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My Initiation?- punk kids, water bottles, and nice (sp) cops

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

My Initiation?- punk kids, water bottles, and nice (sp) cops

Old 09-24-05, 09:06 PM
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To start off, a bit of background- I am a 17 year old, former higschool x-country runner. I say "former" because, due to the insanely stupid ammount of miles I ran training for the San Antonio Marathon, I developed a stress fracture in my upper sacrum, basically the lower back/tailbone area. The bad news is that I was out of running for at least the season, if not permanently. Which brought me to cycling.

Two weeks ago, after one of my two doctors cleared me to ride a bike- the negatory response to our question, from the physical therapist, led to the discontinueing her services- I went out and purchased my first road bike- a Trek 1000. I had not been on a bike for two years prior to the purchase, and I still have the scars from my last venture on two wheels. Needless to say, I was very hesitant my first time out on the road- Especially once I realized, and was consequetly scared by, my ability to pick up significant speed in a fairly short distance.

So today I am out for another 20-miler, on a road I've ridden for all of my previous dozen some-odd rides. Nice, wide shoulder, but more importantly, it is a road frequented by cyclers (Scenic Loop, for those in SA). Anyone who has ever driven Scenic Loop has at least a fairly good idea of how to approach bikes, and runners, so courtesy is rarely a problem. Don't get me wrong, I've had my fare share of jackassular encounters as a runner, my favorite of which ended up in me blindly running into a tree while trying to avoid an equally blind motorist..... Or the time one guy came up behind be, blared his horn, and played an unannounced and unexpected game of "catch" with a soda bottle. But generally, 99 cars out of 100, they pass you with some form of respect. Until today.

I was on the back 10 miles, having just turned around, and cruising along at a fairly solid ~22 m.p.h when a hear a car come up behind me and slow down. No big deal, I pull over closer to the side because I thought he just needed room to pass, when the car speeds up and some punk chunks a box of McDonald's fries out the window at me. Hit me on the arms then I ran over it. I glared at the kid, mainly because I was not yet comfortable enough to lift a hand off the bars and give him a much better display of my emotions, and tried to get the license plate number. I didn't. Oh well. They won't be back.

So I pulled up to a stop sign, and hung a right towards home. I went no more than a quarter mile when I hear another car, slow down and hug the shoulder, and wait for it to pass. Deja vu all over again. Car slows, pulls around me, same silver car and same punk kid laughing as he throws something out the window. Except this time, it wasn't McD's fries- It was an old water bottle full of rocks. My right shin, bike frame, and chain took the worst of it. Unclipped bracing for a fall, which fortunately didn't happen, and I pulled over to the side.

I'm gathering my self, when I see another roadie comming up. He stops, asks me if I need help, and I tell him about the kids and warn him to watch out. At which time he points out his SAPD Road Racing team jersey and lycra (I'm surprised he didn't try to drop me! [/sarcasim]), introduces himself, and asks for a vehicle description. I had about another 5 miles to go, so he road with me in hopes the vehicle would come back (never got that license plate, but he said he'd run the description by the local PD). It was my first to ride and draft with someone, and it was also a great opportunity to ask a cop some questions, like the enforcement at stop signs, signaling, etc. I talked with him about how I just got Really awsome guy, and really nice to have someone ride that last few with me, after being shaken up by the previous McD and rock bottle incidents.

So, I guess this is my iniation into the world of cycling. Don't have the first crash out of the way, and I hope I never do, but the bike got its first battle scars and I got a great lesson in both the depraved humor of some motorists, and the kindness of fellow bikers.

Steve, if you read this- thank you. And to everyone else who ever sees someone stopped on the side of the road- just stop and just ask if they need anything, even if it's obvious they don't; it could make all the difference in the world. And for a roadie rookie like me, it certainly did.

Last edited by Inverted; 09-24-05 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 09-24-05, 09:18 PM
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Well, I have to focus on the good here. Steve kind of acted like a big brother. Every time I hear of bad things going down, there's always someone to bring out that most people are pretty good...and guys like Steve are fantastic. Good story and glad it ended up well.

