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Newbie female safety concerns

Old 05-01-14, 09:10 PM
  #1  
PiperKenny
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Newbie female safety concerns

PREMISE:

Hey! So I commute a fair distance on my bike practically daily(30+ miles) and I'm planning a long distance several day ride (a few months out, I'm still training up). There's no time limit, I can take my time and gather foodstuffs along the way. It's just coming home from a vacation type stuff. Spokane to Salt Lake City, maybe stopping by Yellowstone.

However, I'm a 20 something female and I'll be taking this ride solo. I feel like I'm a pretty decent preparer so I'd be fine on mechanical and staying healthy aspects, but everyone I tell (all excited and enthusiastic) that I intend to take this trip is SUPER concerned about my safety on this trip. I don't know anybody from that area to go with me, but I'm really very eager to do this.

QUESTION:

Do you all have any tips on like, avoiding stranger danger/feral animal encounters?
Slash do you think this is a terrible idea?
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Old 05-01-14, 09:20 PM
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I think you will be fine..

I have been reading a lot of the touring stories on crazyguyonabike.com and there a plenty of ladies who have done solo rides..

Are you going to camp at camp sites or stealth camp?
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Old 05-01-14, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by raqball View Post

Are you going to camp at camp sites or stealth camp?
Frankly... I have no problem with stealth camping. The route I'm looking at is super rural. I'm sure if there are camping options, I'd be open to them, but I think stealth stuff would not bother me. That's partially the source of my concern about wildlife.
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Old 05-01-14, 10:12 PM
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I wouldn't be concerned about wildlife except moose you may wanna check their rutting season they are more dangerous than bears. Donno about truck stops and how safe they would be. Camping you're fine generally. I went to WSU so that whole run from spokane south is pretty tame and safe in general.

Then again, it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again. Hah
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Old 05-01-14, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by PiperKenny View Post
PREMISE:
Spokane to Salt Lake City, maybe stopping by Yellowstone.
but everyone I tell (all excited and enthusiastic) that I intend to take this trip is SUPER concerned about my safety on this trip.
QUESTION:

Do you all have any tips on like, avoiding stranger danger/feral animal encounters?
Slash do you think this is a terrible idea?
I'm a 63 year old male and even now I get comments like you've received . Of course there are no guarantees , but I am fairly confident you'll have a great trip. If you are concerned about wildlife of any kind, you may wish to carry easily accessible BEAR SPRAY which can be purchased at R.E.I. , learn how to use it. You can even bring it into your tent at night, ( I do ).
As for your friends comments, I very much believe, that most people comment like this as an excuse to themselves for their not doing what you intend. IMO you will have a very nice trip with many positive and pleasant memories.
BTW , sorry for stating something that may be very obvious to you, but don't bring or allow food of any kind to be brought into your tent. Raccoons in addition to bears , etc take that as an invitation. Again good luck, enjoy.
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Old 05-02-14, 04:58 AM
  #6  
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Well, you could get a tandem and strap a guy mannequin to the stoker position. Strap his feet to the pedals, hands to the bars, and run the seat post up his back to keep him upright. Instant male companion who pedals along!

That or I'm sure there's no shortage of guys willing to go along with some awesome girl who likes to camp and bike/tour. Hell, let me know if you ever move to the WI area. Maybe you could find someone doing your same route and meet up with them a couple times ahead of time to make sure they're not a weirdo/creeper.

But I also think you'll be fine with your current plan to do it by yourself. Maybe it would be a good idea to take one of those self defense classes or something before the trip, just in case, and because it might be fun. Then also carry mace and make sure it's readily available at all times. The time you don't have it ready, if something were to happen, is when something is going to happen... I don't think you need to be too concerned, though. Have fun!
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Old 05-02-14, 06:51 AM
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The biggest thing is, be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention. If something seems off, it probably is. The human brain is pretty good with picking up danger. Whether we actually listen is another thing.

Carry a phone, let people you know know where you are and are going for the day.

Carry a high quality pepper spray(Fox Labs is one of the best). And know how to use it. I don't know how combative you are but carrying a knife that can be opened one handed can be VERY handy if someone grabs you.

