Self-Protection on a Cycle
There are some surprisingly useful tips in this turn-of-the-century magazine.
“How you may Best Defend Yourself when Attacked by Modern Highwaymen, Showing how you should Act when Menaced by Foot-pads, when Chased by another Cyclist, and when Attacked under various other Circumstances; Showing, also, how the Cycle may be used as a Weapon.”
I would pay to watch someone leap from a bike moving at a fairly good pace into an attacker.
I really enjoy those drawings.
“The tramp is taken unawares.”
I just found a place that is giving a 6-week women’s self defense class in Regent Square in Sept & Oct. It looks basic, but I am thinking about taking it. I just wrote to see if they have anything specific to cyclists. If anyone else is interested, PM me for details.
I love these so much. Thank you for posting this. Made my day!
^ Check Sheila Hanlon’s web site for some amazing photos about cycling & British suffragettes. She keeps posting new stuff.
Once, towards the latter part of last century, I was approached by four misguided youths as I pedacyled along Reynolds Avenue one fine evening. They were arrayed accross the byway in a manner that indicated their intent was to impede my progress and, indeed, to assault my person.
I used this situation as an opportunity to empirically test the method of riding point blank at one tramp in the center of the company of footpads.
As I approached the ne’er-do-wells, I was frightened as they seemed disinclined to make way for an honest velopedist.
I flipped my light up to point in my chosen miscreant’s face and accelerated when I was about 3 yards away, though. At that point my anxiety rapidly dissipated.
The lout reacted by seeking shelter behind his nearest confederate.
I steered my trusty pedal-driven vehicle to keep my chosen ruffian in the center of head lamp.
The particular delinquent behind whom my target sheltered himself joined his companion in rapidly vacating the scene immediately.
The pair roughly knocked one of their hooligan companions as the footpads retreated to the left.
I passed through unharmed and even exhilarated by the encounter.
So I have found Mr Tindal’s method of point blank steering towards a menacing figure in the road to be an efficacious technique.
I must dissent however from his suggestion that you swerve at the lat moment. In my opinion, avoiding a physical collison is best left to the wiles of the assailants and should be of no concern to intrepid cyclist.
@mick: The efficacy, both of terror produced and of flesh rended, is most mightily well augmented by utilizing a velocipedal steed possessing a 52-tooth chainring, akin to a spinning saw blade of frightening size, affixed firmly to the front of said pedal-powered contrivance.
Ergo, witness the following example, and contemplate the emotions most common-or-garden miscreants would feel at having such a device come arrow-straight towards their waistline…
^ Aye, and the wild disheveled look of said pedacycalist glaring through vast quantities of bushed facial hair would certainly be a menacing sight.
That was good, thanks Pseudacris.
I always thought that Jackie Chan incorporated a lot of Curly Howard into his acting.
I came across this for self-defense http://www.youtube.com/user/competitivecyclist#p/u/0/abIz1KZOOzg.
^ thank you for this link. I do often carry pepper spray, but I don’t feel 100% confident about having to use it. It can blow back on you or further agitate the attacker (both of which happened to a friend of mine). But, I still have a can of it.
The Kimber spray is not as good as some of the alternatives. Something like the Fox Labs OC spray with a cone fog tip will be better. The 2oz size is manageable.
i always carry a knife with a lock that can be flipped open with one hand (or opens automatically, which is illegal) I’ve taken it out twice in the last month but haven’t used it against a person (i cut a fishing line that someone was trying to hook me with though).
A fixed blade knife on a messenger bag strap could work, but remember that anything you have or take out to use to defend yourself could be taken away and used on you. That is not to say do not have something, but instead find a resource to teach you how to properly use it.
For what it’s worth, I don’t ride without something at all. Too much harassment, especially these past few weeks.
The problem I have with knives and other offensive weapons is the fact that most of the hooligans are kids. I really don’t want to cut a 14 or 15 year old kid. I prefer defensive things like pepper spray.
I know how big they are now but they still are kids, and gonna find a way to stop them not beat them to a pulp. 14 is still a baby to me. A really really really bad baby
I dunno…to me, accepting age as a reason to be more forgiving of assault sounds like a bad idea…much like, for example, letting someone off the hook for vehicular homicide because they’re not even 18…
As a general matter, I don’t think we want to respond with violence regardless of age
+1 @Pierce. Evasion is usually a better idea, if at all possible.
The question becomes what to do when you can’t evade…that’s something that each person needs to decide for themselves (preferably in advance).
