Early morning scare
Well my girlfriend just got home from work and told me that this morning on her way in to work, at 545 am on friendship ave just before the park, a shady looking guy that was up ahead started to watch her and moved out to the road. It looked like he was gonna jump out in front of her. As she got closer he started moving faster. She then stepped on it and went over to the other side of the road as she passed him, not giving him a chance to grab at her. She says she is positive that he was trying to jump her and was pretty scared. Tomorrow she plans on going in a different route.
So does anyone know where I can get some handlebar mounted mace? I am also interested in hearing what people think about shutting off your lights while riding in the early morning hours on quiet roads
Willie I’m glad you’re GF is ok. I think what she did -paying attention to your surroundings- is the first line of defense, and good for her to recognize a threat way in advance. I’m not real confident of pepper sprays because you must get it in the perps face for it to be effective. The time taken to get the spray out and pointed in the right direction could be better spent trying to get away from the threat.
I would also suggest having her file a police report. I know it seams pointless, but if you don’t let them know there is a problem how are they suppose to fix it?
Very happy to hear she’s ok.
Interestingly, the topic of riding with a can of mace came up this past weekend. I thought of handlebars, or maybe something that would attach to clothing.
Does anyone know if runners carry mace, or how they do it?
I have a little can of it that I keep in my car. It’s the size of a bic lighter. It comes in a little holster that I think has a clip on device. Otherwise, I was thinking I could run a piece of velcro through the holster, or just around the whole can, and stick it to just about anything. I don’t know how it would hold up over potholes and other rough terrain, however, which is why I was thinking it would be better to keep it on my body, rather than on the bike. Less chance of leaving it on the bike when I parked it, too.
Spraying mace while on a bike seems like a bad idea since you would be riding into it and some would blow back on you. I prefer the U-lock to the face.
I’ve heard a can of wasp spray has a farther reach than Mace (and is legal in some places mace may not be). I’ve never used any, and don’t ever plan on it.
When I’m headed through any places where I visibly have more assets/resources than the bulk of the population that lives there, I turn off my headlights, but leave my rear lights on (do NOT want to get rearended, and I figure I can outpace anybody on foot). I cruise slow enough to hear cars and people (rather than just the wind rushing gloriously in my ears), and I keep an eye out. Those times of day in those places, if there are no cars, I don’t wait out red lights, and I avoid streets with bike lanes/sharrows.
Happily, I’ve never been in your GF’s situation. But sometimes I’ve taken roads where I’m more likely to get hit rather than take roads where I’m more likely to get jumped. I hate that choice.
Make sure she files a police report, if nothing else it’s probably harassment. At least telling the cops it’s going on gives it visibility it doesn’t have just reporting to the board.
Friendship park is mugging central of the entire neighborhood. I don’t go near that place after dark.
I’m sorry that happened to her: very scary. I’ve known people who’ve carried red pepper spray on their keychains (including me in the past). But the one time a friend actually had to use it, it made the situation worse. It got all over her *and the attacker, and only angered him and escalated a basic purse snatching into a more violent situation. (this was not in Pittsburgh) I don’t have any direct experience with the stuff, but I think it would be important to get tips on how to actually use it ‘else it is pretty easy to deploy against oneself, depending on wind direction &tc.
I carry a really loud whistle (NFL referee-style) in the hopes of attracting more attention, but I’ve never had to use it.
I hope your girlfriend files a report ’cause that can lead to increased patrols in the area.
I know somebody that’s lived across the street from Friendship park for 2+ years and never had a problem. I’ve left late many times and never had a problem.
As for handlebar mounted mace, if you can get a nylon belt cell phone holster, you could fit a can of mace in it.
Mace is definitely a good idea, probably the best balance of several compromises between size, nonlethality, no big deal if used against you, and cost. Just be savvy to windspeed and direction! I’m interested in getting a helmet camera for this and related type encounters too. Anyone have one they recommend?
I debate packing something heavier, as when touring through the southwest bear country, but the likely scenarios in the city are stacked against the cyclist. If you have the time to get it out, you probably could get away.
My wife has this for her pepper spray
LIke concern that has been expressed above, you have to be very careful in using mace or pepper spray while moving because of blowback, etc. I would suggest looking for a variety for pepper spray that uses more of a stream or perhaps some of the foam based ones.
If you have the time to spray at something other than a dog while riding by them on a bicycle, you almost certainly have the time to change direction like Willie’s GF. If you are really faced with the reality of fighting back, get off your bike before you get knocked off and can’t fight. Not to mention the possibility of being arrested for a drive-by spraying. This world is brutal sometimes.
This thingy looks pretty good, ride with it strapped right on the back of your hand:
or just search “pepper spray for joggers”.
Also comes in a gel so it wouldn’t blow back.
After thinking this over, I would say if your going to carry pepper spray, carry it on you and not on the bike, because the first thing the baddy is going to do is try and dump you off.
Priority one should be, try and get away on the bike,
two, if necesary, ditch the bike and run,
three, spray the person, or rake them with keys, or kick them hard in the berries, whatever it takes.
three should be, “smack them in the face with the u-lock you pulled out of your back pocket at the first sign of danger.”
Some tips from the good old days.
Yeah after yesterday morning then the encounter we had with some teenage kids that stole one of my friends helmets yesterday afternoon she is pretty scared. She went down liberty to penn instead today. Also she rode with her ulock in hand.
Have no idea how this holds enough pepper spray…
He comes silently, and passes swiftly, like a spirit.
i would if you want to mount it to your bike (or have it in general), i would probably suggest pepper spray foam. then you won’t have any blowing back at you. plus foam will usually expand so i would think it would cover the attacker better. amazon has a lot:
you can get ones with UV dye!
SO COULD YOU POST A DESCRIPTION of this asshole please? I ride through that very spot in the dark often and want to know who to look out for/when to wield my u-lock.
To deliver a blow whilst riding — say, at the head of an objectionable small boy who has been indulging in the dangerous practice of throwing a cap at your wheel, and stands in need of punishment
I love it. br00tal.
Tall skinny black guy with a heinz ward jersey and timberland boots.
Don’t take this the wrong way, Noah. If you go out looking for a fight, you’re going to find one.
I wish you were joking with that description but I know you’re not.
Definitely kill front light if you don’t need it. Don’t advertise your presence. Zone 5 cops recommended it during the rash of ELB assaults earlier this year. Avoid side streets like Friendship & stick to arteries, at 5:45 am they’re pretty clear.
Always be thinking and calculate escape routes as you ride. This goes for traffic too. I’ve avoided getting Pittsburgh-lefted countless times by hooking a quick right.
If you do get caught, kick like hell & aim for groin / throat / head. I’ve often wondered what a carbon soled shoe would do to someone’s teeth when backed by hill climbing quads.
@Illie Yeah after yesterday morning then the encounter we had with some teenage kids that stole one of my friends helmets yesterday afternoon she is pretty scared
Sound like a helluva day. No wonder she’s spooked. I would be home hiding under my bed after a day like that. Twirling my ulock as I ride on crowded streets in the noon-time sun.
Very strange – afternoons and (oddly) 5:45 am are usually safe times. Pre-dawn doesnt’ feel safe, but not much happens then. (shrug) Crime happens anytime, I guess.
Tall skinny black guy with a heinz ward jersey and timberland boots.
Crap, in Pittsburgh, that could be anyone.
Thanks for the heads up and I hope that your girlfriend is doing OK.
Shit I’m pretty scared myself. After that stand off over the helmet I didn’t sleep much last night.
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