Take a first aid kit. The usual bandaids and the like but also keep imodium, some sudaphed/benadryl and motrin.
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Old 05-02-14, 07:08 AM
  #8  
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I just saw this the other day. It is written by an experience female cyclotourist. Looks to be pretty good advice for male or female solo travellers.

http://www.tamiasoutside.com/2011/08/04/solo/
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Old 05-02-14, 07:18 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
I'm a 63 year old male and even now I get comments like you've received . Of course there are no guarantees , but I am fairly confident you'll have a great trip.
I'm a 36 year old male, 6'2" tall, and was 210 pounds last year when I did my first tour. I also got those same comments.

What you're doing is weird and unknown to most people. This is bound to garner you some well intentioned but misplaced concern. Common sense precautions are all that's nessesarey (IMO, anyway)
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Old 05-02-14, 07:40 AM
  #10  
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This, exactly this.

I'm female - lots older than you, but small - and I've toured thousands of miles alone, including near where you're going. It's fine, just pay attention and if someone seems creepy, they probably are. Don't tell people where you are going to camp, and if needed, make up an imaginary touring companion who is just up the road waiting for you. It's ok to be vague or lie.

If the area is particularly creepy, go ahead and spend the money for a hotel room, for peace of mind. Poverty stricken areas (reservations, big cities) are creepier than rural small town areas, but pay attention, some towns are very poor.

The most dangerous thing out there is cars.

Have a great trip!!

Originally Posted by Hauptmann6 View Post
The biggest thing is, be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention. If something seems off, it probably is. The human brain is pretty good with picking up danger. Whether we actually listen is another thing.

Carry a phone, let people you know know where you are and are going for the day.

Carry a high quality pepper spray(Fox Labs is one of the best). And know how to use it. I don't know how combative you are but carrying a knife that can be opened one handed can be VERY handy if someone grabs you.

Take a first aid kit. The usual bandaids and the like but also keep imodium, some sudaphed/benadryl and motrin.
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Old 05-02-14, 07:52 AM
  #11  
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You've gotten some good advice.

Regarding animals, food discipline is important to keeping safe. I've done a lot of wilderness canoeing in bear country. Don't have any food in your tent. Don't cook near your tent. Put your food in sealed plastic bags, and suspend your food bag by putting a rope on it and throwing the rope over a high tree branch. If you can get your food 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet from the branch, you should be good. I usually store the food 100 yards from the tent.

From my experience you are more likely to encounter nuisance animals near organized campsites where the animals come to know that there is food there, and lose their fear of humans than in the wild.
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Old 05-02-14, 08:09 AM
  #12  
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[QUOTE=valygrl;16721269
The most dangerous thing out there is cars.
Have a great trip!![/QUOTE]

+1 ^ very true
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Old 05-02-14, 08:37 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
If you are concerned about wildlife of any kind, you may wish to carry easily accessible BEAR SPRAY which can be purchased at R.E.I. , learn how to use it. You can even bring it into your tent at night, ( I do ).
I too think you should be fine. The statement above makes a great deal of sense. However, in planing a trip to Yellowstone last year, a neighbor of mine here in NC FL, a retired National Park Ranger, told me to be sure to take pepper spray and a whistle. And he told me I should know the difference between grizzly bear and black/brown bear scat. When I told him I didn't know and how can you tell his reply was "the grizzly bear scat was the one with the pepper spray can and whistle in it." Enjoy your trip.
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Old 05-02-14, 12:12 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Hauptmann6 View Post
Carry a high quality pepper spray(Fox Labs is one of the best). And know how to use it.
I'd be interested to know how folks feel about pepper spray vs. bear spray.

I have some practical experience with bear spray, in my lower income area loose dogs are frequent. Almost all can be bluffed off with a firm stance and a loud "Go Home!", once in a while you run into one that is genuinely agressive. The biggest problem I've had is with an occasional loose dog homing in on my own dogs while I'm walking them.

