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I was chased and almost got mugged for my bike

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I was chased and almost got mugged for my bike

Old 09-07-08, 10:21 AM
  #1  
Roody
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I was chased and almost got mugged for my bike

I get out of work at 11:30 PM and ride home through a couple dicey inner city neighborhoods. At the very start of my commute, I come downhill through an alley into a parking lot behind a party store. The other night, I noticed some "urban youths" at the edge of the lot who seemed to be paying attention to me. Before I got through the parking lot, I heard running footsteps approaching me. I sped up, and the footsteps faded.

But when I looked back, I saw a bike closing on me quickly. I really stepped on the gas then. I turned the corner just as he was "cutting" the corner--apparently to ram me. I swerved a bit but kept going. He kept following me as I sped across the busy four lane one-way street. (Luckily, there was no traffic coming.) I followed my usual commute route--funny how you tend to follow your habits in an emergency. This led me onto a dark side street that goes up a small hill. I'm glad that I'm in pretty good shape (for an old man), because I was able to gain speed on the hill, while the kid chasing me fell back a bit. After another couple blocks, he finally gave up and turned back. Good thing, becuse I was panting heavily and my legs were starting to go dead.

I'll admit that I was traumatized by this event. The next night I really dreaded the commute home. A couple co-workers offered to follow me in their cars, but I turned them down.
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Old 09-07-08, 10:30 AM
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uke
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Wow. Glad you're okay. Perhaps you might consider varying the route at the start, or the time of your departure.
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Old 09-07-08, 10:38 AM
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Change yer route.
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Old 09-07-08, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Sammiches View Post
Change yer route.
Or just carry, or better yet get the hell out of Michigan.
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Old 09-07-08, 11:20 AM
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This is a semi-regular occurance in my little pleasant
part of the universe. If you hear "HEY, THATS MY BIKE",
you know just to pedal hard up the sidewalk, over a lawn,
anywhere. Glad you are OK.
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Old 09-07-08, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Galls View Post
...or better yet get the hell out of Michigan.
sadly that deserves a +1
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Old 09-07-08, 12:20 PM
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Glad you are ok.
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Old 09-07-08, 12:26 PM
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Geez, glad you got away! I would definitely change my route.
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Old 09-07-08, 12:41 PM
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Good that you are fine.
Start carrying your chain in your front basket for easy access.
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Old 09-07-08, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by uke View Post
Perhaps you might consider varying the route at the start, or the time of your departure.
Originally Posted by Sammiches View Post
Change yer route.
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
I would definitely change my route.
Done. I had been going through that alley/parking lot for about 6 years with no problem. I did this out of laziness--to avoid a slow-cycle traffic light on the corner of two main streets. So I'm no longer an alley rat. Now I ride on the big streets like a proper VC cyclist.

For a couple years I rode right through an open air drug market on the next corner. They never gave me any hassles, other than to laugh at me sometimes. Then the cops cleaned up that area, and I guess some of the thugs moved over into the alley/parking lot.
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Old 09-07-08, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Galls View Post
Or just carry, or better yet get the hell out of Michigan.
Originally Posted by Sammiches View Post
sadly that deserves a +1
Why do you say that? The crime rate in my city isn't particularly high, and it's low compared to rates in California and other states.

This is going to be a problem for a lot of carfree people. A lot of us like to live in the city in order to be close to our destinations and take advantage of good public transit. There are areas of any city that are dicey. Sometimes you can't avoid those 'hoods. For example, I work in a hospital. Almost every hospital is in (or at least near) a "bad" neighborhood. So I don't see how moving is an option for me, even if I wanted to relocate.
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Old 09-07-08, 01:09 PM
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So glad you're ok, and that you've changed your route. Scary!
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Old 09-07-08, 01:13 PM
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Good reactions and rerouting yourself.

I would suggest a book called DEFENSIVE LIVING. Its by one of my favorite weapon authors. Its not about training with weapons, but how to not be a victim. The author was a CIA trainer to oversee agents. Alot of his suggestions are easy to incorprate into your life and lifestyle.

http://www.amazon.com/Defensive-Livi...0814779&sr=8-1

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Old 09-07-08, 01:16 PM
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I don't think it's reasonable to just tell Roody to pack up and move because of a dicey neighborhood and a close call with some urban youths.

I've heard the, "Hey, you got my bike!" thing a couple of times. I just stare and keep plugging away. Never been chased, though. Seems to me that an alley's just a bad idea. Glad to hear you changed that. I carry a big old can of pepper spray in my handlebar bag, along with having my U-lock handily hanging in my pannier rack ready for just such an altercation. Now, I'm not advocating violence, but you gotta feel safe.

I'm lucky that there's no real regularity to my bike commuting -- it's not like I ride in the same places at the same time on the same days. Glad you got through it unscathed. What part of town?
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Old 09-07-08, 01:33 PM
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You could always spray paint your bike Hot Pink! Might get less threat that way. LOL

But seriously, punks are out for the easy prey. 99.99% of them will turn and run from a strong will person. They know that the next would be victim is an easier target. They are lazy and cowards who run away if you are willing to stand up to them. But, they also run in packs, like wolves, so beware but be strong.

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Old 09-07-08, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by keiththesnake View Post

I don't think it's reasonable to just tell Roody to pack up and move because of a dicey neighborhood and a close call with some urban youths.

I've heard the, "Hey, you got my bike!" thing a couple of times. I just stare and keep plugging away. Never been chased, though. Seems to me that an alley's just a bad idea. Glad to hear you changed that. I carry a big old can of pepper spray in my handlebar bag, along with having my U-lock handily hanging in my pannier rack ready for just such an altercation. Now, I'm not advocating violence, but you gotta feel safe.

I'm lucky that there's no real regularity to my bike commuting -- it's not like I ride in the same places at the same time on the same days. Glad you got through it unscathed. What part of town?
I'm thinking about getting pepper spray, possibly in a handlebar mount if I can find one. (There was also a dog bite incident that I'll post about soon.)

The big danger of weapons, as I see it, is that they might give you a false sense of security. There's also a tendency to over-rely on the weapon, rather than trying other strategies that might have a greater chance of success.

My running away strategy worked great in this situation, although it might not have worked if there was more than one person chasing me on bikes. I guess it might not have worked if I was a little slower, or the thug was a little faster. You don't have time to figure that out--it's a matter of luck, really.

For a second I thought about riding down the middle of the four lane street and hoping that they would be afraid to bother me if there was traffic around. Of course there wasn't any traffic right then, and I also thought that it might be better to be knocked down and robbed than to be hit by a car going 40 mph.

Originally Posted by keiththesnake View Post
What part of town?
West side. The alley/parking lot is behind El Az restaurant and Toolan's party store. The big street is W. Saginaw and the street with the little hill is Genesee St.
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Old 09-07-08, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry in So IL View Post
Good reactions and rerouting yourself.

I would suggest a book called DEFENSIVE LIVING. Its by one of my favorite weapon authors. Its not about training with weapons, but how to not be a victim. The author was a CIA trainer to oversee agents. Alot of his suggestions are easy to incorprate into your life and lifestyle.

http://www.amazon.com/Defensive-Livi...0814779&sr=8-1

Jerry
Thanks, Jerry. That sounds like a useful book. I have nothing against fighting or weapons to defend myself. I would absolutely not carry a gun on a bike. I can foresee very few circumstances where a gun would be useful in a situation like I was in.

Not being a victim is definitely an idea I can get behind. That means staying calm enough (hopefully) to consider options, but also relying on instinct enough to act quickly.
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Old 09-07-08, 02:22 PM
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Meh... I'd have let him 'catch' me. Slow down just a bit, string him along, make sure you're far enough from his friends... Then teach him a lesson he won't forget anytime soon. But that's me.
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Old 09-07-08, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
Meh... I'd have let him 'catch' me. Slow down just a bit, string him along, make sure you're far enough from his friends... Then teach him a lesson he won't forget anytime soon. But that's me.
Yeah, that's you.

This is me: 53 years old, far from home, with a backpack, eyeglasses and a bicycle that I don't want to lose. Unarmed.

This is him: about 19 years old, athletic, on his home turf with friends no more than 2 blocks away. And presumably with nothing to lose but his pride. No idea if he was armed or not.

Fighting would be a last resort in this situation. You can see that, can't you?

And if I did have to fight him, it wouldn't be anything dramatic like you might be imagining. Probably kick him in the knee, shove him as hard as I can, and take off running again. And all the time screaming like a schoolgirl, hoping somebody will help me.
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Old 09-07-08, 03:33 PM
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The fact is that you outran them. On your bike.

I've known a lot of thugs. Most of them were not the picture of health. Nor were their cycling skills really that up to par.

Keep this in mind. You probably run less of a chance of being mugged on your bike in this "dicey" neighborhood than you would as a motorist walking to their car in a "nice" neighborhood.
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Old 09-07-08, 03:41 PM
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Roody, the best way to win a fight is not to be in it. Self awareness is the key. I would and will run anytime I get the chance. I've been in too many fights where the "winner" is just as bad off as the "loser". Besides, wolves travel in packs. You might beat the first one, but what about the others or the guy in the van who is on the way to pick up the bike and god knows what they could have in the van. Better to run away and plan for tomorrow.

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Old 09-07-08, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by keiththesnake View Post
I don't think it's reasonable to just tell Roody to pack up and move because of a dicey neighborhood and a close call with some urban youths.
Agreed. This is stuff women face all the time, bikes or no bikes, and not everyone has the resources or ability to pack up and move at the drop of a hat.

You learn how to deal with it on your own turf, so to speak -- plan your tactics for how to deal with it if it happens (learn self-defense or carry weapons if you have to); take steps to avoid bad situations before they happen (take a longer route if it's safer and keeps you away from areas you know to be problematic, and know alternate routes so that you can take one if you have to change in mid-ride).

Sometimes the thugs are just stronger than you are, and people do get hit despite having taken all the precautions they could. It's not your fault if it happens to you, but there are definitely things you can do to improve your chances.
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Old 09-07-08, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Yeah, that's you.

This is me: 53 years old, far from home, with a backpack, eyeglasses and a bicycle that I don't want to lose. Unarmed.

This is him: about 19 years old, athletic, on his home turf with friends no more than 2 blocks away. And presumably with nothing to lose but his pride. No idea if he was armed or not.

Fighting would be a last resort in this situation. You can see that, can't you?

And if I did have to fight him, it wouldn't be anything dramatic like you might be imagining. Probably kick him in the knee, shove him as hard as I can, and take off running again. And all the time screaming like a schoolgirl, hoping somebody will help me.
Roody, no need to justify yourself you did the right thing. You evaluated the situation correctly, looked at your options, and chose the best one. You did great under the circumstances.

I think your idea of pepper spray is good.... if the punk started getting close you could have just sprayed it over your shoulder to create a cloud for him to ride into.

I'm just glad you're OK. Have you reported the incident to the police?
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Old 09-07-08, 06:02 PM
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You dropped your blinkie. I was just trying to give it back!
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Old 09-07-08, 06:19 PM
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Glad to hear you're okay. Next time pepper spray the punk 'til he's blind.
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