f*ck the police

Can I put myself down as the first person to be pigged for extreme pootling?

I was out at work at 4 o’clock and we finished up and off I went. No unicycle cos I had to be at a pub up in town at 6.30, so I had a couple of hours to kill and pootling was the order of the day. So I pootled across London as one does and did some absolutely wrong moves off the back of some benches and bollards in Ravenscourt park. Even found a cone although my coning is pretty lame at the moment. I’m getting jumping to balance sorted now and 180s & 360s on rails are down.

I got a bit bored of the West London thing and headed out on the tube to skip the rush hour up to the North Bank down by the Houses of Parliament.

So now I’m down by Westminster on the embankment and spot this beautfiul rail, it’s like 60 foot long, 4 foot up on one side, 6 foot the other, with a diagonal profile making it not too easy to balance. So of course it’s saying “balance on me baby you know you want to”. Being unable to resist this evil siren’s call I stood back, took a run-up and leapt onto the rail and pulled a perfect balance, like you never do, like totally out of place given my current level of skills, I was up there and balancing and bouncing up and down and owning that rail. When suddenly this guy pops out of a van next to the road and says you can’t do that. So I get down at which point I notice he’s one of the Metropolitan Police’s finest and the van is full of everyone’s favourite police force.

Of course, living with a lawyer, I’m pretty much in favour of standing up for your rights, so I ask him, which law I’m breaking, he says “the law of common sense”. He follows this with the cunning argument “if kids saw you doing that they might try it and hurt themselves” but doesn’t have anything to say when I say that he could say the same about the 100s of people driving past on the big main road there. I had a big argument with him and his female colleague, they were basically saying that if I stacked bad they’d have to pick me up and I should "go to the fcking circus" load of other pretty rubbish arguments. In the end I got annoyed with it and asked them for their numbers and stations and then told them I’d fck off to somewhere they couldn’t see me and do some balance work there and catch me if you can.

grrr. Usually I quite like the police, but at the moment I’m really pissed off with them, just because of these two ignorant dogsbodies. I don’t have any problem if I’m on private land or damaging something, then it’s perfectly right of them or of security guards to tell me what I’m doing is out of order and I’ll go straight away, but when they hassle me when I’m just having fun in public, albeit in an unconventional way, they should jolly well let me.

By the way, respect is due to the nice police woman who watched us doing trials and talked to us on the last EMU ride

Joe

Joe,

I’m all for originality and all, but… feel free to ask 'em next time if they know who Joseph Stalin is- it works wonders. Remeber to have fun with it- your Coppers don’t carry pistolays, ya?

I wonder if they stay awake at night thinking up stuff to say to the public?

Nice read, send more.

-Christopher

pootling?

I’m not English, and I have only been unicycling for three months, so either of those may contribute to the fact that I don’t know what “pootling” is. So you were “pootling” on that rail, or were you unicycling on that rail? Please someone tell me what pootling is!

thanks

Re: pootling?

i speak english and i’m not quite sure myself!

joe, remind me to buy u a beer when we meet

pootling is a word that means sort of wandering around not doing very much of use, like walking round the park or going for a walk up in town.

extreme pootling is similar, but the not very much you’re doing tends to involve jumping off things, coneing, balancing on stuff, running up walls, that sort of thing. Basically it’s using the environment you’re in and any found objects as a playground. It’s a great thing for when you’re going somewhere and don’t have a unicycle with you. It’s kind of like trials but without bringing the unicycle. It’s also obligatory to use silly skater speak to describe things you do, you didn’t jump up onto that bench and balance on it then jump off whilst spinning round, you pulled a rail stand to 360 down and it was like sick duuuude. It’s not entirely serious.

Some people do things like freestyle walking and soap shoe stuff which is similar, but not so flexible, cos they don’t play with any stuff they find and tend to focus loads on grinds if they’ve got soap shoes or jumps otherwise. Soap shoes are cheating anyway, if you’ve got to remember to take equipment that kind of destroys the point of it, it’s for wasting time when you don’t have stuff with you.

Like maybe you go down the park, find a cone and do some tricks on that, then you see a bench and do a running jump to a balance on the back of the bench, maybe you find some rails to play on, rails and posts have loads of possibilities for doing stupid things. Like those bike attaching rails that come in sets of four or five, you can balance on them and jump from rail to rail, when that gets easy you can try putting 180s and 360s into the jumps. Cones and bollards and things like that offer lots of fun posibilities, you can do stuff like 360 spins and cone walks, or even take them up high and do trials on them. Crates or pallets offer those with significantly less survival instinct than me the opportunity to try for a stair ride or something.