@ reddan I agree, Thats why I put a link up about the Kimber PepperBlaster II, because I would love to hit one of those Rugrats in the head with a blast of pepper spray.I’m not comfortable using knives and other weapons on them, I like non lethal options like stun guns and pepper spray. Theses kids are out there stabbing, shooting and killing each other I don’t want to help the saluter of our youth even if the try to steal my bag.
@Pierce, I don’t think anyone is saying a violent response is the first choice, but if it is not on the list you have in your head you should really consider two responses, evasion and compliance. Being prepared to pepper spray/stab/fight/shoot/etc them does not mean you end up doing it, it merely means you don’t figure this stuff out when your heart rate is crazy.
On pepper spray, be very weary of its effectiveness. If you look into it, you will see the Kimber one is small and the lower volume could be limiting. It is also not instant.
Having a spare wallet to toss to them or something to distract them to ride off might be the best option.
As far as age goes, ignore it. How many of these 14 year olds get away with what they do because people feel bad for them?
I think the spare wallet idea is brilliant. Toss an old wallet with a $5 bill in it to distract them while you get away might save your butt.
I just signed up for a 6-week womens self defense class. It would be great if there were one available specifically for cyclists…
A spare cell phone, like one you can get for cheap that is prepaid goes a little further.
@pseudacris, where is this class at?
spare phone and wallet with 5 or 10 singles in it plus some of those fake credit cards you get with the pre-selected offers.
@ Pseudacris your gonna be like a bike riding super hero pounding any hooligan that harasses bike riders. You’ll be the first Bike Avenger
You guys think a spare wallet is going to work more than once? If anything its going to make them more aggressive when they realize these wallets they’re getting handed are fakes. Also just want to add, if they are acting like this at 14-15 its only going to get worse, too bad the police in this city are worthless. They’re too busy sitting at construction zones to actually be doing anything useful.
i did all kinds of things at that age that i don’t think is so hot anymore… hormones and peer pressure max out then, just because kids are doing things at this age doesn’t mean they are going to turn out to be murders or hold up banks… this is just the way things are.
I too did things I regret, and all it took was one person to reach out to me and give my life positive meaning to change me at the age of 16. I never looked back or backslid.
@mark: I did dumb stuff too…but there’s a big difference between tagging a fence or shoplifting a Snickers and, say, assaulting strangers.
We cannot excuse this kind of behavior with “this is just the way things are.” It doesn’t matter how they may hypothetically turn out when they grow up…they are, right now, doing some horribly antisocial things that may result in someone getting hurt or dying.
This isn’t about race, or poverty, or age. It doesn’t matter if it’s teenagers in East Lib, frat boys in Oakland, or hicks in pickups in the boonies of York County. No-one has an excuse to do this.
Sorry for the rant, and it’s not directed at anyone in particular, but I’ve gotten really tired of hearing excuse after excuse after excuse for people fucking up. “The sun was in her eyes.” “His flip-flop was stuck.” “I was a little buzzed.” “They’re just angry kids.” “They don’t know any better.” It’s bad enough to excuse carelessness, but to excuse active malevolence?
What exactly do you expect the police to do? The police can’t make people outstanding, civil humans. They can’t guard the ELBL every time a cyclist rolls through.
Our prison industrial complex certainly can’t. These kids are fucked up in a big way. I’m not sure what needs they’re meeting attacking people nor what the alternative solution is. No excuses.
Im not saying I have all the answers, nor that there is a quick fix, Im saying that something needs to be done. Like Mark’s response, “oh they’re just kids” what a crock of shit. Trying to jump someone riding their bike is not a harmless teenage thing to do. On top of that you guys are saying “well just give them ten bucks and a shitty phone and they’ll leave you alone,” get real that shit wont work for a second.
The police in Pittsburgh have ZERO presence in the community, they also dont have much respect, two things that go hand in hand. I personally wouldnt trust the PPD to protect me, their ineffectiveness and the fact they can never be found have made me take a proactive response to my own safety.
One thing I never ever ever ever said in any of my posts was to give any of them a free pass, nor have I made excuses for their behavior. In fact I want justice for every bike rider assaulted. I’m just not comfortable with lethal force, thats all I’m saying. Your right a fake wallet probable wont work but I just don’t know what to do. Self-defense classes are a good idea but not enough, aside from becoming just like them all I can think of is ways to escape and call the police when I do. But if escape is not an option what should we do.
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