way out, and if something feels off it probably is. Listen to your gut, don't worry about offending somebody if you have a bad feeleing aout them.

    I think Machka gave you excellent suggestions, I would definitely contact some cycling clubs. They will probably give you some tips on accommodation and places to eat.

    Enjoy your trip and please let us about how it's going, if you get a chance.

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    This has been (with a few exceptions) one of the most mature discussions about self defense while touring that I've seen.
    I think the original poster shows uncommon good sense in recognizing the limits of her ability with firearms.
    I also agree that awareness and avoidance are key. Learning to recognize sketchy people and situations will go a long way.
    I believe in a defense in depth, in which you put as many layers of defense between you and danger as possible. The vast majority of these are simply behaviors. Where your ride, how you ride, where you camp, who you talk to or don't, projecting strength, etc. As stated previously, if you do have to use a weapon, it's because all those other layers went south.
    I think some OC spray in your jersey and whatever camp knife or hatchet you bring should suffice. I bring a stout camp knife that is used for camp chores and occasionally splitting wood. I no longer bring a ****** unless I'm going to be pretty deep in the woods.
    "Meditations on Violence" by Rory Miller is a very interesting book that addresses a lot of the self defense myths out there.

  20. #20
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    Definitely some good advice here. Plan your route very carefully would be my best advice besides what has been said. For instance, if you're going through IL, stay completely away from st. louis. Indiana, stay away from Gary, and so on and so on. That being said, going through a semi-shady populated place will often be safer than riding through a nice "middle of nowhere" type of place. I bought my sister a 600,000 volt stun *** when she moved to the city. She once had a creepy guy get a little too close, so she dry fired it and the guy immediately ran away. Those things are surprisingly loud and painful. If you're going that route obviously check the laws of the places you'll be going through. Telescopic batons are also a good, easy to use self defense weapon, but again, are illegal in some places.

    You are smart to not want a ****** if you are not comfortable with it, and I applaud you knowing that. There are too many people out there who own firearms but are not comfortable with them, and that's where the "killed with their own ***" statistics come from.

    Lastly, you may want to consider a satellite phone. Even the best networks have tons of areas where there is zero coverage.

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    You'll be fine, just trust your gut, if a situation seems bad it probably is so get out of it.

    I would definitely NOT try to hook up with other tourists, nothing will ruin a tour quite as fast as having to put up with someone else's agenda. (Not the same thing as touring with a friend.)
    ...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I would definitely NOT try to hook up with other tourists, nothing will ruin a tour quite as fast as having to put up with someone else's agenda. (Not the same thing as touring with a friend.)
    Thats interesting, it chimes with my (male) perspective. I really wouldn't want to commit myself to riding with people I don't know when on a solo tour.

    OP, good for you, and good decision about the weapon.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucille View Post
    Even though I understand your point, Niles... Holy ****! What's next? Riding in a burka?
    The main issue with the Burka is that it is society telling women they must be so dressed (though in reality our society is virtually as normative). The next layer down is the objection that one should not have to wear something like that to be safe. "She was asking for it" is never the right frame of mind.

    Fine and good, so you want to start a movement, or pass under the radar? One doesn't have to change one's behaviour, but if one wants to explore safety, one should at least honestly face whatever it's components may be, and not just react like a campus poster.

    Of course the assumption is that some kind of sex motivated attack is the big danger. I've never been at risk of that, and there are still risks out there for me, so any one thing only takes you so far. I'd b interested as to whether one is more likely to be sexually attacked while riding across the US, than just spending an equal amount of time in one's own normal routine. No idea. If you don't ride a bike 4000 miles you reduce your chance of being hit by a car while riding a bike. But one the sex violence deciding not to hit the road does not eliminate the risk.

    There is a big difference between fear and danger. And even "danger" is for the most part largely subjective. Bad stuff either happens or it doesn't. I went on one trip of about 1000 miles and was greated back by friends who wanted to hear the story. I was shocked to find out, that as a stocky 73" tall male, they regarded the idea of camping across a few provinces as insanely dangerous. Oddly they didn't even think far enough to imagine the horror of riding in proximity to huge vehicles. I was shocked. I occasionally hear noises or think thoughts when camping, but for the most part I feel at least as safe as in my house.

    My point is people who are scared for a tourist are probably for the most part completely irrational about the whole thing. Cops can be among the worst because they see so much tragedy though I would imagine little of it is related to bike touring. The main thing about bike touring is the adventure. It isn't large scale like being the first person to climb Everest, or something worth while, but it is quite a varied life. It isn't luxurious, or "extreme". There is a lot of grind. But you aren't getting your money's worth if it doesn't make you a little uncomfortable. For newbies it is largely interesting as a trip outside of their comfort zone, and a lot of that is to do with people, because most BT does not take place in the wilderness. So you will be out of your comfort zone, and around different people who could, among other things, kill you with their cars at any moment. That's the fun part.
    Last edited by MassiveD; 05-11-12 at 12:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephenjubb View Post
    Which England? England in the UK? If so have you ever wondered why we have a minute fraction of *** incidents that the USA has?

    Simple because they are very difficult to get hold of. So less guns, less violence all round.
    Not really Canada and Switzerland have very high levels of *** access, and do not have US levels of violence. It isn't guns. *** violence and violence in general have gone up in the UK since *******s were banned. And the UK does have it's wild west, Belfast. High levels of legal and illegal ******* ownership, the guns are the response not the cause.

    Now is that really backward?

    Logic and common sense says no.
    And how can England be dangerous? We have areas that are bad like other countries in the world. The trick is to avoid them. Not hard just look for the usual signs.
    I'm sure that is a great consolation to the people actually live in those areas and aren't just passing through. You are basically just saying you feel safe, which sounds like a good start...

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    Quote Originally Posted by breezybikes View Post
    Thanks for all of the responses! Much of my argument against carrying a *** with my family and friends has been reinforced! Fore the past few weeks, I've been flipping back and forth, back and forth, whether or not carrying a weapon is a good idea. Many times I would beat myself up over the fact that I didn't consider this aspect of tour sooner, thinking things like "if only I learned how to shoot guns 8 months ago." I feel like all the pressure from loved ones to carry a weapon has really clouded my original stance on the situation.
    I'm all for guns, and carry, but... There is a whole segment feeding the thing, who now believe they must always carry. There is an industry behind this, and also some sad real world experience out there, and it is breeding a whole new generation of people who must always be carrying a ***. This is a continuum that exist independent of the risk level. There is no situation so mild that they would not carry. And that is OK, but you can't therefore use them as an indicator. They are like an old person in a cardigan during July - doesn't mean it's cold.

    Two other things. You are always potentially armed. Many weapons are at hand, or could be. Again, the ******* fetish makes people believe they are only armed when they are packing a *******. And, don't believe anyone who says you need extensive training to use a *******. You need focused simple training, potentially only a few hours, if it was actually the right stuff. Women are, according to instructors, more likely to take instruction, and to concentrate on fundamentals. *******s are incredibly difficult to master, but the basics are not so tough. Hard to ride as well as Lance Armstrong, but 50% of it is just having a bike. Not that difficult to outrun someone on foot when you have a bike.

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