Now, as for those punks, they need to have their asses kicked!!!
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Old 09-24-05, 09:22 PM
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Cool story. Those punks throwing fries at you, and then coming BACK to throw rocks at you. Wow, what assfoes!
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Old 09-24-05, 09:27 PM
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SAPD road racing team? nice...

The cops here don't have a road team, but they do patrol on bikes (and using proper SPD pedals too):



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Old 09-24-05, 09:30 PM
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Well, I have to focus on the good here. Steve kind of acted like a big brother.
Oh this is very much a laughing matter. No significant injuries (i.e. injuries where the ability to brag/show off said injuries is overshaddowed by the physical dehabilitation), I got my first experience with punk kids and flying objects, and now I have a somewhat humorous, if not ironic story to tell.

Also, it was cool meeting another roadie, as well as a cop. This guy was more than twice my age and talked about cycling with the same passion and respect that I talk with in regards to distance running. There are so many similiarities between the two, both physical and mental, that the conversion from rubber sole to rubber tire has been made almost seamlessly. But more than that, it was just having someone sympathise with the situation. It really helped being able to ride the last few with another guy, feeling some safety in numbers as well as his professional designation.

The cops here don't have a road team, but they do patrol on bikes (and using proper SPD pedals too):
He was on the SAPD team for the MS 150, a charity race from San Antonio to Corpus Christi. As a runner, the SA Marathon had been my goal since I first started at 9 years old, and one I was, finally, very close to reaching. But now as a cyclist, I want to do the MS 150 next year... I don't think the goal is too unreasonable. It was just cool meeting someone who was going to race in it this year.
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Old 09-24-05, 10:19 PM
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Good story.
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Old 09-24-05, 10:24 PM
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Glad to hear about SAPD on bikes, cause those guys can't keep a car in their own lane. Seriously, half the accidents down there involve SAPD.

I wish I had discovered road bikes while down there. Enjoy!
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Old 09-24-05, 10:36 PM
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Bicycle cops rule.

I can't believe that punk kid wasted a box of fries on you, maybe they came back because he realized how many calories he'd thrown out the window.
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Old 09-24-05, 10:58 PM
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If you're still in HS, maybe you can find out who this punk is. He needs a good beat down.
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Old 09-25-05, 12:27 AM
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I had a guy throw a whole bag of McDonalds trash at me once...I think there was part of a soda in it because it hit me and squished. I smelt like old fryer grease all the way home.

Cool thing about meeting that bike cop. He sounds like a genuinely good guy, and could definitely be a bit of a mentor for you, especially if you stay involved with cycling.
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Old 09-25-05, 01:07 AM
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Pretty crappy initiation if you ask me. Glad it ended well. Good luck and start learning to memorize plate nos. while you're out on the road.
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Old 09-25-05, 01:37 AM
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If you're still in HS, maybe you can find out who this punk is. He needs a good beat down.
Well, I go to a small private school down the highway. I am assuming these kids were from the local public HS (Boerne), because I would have definately recognized the car if they were from my school.

The thing that got me is the kid was laughing when he threw the fries, and then he turned around and was cracking up when he threw the water bottle. I mean, I understand the typical teenage rudness and everything (my brother is a few years younger and, while he nor his friends would never do anything like that, I understand that it's "funny" to the immature crowd), but that is borderline assault. Especially when you're going 20+ on a road bike. I'm amazed I didn't ride asphault. Could have been a lot worse than it was.

I'm sure I'll never see the cop again, given the sheer numbers of bikers in this area, but I was able to give somewhat of a description of the vehicle. He said he'd pass it on to friends in the local PD. Silver four-door, used car maybe 94'-95' model, beat up, and I think there was a dent in the right side back bumper. The cop was out of his jurisdiction, but he was equally as angry, if not moreso, than myself. Three kids in the car, and they had to go out of their way to get me again, as I turned at the stop sign and they came up behind me again. Water bottle looked like typical litter found anywhere (a good reason NOT to throw your trash out the window) and there was plenty of loose gravel to be had on the side of the road. I chalked the McD incident to MAYBE unintentional, but the second time it happened I knew exactly what the intent was. I was the butt of someone's immature joke. Paying my dues, I guess.