It makes walking to places much more interesting and it’s so cool cos you can do it pretty much anywhere and any time, once you start looking for obstacles, you realise they’re everywhere, lampposts, railings, walls, signs etc. Kind of like trials obstacles but much much more so cos you’ve got that much more flexibility in the moves and you can jump higher and balance easier and stuff.

I’ve discovered that unicycling seems to really help sideways balance, but not so much forwards and backwards, I had real problems with a running jump to a rail (on foot, I’m nowhere near on a unicycle) until I turned side on when I landed and it was pretty easy, doing things on foot you have to balance both ways a lot more.

Joe

An old mate of mine and I used to run around town (To train for an endurance rogaining event) and do ‘urban trials’. We found it worked us a lot harder than just running on a trail and was heaps more fun.
Wall runs, jumping, 360’s, flips off rails/walls/etc etc…using objects to flip off…all great fun.
As for sap shoes, do you mean rubbing a bit of soap to the soles of your joggers to make sliding down rails easier? cause we did that too.
Now hes moved away so there be no more running around doing stupid stuff.

I lived in the centre of Amsterdam. Around the corner is a pedestrian area, a very long shopping street. This guy can’t hardly walk, as you can tell from the length (less than half her legs) an its position. And so he was using his 20" (or less) bicycle as substitute for a wheelchair. See the wallet? He had to pay!

temp.jpg

Soap-shoes are shoes you can buy at skate-shops, with a special tuff plastic sole, in a shape yo can “grind” (BMX slang?) from handrails and stuff.

Dude, that’s like, “TOTALLY WRONG” man.

Extreme Pootling rocks to the max! Damn pigs.
When the cone revolition comes they’ll be the first against the wall.

Actually that does really suck - you’re right though, that woman PC was pretty cool on the EMU.

They were probably just bored whilst waiting to arrest someone. police suck like that.

Ah well - sorry to hear that joe - hope they leave you alone next time.

I know common sense isn’t a law, but what’s wrong with it besides?

Look at it from the cop’s point of view. Here’s this guy balancing and jumping on a “dangerous” rail. What if he falls and gets injured, or worse, falls and injures someone else? And if, while all this happens, I am sitting here in this van supposedly working but actually not doing anything. What will this look like on my report?

It’s one thing if the accident happens when they’re not there. Then they could not have stopped it. But since they are there, they would rather not let it start. This is why a lot of the time police and security guards, when they’re in a nice mood, tell you to go off somewhere as long as they can’t see you.

Do you really think they live to listen to arguments from sidewalk lawyers every day while they are (supposedly) working to protect you and your fellow citizens? Cops have a hard and thankless job. They would take a bullet for you (at least before you give them a hard time). Can you say the same for yourself?

John Foss,
Devil’s advocate

well, you get such a american way of live.
(with such a common sence as in this example).

Working to protect people can go too far.

Especially when they excede their authoroty. Street surfing or extreme pootling is only ever dangerous to the pootler. it never does any damage.

It psses me off when the police intervene when what your doing is legal, even if it is stupid. The big trouble is you can’t tell them to Pss off because they’ll nick you for being awkward

It’s a persons right to be stupid if they want, it’s fun.

encouraging as many people as possible to ride one wheeled bicycles is hardly common sense,

john, pretend you don’t know anything about unicycling,
what would you think if somebody rode past you on a unicycle in a public place? you wouldn’t think,“now theres a guy with loads of common sense” would you?

it seems to me that most of us are here (correct me if i’m wrong) because we enjoy doing the extra-ordinary, the pointless and the absurd. because we like it, no other justification needed.

i’ve never heard the word “plooting” before, we refer to it as “pure trials” can you get from that window to that door without touching the ground.?
i suppose you could call plooting the non compeitive version.

There’s a lot wrong with common sense. Especially in the case of the Metropolitan Police.

Using common sense relies heavily on the prejudices of the individual concerned, for example, until quite recently it was “common sense” in the met police force that african and asian people were much more likely to become criminals, which meant that they went to predominantly black areas stopped and searched pretty much anyone young and male, which has lead to huge mistrust of the police in those areas. Unfortunately, the statistics did not back this up, so basically they were just acting out their prejudices under the guise of common sense. It was also common sense that people who went to demonstrations were hippy scum and were all incredibly violent and before several mayday demonstrations the police were quite public about this assumption, which turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the police said “this is going to be a riot” so stopping many people who didn’t want a riot turning up and even getting people who just wanted a fight and didn’t care about the issues at all turning up, football gangs etc. Intuition also led to them shooting dead a guy who was carrying a table leg in a bag because they’d been told he had an ‘irish accent’ so was obviously a member of the IRA. It turned out he was scottish and had a table which needed a new leg, but the officers got off anyway, despite shooting someone randomly without any provocation. The idea that intuition is king breeds the sort of atmosphere that led to the Rodney King beatings in LA if the intuition is never questioned.

In the Metropolitan Police at least, so called common sense has lead to several incredibly bad things, so you’d think they would at least be trying to be a bit less prejudiced against things they don’t understand by now.

Obviously telling someone to stop being an idiot on the street is in no way on the same scale. But it’s a symptom of the same thing, fear of the unknown masquerading as common sense. At the time I was doing this, loads of people were driving past on the road in huge heavy vehicles and on bikes, an activity that has to be more dangerous than balancing on a rail. There are also loads of people skating in the area, falling over and jumping 4 foot drops all the time, that’s gotta be more dangerous. There’s a really fat guy coming along drinking beer and eating a hot dog, being obese and drinking too much has gotta be more dangerous than doing pretty much any sporting activity. The only difference between these everyday dangerous activities and the one I’d chosen to do is that it is unconventional and they weren’t willing to try to understand it.

Personally, any time I get told not to do anything in public, I expect to be told a rational reason unless it’s obvious, like I’m on a piece of private property and the owners don’t want me to. If the police are telling me not to do anything, I’ll stop, but they should give me a rational explanation for it and be willing to back it up. Especially if they’re all just sitting around doing nothing which the ones around Westminster are at the moment (they’re on standby in case of a terrorist attack), obviously if they’re hot footing it after a criminal I don’t expect them to hang around to explain themselves.

Joe

Re: f*ck the police

johnfoss wrote:
> I know common sense isn’t a law, but what’s wrong with it besides?

Lots. When prudence and freedom conflict, freedom should win.
>
> Look at it from the cop’s point of view. Here’s this guy balancing and
> jumping on a “dangerous” rail. What if he falls and gets injured, or
> worse, falls and injures someone else? And if, while all this
> happens, I am sitting here in this van supposedly working but
> actually not doing anything. What will this look like on my report?

Like you’re not a pushy unconstitutional busybody?
>
> It’s one thing if the accident happens when they’re not there. Then
> they could not have stopped it. But since they are there, they would
> rather not let it start. This is why a lot of the time police and
> security guards, when they’re in a nice mood, tell you to go off
> somewhere as long as they can’t see you.

And for related but different reasons, why I don’t mind avoiding them.
>
> Do you really think they live to listen to arguments from sidewalk
> lawyers every day while they are (supposedly) working to protect you
> and your fellow citizens? Cops have a hard and thankless job.

They get money and medals and pensions and perks, hardly thankless. And if
they didn’t insist on violating one’s rights, they wouldn’t have to hear the
legal arguments.

They
> would take a bullet for you (at least before you give them a hard
> time). Can you say the same for yourself?

Would I take a bullet for myself? Uh…
>
> John Foss,
> Devil’s advocate

Devil’s indeed.

the fact that it isn’t nearly as common as it’s name would want to imply?
the fact that calling on ‘common sense’ is very closely related to starting a sentence ‘as everybody knows…’
it’s a false premise and is (far too) often used to create a dodgy basis for the argument that follows

fun discussion gents, i’m enjoying this thread
i wish all our discussions on this forum could be as well thought thru and rationally argued as this one

Depending on the current mood and disposition of the cop, the current political climate, and (in many places), the time of the month, ANYBODY can be prone to undue harrassment by cops for all sorts of reasons.

You could be doing extreme pootling, or you could just so happen to be sporting a fat tire between your legs. Or you could simply have the wrong color skin.

It’s all a question of the degree to which you “stand out” in a given environment and the factors mentioned above affecting those who “enforce” our laws.

You might, in many cases get by with extreme pootling. Throw a fat tire, some armor and a helmet, into the mix, do it in the wrong neighborhood, and suddenly your REALLY stand out. In your mind, the fat tire is no more risky, just different. To you, it’s like walking. In the cops mind, you are a target.

The thought process of the NYC cop goes something like this:

Nearing the end of the month? Damn, gotta fill that quota, but must have more donuts.
Hmm…there’s a guy on a wheel (registers bicycle) on sidewalk.
Easy. Give HIM a ticket.
When done, resume stuffing face with donuts and bad coffee.

It needn’t be a unicycle. Fill in the blank with easy target of choice.

Plain and simple. In these situations the law is IRRELEVANT. The point is, do you want to be hassled by the cops? Spend time in court fighting it? I just went through this.

How about this? Ride your unicycle SLOWLY down the center lane of a busy urban street wearing a t-shirt emblazoned

“George Bush and Tony Blair - public enemy number one.”

Probably legal. How long before a cop is interfering with you?

Joe