So far I have resorted to bear spray six times in the last ten years or so, always on loose dogs, always still charging after having ignored my shouting. Five out of six times it worked like a charm; one rottweiler, one boxer, two pits and a big yellow mutt, even though I actually missed the dog in every case (bear sprays tend to shoot low). In each case the dog turned on a dime, startled by the blast. The one case where this wasn't true was a big rottweiler already in contact, chasing my dog in tight circles trying to fight it. In that case one long blast to the face and it disengaged to rub its face in the grass.

The big advantage over smaller pepper sprays IMHO is that bear spray projects far further, out to at least twenty or thirty feet sorta like a fire extinguisher, certainly that was a great asset when deterring inbound dogs, would probably help if deterring human aggressors too. The other thing is capacity, the 9oz sizes are good for a six-second blast, and they do make 12 oz sizes.

The only caveat is the same one that applies to knives and firearms. IIRC there are some places where bear spray and/or regular pepper sprays are illegal too.

Mike

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Old 05-02-14, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
I'd be interested to know how folks feel about pepper spray vs. bear spray.
Bear spray is pepper spray. Same active ingredient. It just has a more PC name and is intended to be used on wildlife. You can get pepper spray that discharges in a stream instead of a fog.

Many states have a limit on size that you can carry. If you are in the woods and carrying a large can, it will probably be overlooked. But if you have a large can of bear mace in town, it might not be.
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Old 05-03-14, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
I'm a 36 year old male, 6'2" tall, and was 210 pounds last year when I did my first tour. I also got those same comments.

What you're doing is weird and unknown to most people. This is bound to garner you some well intentioned but misplaced concern. Common sense precautions are all that's nessesarey (IMO, anyway)
With all due respect, people weren't telling you to be safe for the same reasons they were telling the OP to be safe.

Now, to be clear, I don't think what the OP is suggesting is particularly risky, at least not any more than any other kind of traveling alone. However, I think it's important to address that her situation is simply not the same as a large male traveling alone.
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Old 05-03-14, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jtgotsjets View Post
With all due respect, people weren't telling you to be safe for the same reasons they were telling the OP to be safe.
You may well be right, but that's an inference you're making on your own. I assume you say that because she said 20 something female. My point was (albeit poorly articulated) that [my opinion is that] the concern is not from her age and gender, but that she wants to travel by bicycle a great distance while camping. The risks to her are the for the most part the same they would be for anyone.

She could be a 6' 0" 180 lb MMA fighter. Are we still concerned about her safety for the same reasons?

Perhaps the OP could clarify what sort of concerns people have; that information was also omitted.
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Old 05-03-14, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
You may well be right, but that's an inference you're making on your own. I assume you say that because she said 20 something female. My point was (albeit poorly articulated) that [my opinion is that] the concern is not from her age and gender, but that she wants to travel by bicycle a great distance while camping.
And my point is that it's really easy for a six foot tall man to say that.
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Old 05-03-14, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jtgotsjets View Post
And my point is that it's really easy for a six foot tall man to say that.
6' 2", lets keep this fact based.

I'll wait and see if the OP wants to clarify the concerns she's hearing, otherwise I'm sticking with my original post.
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Old 05-06-14, 03:09 PM
  #20  
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Life is a numbers game whether we like it or not. If a female takes enough solo trips it's just a matter of time before some psycho takes advantage of the situation. As a matter of fact, the same can be said for a smaller and older male such as myself. That's why I carry pepper spray and my Roscoe. You pays yer money and you takes yer chances, that's the way it's always been and the way it'll always be.
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Old 05-06-14, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
I'm a 36 year old male, 6'2" tall, and was 210 pounds last year when I did my first tour. I also got those same comments.

What you're doing is weird and unknown to most people. This is bound to garner you some well intentioned but misplaced concern. Common sense precautions are all that's nessesarey (IMO, anyway)
I think this is key. I am a 6' tall dude with a beard, and I have people saying to me "How could you!" all the time. The world is a safer place than most people think, and a good eye for trouble in your surroundings is all you really need to avoid 99% of dangers.

The other 1%... well, you can't live life in the safety of your bedroom!
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