Hey all, I’m moving to London Ontario, which is nothing compared to US gangs I’m sure, but there is a rise in youth gangs activity. Someone even just got beat with a crowbar in broad daylight (innocent bystander)
My question is…has anyone ever had to deal with bullies while on your ride? If I were a teenage crack addict with too much agression, I’d just as soon knock a unicyclist of his ride with my crowbar, than a guy walking down the road.
Obviously the city isn’t overrun, but I’ll definetly always have it on my mind.
dealing with bullies
The only experience I’ve had with the sort of thing you’re anxious about is the following:
I was doing my regular training circuit on my roadbike through Schenley Park in Pittsburgh back in '85 or so, cruising uphill through the golf course in the bike lane at a pretty good clip, when two goofers with their goofbags started to cross the road in front of me. They stopped on the yellow line in the middle of the road, watched me continue in their direction, and when I was a mere 2 meters away, decided to suddenly scoot in front of me. I swerved slightly without slowing down, came nowhere near hitting them, they toddled off to the next tee, and I kept spinning up the hill. Next thing I knew, a pair of Pittsburgh’s finest was keeping pace alongside me, and the cop on the passenger side was hanging halfway out his window, screaming about how I almost hit the poor goofers, and “you guys never wanna stop for stopsigns or anything, blah blah blah blah blah” and went on ranting, blaming me for and accusing me of all the sins of the cyclists of the world. When it seemed like he was finished (he pulled his upper body back into the cruiser), I said, “Well, you have a nice day.” The next thing I knew, he was getting out of the (moving) police car, and lumbering towards me. He grabbed my handlebars as he straddled my front wheel (I had stopped now), and, shaking my handlebars up and down, he screamed/spat in my face, “Don’t you give me ‘Have a nice day’! I’ll knock you down!” and proceeded to repeat his previous harangue. His partner stopped the cruiser, and directed traffic slowly around while everyone in their cars gawked at the cop shaking my bike. I thought, “Should I hit him before he hits me?” I had my Kryptonite bike lock in its seatpost clamp, and it would have been easy enough to reach down and swing it up and crack him before he cracketh unto me. Then I realized that it would only be a matter of minutes before I was ground into golf course fertilizer by however many cops happened to be within a 10-minute tire-burn of the park. So I just waited, he finished his spewing, and he got in the police car and left.
If you’re on a uni, you have an advantage over a bicyclist, your hands are free. Carry an aluminum baseball bat. If the cops ask you, you’re going to baseball practice. If the non-uniformed idiots see you; you don’t look like a victim, and they’ll leave you alone. Be polite to the cops, though.
i carry mace,just remember to allways take note of wind direction and take in a deep breath before spraying it.
Re: moving to a city with Gang activity
> He grabbed my handlebars as he straddled my front wheel (I had stopped
> now), and, shaking my handlebars up and down, he screamed/spat in my
> face, “Don’t you give me ‘Have a nice day’! I’ll knock you down!” and
> proceeded to repeat his previous harangue. His partner stopped the
> cruiser, and directed traffic slowly around while everyone in their cars
> gawked at the cop shaking my bike.
I don’t know how you complain about police misbehaviour over there, but if
something like that happened to me then the result would be a letter to the
Chief Constable with the moron’s number (do Merkin cops wear their numbers
on their shoulders, where they’re clearly visible?).
I hope you made some sort of official complaint, anyway.
Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny )
Recumbent cycle page: http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/
“Coarseness and vulgarity are unforgivable in a lady; that’s the man’s
job” - Marge Simpson
To return to the original question, and give a boringly sensible answer…
I don’t want to get into a mine’s-the-most-violent-city competition that I’m sure I’d lose against the Colonials in the forum, but Nottingham, England, is allegedly the most violent city in England, outside of London. We average one gang-related shooting a week throughout the year. Most Nottinghamians have never seen a serious crime being committed. My job occasionally takes me into some of the roughest areas of our patch, and the worst I’ve ever had is my car window broken and my wireless stolen.
Most big places with bad reputations get that reputation from one or two small areas. If you choose where to ride, and when to ride, you will probably never have a problem. Believe the media, and you’ll never go out at all.