Like I said in my topic post, I've met plenty of idiots while running. Gotten run off the road, soda cans thrown at me, cars intentionally swerving at me, etc. But riding on two wheels is significantly different than running on your own two feet. Also, getting the license plate number is easier said than done, especially when your first concern is staying upright. I've had numerous situations as a runner where I tried, and have the experience to know to do so, but things like that....are the last thing you're worrying about.

In reality, I am probably just another story these kids can tell there friends about how they "nailed that rider TWICE and he got sooooo mad and had to stop. And OMG that was so hahaha funny aren't we c00l!!!!" I know they'll grow out of the phase well before they do it enough to get caught, but the incident certainly taught me how important, how valuable it is, to be a good semaritan. You never realize what it's like until you're on the receiving end.

I never really understood how much an extra foot of space meant to a biker until I became one myself. I never really understood how flying past someone so close can have an immediate effect on the wind and their subsequent ballance. Now I learned first hand how much it means simply to stop and ask someone if they need anything, even if it doesn't look like they do.

I'll be out riding the same route tomarrow, facing the same number of cars and maybe even the same kids. But at least with this experience under my belt, I'm better prepared to handle myself if this does happen again.

Sometimes maybe being prepared is more than a spare tube or bringing your cell and ID. Sometimes maybe being prepared is simply being aware of your surroundings, and being prepared for the idiots wanting to make you the punchline to a joke.

I'm more than willing to be the joke, just don't punch me in the process.

Last edited by Inverted; 09-25-05 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 09-25-05, 08:39 AM
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Glad it didn't end any worse for you. I have to say, the contrast between your posts and those of some other teenagers one this board is pretty striking. You seem like a wise, well-spoken young man. I get the feeling that you'll keep the idiots in perspective and not let them ruin biking for you.
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Old 09-25-05, 09:18 AM
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Never had the chance to try it out, but I keep my Casi EX-Z750 in a pocket and set to movie mode for a quick grab. Takes me about 5 seconds to stop, grab it, power it up and start shooting.
Most punks don't like a camera on them.
I would love for someone to develop a small surveillance camera that records for an hour that you could just attach to the seat post pointing backwards and leave running.

Glad everything came out OK. Here's hoping your future rides are better!
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Old 09-25-05, 09:36 AM
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Stories like this make me want to get a can of Mace to carry with me, something with a long, 15 to 20 foot spray. That would make them think twice about assaulting a cyclist I bet.

It might be easy to write this off a bit because nothing too serious came of it. But what if they bottle had hit you in the head, or wheel, caused you to go out of control, and get into a serious, even life-threatening accident? This is not borderline assault, it's clear-cut, and theoretically could even lead to death. If I were you, I'd hunt those little craps down and make sure they get into serious trouble.

Maybe you can talk to the local paper and see if they'll do a story on it? Make sure they put a description of the car in the story, and a number for the local PD to call if someone spots them.
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Old 09-25-05, 09:46 AM
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Eh, I'm not going to persue it. Chances are these were just some punks out for a cheap laugh....and since I didn't actually get hurt (though obviously there was that potential), no harm no foul. I know I'd never, ever think about doing that kind of stupid stunt, but I understand teenage kids are in the unfortunate possition of having big-boy privileges- i.e. cars- without yet establishing the big-boy maturity.

Yeah, I could grab some velcro straps and put my camera phone on the front handle bars, or I could keep my digital camera strapped around my waste....but what's the point? I think it's better and more effective simply to be aware of your surroundings and prepared for the wost, than it is to bring along a technological defense.

But on that note, I don't think it would be TOO much to ask for Cateye etc. to install a small camera lense in their computers. Be able to snap a quick picture with the touch of a button, doesn't even half to be high quality.
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Old 09-25-05, 10:33 AM
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I wonder if it would weigh on your conscience if the same group of kids does the same thing to another cyclist, and causes a major accident, and you hadn't done anything about it? Part of teens learning to act like adults is learning that there are consequences for stupid actions. If this were me, there is no question I would report it, if I thought there was a chance they would get busted. "No harm no foul" sounds like a cop-out to me, but hey, it's your call to make -- but you did invite comments by bringing it up on a public forum.
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Old 09-25-05, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by nickgold
Stories like this make me want to get a can of Mace to carry with me, something with a long, 15 to 20 foot spray. That would make them think twice about assaulting a cyclist I bet.

It might be easy to write this off a bit because nothing too serious came of it. But what if they bottle had hit you in the head, or wheel, caused you to go out of control, and get into a serious, even life-threatening accident? This is not borderline assault, it's clear-cut, and theoretically could even lead to death. If I were you, I'd hunt those little craps down and make sure they get into serious trouble.

Maybe you can talk to the local paper and see if they'll do a story on it? Make sure they put a description of the car in the story, and a number for the local PD to call if someone spots them.
I met a guy just yesterday who modified a co2 inflator to fire a home made peper spray. He uses cyan pepper powder . It hs a 6 inch barrel about the same size as a shrader valve that narrows towards the point. He fired it and it puts out a big stream of nasty cyan pepper that quickly turns in to a cloud of the stff. He said hes had to use it once with a driver harrasing him. It filled his car with a red cloud that iritated the drivers eyes sinuses etc bad enugh that the driver had to pull over.
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Old 09-25-05, 12:38 PM
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If this were me, there is no question I would report it, if I thought there was a chance they would get busted. "No harm no foul" sounds like a cop-out to me, but hey, it's your call to make -- but you did invite comments by bringing it up on a public forum.
Oh I couldn't care less what the take is on my actions (or lack thereof). I'm just not the type person to complain. I've been out running on the roads, on my own, since I was 9 years old. I've been harassed so many times, been forced into so many bad situations, that it's really not that big of a deal anymore. It's probably bad that things like this are quickly becomming a laughing matter, but I've become so inured to it over the years....why report this one situation when I could have reported dozens?

It's just that this was my first time for it to happen to me on a bike. It was a little unerving, to say the last. But I'm going back out in a few hours.
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Old 09-25-05, 01:10 PM
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Where do you live again? Remind me never to move there. I live in one of the most violent cities in the USA, and still I wouldn't find this kind of behavior routine or acceptable.

EDIT:

Oh, wait a minute -- you live in Texas (I just reread your original post).
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Old 09-25-05, 01:21 PM
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It's not the state, or the city, or the area. It's purely a matter of time spent on the road and odds of someone with a less-than-acceptable IQ driving past you.

As I said in the topic post, 99 cars out of 100 that pass me slow down, give me plenty of room, and some even give the courtesy tap on the horn. But if you spend enough time on the streets, as I have running, you are going to get passed by tens of thousands of cars. And all of the sudden that 1 out of 100 becomes 10 out of a thousand, becomes 100 out of 10000.....
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Old 09-25-05, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Newberry
I would love for someone to develop a small surveillance camera that records for an hour that you could just attach to the seat post pointing backwards and leave running.
one of the guys i ride with occasionally has something like this - it's digital, decent quality, and can record for about 20 minutes. he turns it on when he knows he's in a bad area, heavy traffic, etc.
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Old 09-25-05, 02:02 PM
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I'm 18 and am also somewhat new to cycling. I havn't had any experiences like what you had. I'm pretty suprised at how well your keeping your cool.

I do full contact fighting and if some punks did that kind of stuff with me i'd be pretty pissed and my fighting instinct would probably kick in. Just glad to hear your ok, its good to find another young rider on the forums hope you keep it up.
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