Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, MN> which is just outside of St. Paul. We live in the St. Croix Rivervalley on 4 acres.
    Posts
    12

    Touring and underattack

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    Well this happened along time ago but it is worth recanting. Went on a long week end bike tour with a friend of mine riding the wisconsin hills and decided to camp in a little city park and campground in Stockholm, Wisconsin. We left our bikes leaned up on a tree near our tent. Mine is small as am I and my friend is pretty tall so of course had a bigger bike. No one was camping except us. Well....about 1-2:00 am we are awakened with the sound of a bunch of teenage boys building a fire about 100 feet from our tent. They were making the usual conversation and drinking (we could hear bottles smashing)...well we were petrified. Then to make matters worse they walked by our tent (crunch crunch crunch) and started talking to "the people in there." May be we should just take your bikes..etc." We motioned to each other to say absolutely nothing so that they wouldn't necessary know there were two women in the tent. Then they went to their cars and drove around the tent somehow over and over again with their headlights flashing in to the tent. We didn't know if we were going to get run over or not. Now you might say...why not get out and challenge them. My instinct was to lay low and do nothing to rile them anymore than they already were. There were at least 4 and we were clearly outnumbered in the middle of the night and they still didn't know who was really in the tent. Finally they left after about 2 hours of this stuff. I felt so vulnerable and it taught me a good lesson about not camping where there are no other people. I was also furious that as a woman I no longer felt I could go bike touring without making sure that I was somehow protected (or with a man). Anyway, it happened along time ago but I'll never forget it.
    Scared in Stockholm!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,936
    Oh my God, I would have been scared to death. What a bunch of idiots... You probably did the best thing you could do at that moment. Having a cell phone and dialing 911 would have been great too, but I would have hated doing that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    That absolutely sucks! I'm glad you and your friend got out of the situation safely.

    I hope never to have to use it but when I travel solo I take along my handgun. I realize there are MANY folks who don't like guns but I grew up with them (military family) and was a law enforcement officer for serveral years, I'm well trained and while that situation would have been frightening I would have felt more pissed than scared. I hate the fact that our options seem to be:
    1. Don't go anywhere alone
    2. ALWAYS be on guard if you do
    3. Carry personal protection (in concert with #2) /or/
    4. Risk harm if you encounter a situation you're not prepared for

    Kind of a dismal picture, the thing that pisses me off most is having to waste the energy thinking about "what to do IF".

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,976
    OMG, so sorry your trip was marred by a bunch of morons. (((((hugs))))) and glad that you're safe.

    No guns for me, skeered of 'em. Would probably shoot myself in the foot if I did.

    Carry a cell phone and have the local police dispatch number programed in. Calling 911 gets you who knows where and 3 misstransfers later you're at the local PD. I keep the PD for the city I live in and the city I work in programmed into my cell. If I was touring would probably get a local number for one there.

    My alien tool has a knife, it's funny that we're talking about this I just reached my 10 year service anniversary at work and we have a choice of lovely gifts. My best friend at work said
    "What? You didn't choose the pearls?"
    "no, I got the buck knife with the leather scabard. I don't have an angora bike jersey to go with the pearls"

    anyways....

    Ok, going there again. My "other" sport is Aikido, a Japanese martial art, derived from Jiu Jitsu it's deeply rooted in a philosophy of non violence. Our aim is to defuse the situation and actually protect the assailant by causing minimal harm. Some people call the art "dance like" but it is devestatingly effective and particularly with multiple attackers.

    I've been training since about 1979-80.

    I hope I never ever have to "use it"....again, that's not the goal. I just love to train, those "ah hah, that's how it works" moments.

    But let's go there shall we? You absolutely did the best thing you could. Seeing the bigger bike those jerks probably presumed a man was there, they are drunks, they are chicken s*** and they left you alone.

    You survived, you win!

    There is no way I could break down years of training to a single post or even a book. And I probably would not have done better than you. But if I distill the training down to a post it would be this.

    You always want to avoid conflict, diffuse the situation, leave. These days for one thing you don't know who's armed. Who knew Queen has the gun rack attachment on her bike?

    If you find yourself in a situation where there is no way out but to fight:

    1) make as much noise as you possibly can, yell, scream, keep doing that continually
    2) keep moving by that I mean fighting
    3) repeat steps 1 & 2 until they are not a threat anymore and you can take that anyway you want ie: you've got away and are in a safe place or they are not a threat anymore.

    Remember for one thing you are fit cyclists, they likely are sedentary out of shape drunks, all 4 of them.

    If there are multiple attackers identify the leader and or largest one, I'd go for him. The rest may think you're nucking futs and leave.

    BTW I hope you did call the police? They need to know this is going on.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    127
    Wow, that Sooo sux

    I do most of my riding alone, and though it is usually on fairly well-travelled rail trails, there have been times (especially at dusk) when I have had a moment or two of the creepies. It bugs me that if I were male, that I would not be having too many of those personal safety thoughts.

    I try to comfort myself with the thought that potential rapists are lazy and would go for the easy targets - not be stalking 20 miles out on a rail trail in the middle of the state forest. ( at least I HOPE not )

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,716
    That sounds so scary! Thank goodness you weren't hurt and your bikes were left alone!

    I think if I were going to travel on bike "alone"... or with another female... I would invest in handgun training and carry one with me, just in case.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    13
    Sorry to hear this happened to you. It's tough getting over the intimidation you feel after an incident like this.
    I carry a pepper spray canister on my keychain, have thought about carrying it on the bike, if only for the occasional rowdy dog. It is a mixture of mace, pepper and fluorescent spray paint. Can be had at any gun shop. One thing to remember, you don't want to let them know you have it, just use it if need be. In other words, it doesn't work on intimidation factor like a gun does. I've never had to use it, but have been glad to have at least some form of defense with me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, MN> which is just outside of St. Paul. We live in the St. Croix Rivervalley on 4 acres.
    Posts
    12

    Red face Addendum

    Thanks for all your suggestions. The memory of this experience has jostled afew other ones back when I was doing alot of touring. But none as bad. But we encountered alot of finger gestures suggesting sex from red neck guys in trucks. Please don't construe this to mean that all guys in trucks are red necks but these looked like it. I was shocked. There was something about two women being out on the open road with not alot of other people around that seemed to suggest we were open to something if nothing else insults. It was bizarre. I haven't toured for years and the reason I stopped was not my negative experiences!! I loved touring and would not let afew nuts (or nucking futs as TREK420) refers... stop me. I stopped simply because I got in to other things like having a toddler running around. But ladies...who tour and are not in a larger group ...please think ahead and be prepared. Then you can forget about it. I have used handguns in the past but didn't carry one. I can tell you that if I started touring again, I would probably get one simply because I will not make myself that vulnerable. The best thing of course is to tour in a larger group for all kinds of reasons but most of all, it's FUN!!! HAPPY TRAILS
    Suzanne

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,976
    I just hate that we have to think about this, all the what to do if's and whether or not we can ride alone...I'm skeered of guns, of faceing them of course or using them.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    North Andover, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    1,643
    Suzanne -
    I was really sorry to hear about your awful experience, but I'd hate to have other women scared away from solo touring because of this experience. I have done supported group tours, and unsupported solo tours. My preference at this point in time is the solo tours, which are a very different experience than touring with a group of people, supported or not.

    I agree with you that folks on solo tours need to be conscious of their surroundings at all times. My most recent tours were not camping tours, but I started in the world of solo touring with camping tours, and it's likely I'll camp on tour again at some point in time. I have camped in city parks on occasion when there weren't any alternatives, but in each case when I did that I notified the police that I was there, and I had my cell phone in the tent with me - along with the phone number for the local police. And whether I am camping or not, if my bike is staying outside overnight, it is locked to a tree or a picnic table, or anything I can find...

    I did have an experience in a National Forest campground where I was directed to the group campsite. They were using that area as the hiker-biker campsite, and there was no one else there. I considered switching to the regular part of the campground, but it was no where near as nice as where I was. And I realized that the regular campground was just across a tiny stream, and that I could see tents and trailers just across from me - within yelling distance. So I stayed. That night, after I had retired to my tent I could hear a couple of people wandering through the site. I believe they were teenage boys, and they actually walked up to my tent and started shaking it. I yelled "Get out", then slipped my shoes on and popped out of the tent. They got out, and fast! (Of course, that experience is nothing like yours, which sounds like it was very dangerous. And based on that experience I understand why you are warning people.) I have also passed up potential campsites that I didn't like the looks of, preferring to ride further to find what appeared to be a safer spot.

    Could something happen anyway? Of course. But will I stay home or not ride solo just in case? Absolutely not.

    --- Denise
    Last edited by DeniseGoldberg; 08-17-2005 at 05:37 AM.
    www.denisegoldberg.com

    • Click here for links to journals and photo galleries from my travels on two wheels and two feet.
    • Random thoughts and experiences in my blog at denisegoldberg.blogspot.com


    "To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone."
    (quote courtesy of an unknown fortune cookie writer)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, MN> which is just outside of St. Paul. We live in the St. Croix Rivervalley on 4 acres.
    Posts
    12

    One Last Word

    I would feel really bad if anyone read my story and let that stop them from touring alone or with a group. Touring was a passion of sorts for a long time and my good experiences far out weigh my bad ones. I am not a fear based sort of person and in fact take a fair amount of risks. The reason for telling the story is that while dangerous and scary, it was certainly an adventure and I learned alot from it. Who wants to live life in a bubble. As every one has said, just be aware and be thoughtful and do what is right for you to be safe. Happy touring to all.
    Suzanne

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •