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Leaving Car Free Far Behind; Increasing Bike Theft & Even Jacking Changes The Reality

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Leaving Car Free Far Behind; Increasing Bike Theft & Even Jacking Changes The Reality

Old 05-26-13, 11:17 PM
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Leaving Car Free Far Behind; Increasing Bike Theft & Even Jacking Changes The Reality

".........This is how I view these forums, especially this particular one. Originally, I joined up for information and personal promotion about bicycles and everything else concerning them. Now my needs and and uses of bicycles have changed dramatically just this past month of May, 2013 (I now drive exclusively due to fear of being bike-jacked where I live), I mostly visit here as I am now completely bike-less. For the first time in my adult life, this simply means that I am without a bike to my name. But I find that I spend far more reading and commenting on more and more topics that have absolutely nothing to do with bicycles. I now only post here on Politics & Religion most-i.e. 95% to 99%-of the time, Foo for oddball topics that does not have a place here, and News & Announcements for this whole Website important business. I do skip Trollheim completely on purpose. I have my limits as far as overloading my refined senses goes........"
From: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-P-amp-R/page3

Well, I guess it’s now official as I posted this on Politics and Religion. I am no longer Car Free. Before all of you shout “traitor to the cause” and “chicken!”, do read the above from my now favorite forum. The “new reality” has finally caught up to me and I must undergo changes as well. That means driving 100% of the time from now on.

As I stated before, I cannot choose the move somewhere else option due to the present economy’s new normal. I own property and do not want to sell in such an unstable, volatile market as it presently is. Plus I would have to pay either rent or a mortgage monthly and the selling price would not really cover even just this expense especially over a long period of time. Plus my experience tells me you cannot run from this sort of trouble as more and more people become marginalized then tumble down into being permanent members of the underclass for the rest of their lives. When people give up (especially younger ones), they tend get into major trouble-sooner for some, later for most.

Bicycles have seemed to move far beyond a “toy,” “exercise/sporting equipment,” or most of all, “cheap” around here. The dream of the bike actually usurp the private motor vehicles for many to all of a person’s transportation needs is now becoming a real possibility for more and more people now in this present bike “boom” period. Time will tell if it sticks forever. Unlike any other period of heavy bike usage, this time is far different than any other one. In the Southern California area, there has been a spike in bike thefts. I have solved that part of the problem with the selection of the bikes I did choose very successfully the past several years. The other one-Bike Jacking-not so well. With the online local news feeds coming in of some really scary incidents of the bike owner getting badly hurt just a few miles from my house. So one fine morning just a couple of days ago, I visited my car dealer and am now a proud owner of a subcompact. Becoming a car driver has given me protection via being taken seriously by the local law enforcement to not becoming such an easy target by the criminals. New CA laws downgraded bike prices and value. Making it less likely you will be taken seriously by the selfsame local law enforcement as it only a “petty” theft, not a grand one. https://la.streetsblog.org/2011/01/05...for-bike-theft

Driving a car means not taking public transportation, being exposed to constant and worrisome targeting by the criminal elements by just innocently waiting for the next bus/train. Having the ability to lock yourself in plus moving at an very fast speed is both protective and powerful which my bikes cannot possibly deliver. I wish my bikes could have delivered that ability to be safe even late at night going through a bad neighborhood or two as I still need them and their as well. Not just for myself but my elderly mother and equally ill-health sister who needs protection as well and cannot use bicycles in any form. I hope to return to being Car Free in the future. But not the foreseeable one. I see not only more bike theft; not just around here but all over North America. Even the even more dreaded bike jacking will gain momentum as well.

I wish all of you the best. Please enjoy your bicycles for me. I hope to rejoin your world when I can. Meanwhile, I will stay safe cooped up in an automobile . Good-by for now and treat each other with more respect than you have been doing in recent postings.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 05-26-13 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 05-26-13, 11:36 PM
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Here is the latest Bike Jacking incident in my city. For those who live around Southern California, keep an eye out for this unique bike. Even these high end custom bikes are not immune to criminal activity.


Jesse RamonStolen Bikes LA
"...........Please share and help a MOM Ridaz His bike got stolen on Pico and Hoover at gun point. Road:Klein, Dhimano 105 grouppo, Kashimax saddle, Mutant Stem. This is a really rare bicycle probably one of few in SoCal. Chameleon paint job......."-https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...&type=1&ref=nf
Attached Images
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Old 05-26-13, 11:49 PM
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Well, best of luck with the car and with P&R. I was the victim (or the victor) of an attempted bike-jacking. It took some of the shine off cycling for me as well, especially after dark. There has been a national trend of lower crime rates. I hope it catches up with your area soon.
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Old 05-27-13, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
I am no longer Car Free.
Have you sold your beloved folding bicycles?

By the by, you might want to consider giving up motoring as well. It would seem that Los Angeles is, along with St. Louis, the carjacking capital of the U.S.! OMG!

Carjacking suspect killed in SWAT standoff in Los Angeles

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Old 05-27-13, 08:50 AM
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That is one reason why cars are far more popular than bicycles. Plus, they don't take much effort to get going, they protect you from weather and intruders, they can carry a lot of stuff and go long distances in a short time.
If you can afford to go buy a vehicle, and pay the taxes, registration fees, maintenance, and the fuel costs, then there it is.
Personally, I have nothing against cars, or the people in them, but at the same time most people take their cars for granted, and it seems they can never get there fast enough. Once you have used a bicycle for transportation, you do come to appreciate the use of a motor vehicle, and its convenience. (But every time I drove, I hated it, made me rather grumpy)
Personally for me, biking is for health and fitness, and not having a car motivates me to ride more often, especially if I have to go somewhere. I also in general feel a lot happier about getting somewhere, I talk to a lot of people on the way, and while there have been some dicey situations, they aren't terribly common. If they were common, I likely would be in the same situation as you.
I also used a bike for transportation in NYC. It was a good bike, custom built, quite expensive when it was new but by the time it was given to me, it looked terrible because it had been neglected by the previous owner. I left it looking bad that way, and had a U-lock for it, nobody ever bothered it, not matter where I was. This was the early 80s, though...
I figure, if it works for you, or you don't have the $ for a car, then go car free. If it doesn't work, and you can afford it, then get a car, and ride a bike for enjoyment. Whenever you can.
Bikes have never been an instrument of oppression... not that I know of anyway...
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Old 05-27-13, 09:23 AM
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Fortunately, there haven't been any reported bike jackings in my area, and the places that I frequent are what I consider as "motorist meccas", where the chances of one's bike being stolen are low since nearly everybody there came by automobile.
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Old 05-27-13, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
[I]I wish all of you the best. Please enjoy your bicycles for me. I hope to rejoin your world when I can. Meanwhile, I will stay safe cooped up in an automobile . Good-by for now and treat each other with more respect than you have been doing in recent postings.
Wow, after such a heartfelt and eloquent good-bye, I feel a little weird telling you that you can stay. I post here and I'm not car free. I'm interested in the car free lifestyle and I admire people who are car free. I might try it if I were single, but my spouse likes having a car. In the meanwhile* I'm living the life vicariously by hanging out here.


*not trying to imply I will be single anytime soon
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Old 05-27-13, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Wow, after such a heartfelt and eloquent good-bye, I feel a little weird telling you that you can stay. I post here and I'm not car free. I'm interested in the car free lifestyle and I admire people who are car free. I might try it if I were single, but my spouse likes having a car. In the meanwhile* I'm living the life vicariously by hanging out here.


*not trying to imply I will be single anytime soon
Actually, most of the people who lurk and post on LCF are not carfree, including the "regulars." I was carfree for 15 years (minus a couple months after I inherited a car) but I've been car light for a couple years, since my car owning family moved in with me. So folder fanatic will be in good company if he/she decides to stay, although I hope the comments about ethnic groups will be self-censored.
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Old 05-27-13, 10:35 AM
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Bicycles are not affordable for everyone in the world! And they used to be a rich man's toy...

I don't want to drive. Could well afford to. No elderlies to chauffeur around, or little kids. Just really enjoying my bike in sunny LA.

Effort is involved but then there is a different kind of effort required by choosing an automobile...
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Old 05-27-13, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Actually, most of the people who lurk and post on LCF are not carfree, including the "regulars."
I've always felt that car-free is a day to day thing. A day I don't use a car, I'm car-free. If I rent a car, I'm not.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 05-27-13, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I've always felt that car-free is a day to day thing. A day I don't use a car, I'm car-free. If I rent a car, I'm not.
I'll take that one!

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Old 05-27-13, 07:13 PM
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I have a retired friend willing to chauffeur in his car for a small fee (even traded for avocados). Works for me, even better than renting on the day I may need a car. For instance he gave my daughter a ride home when she had wisdom teeth pulled. I didn't want her to have to hassle with the bus just after oral surgery...
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Old 05-27-13, 07:54 PM
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I've thought about the bike-jacking issue, at first in relation to bikes becoming more popular, and second, being a lot paler than many of my neighbors; the second has been a non-issue for 15 years, as even the most 'gangsta' of them believe I'm hooked up somehow with the cops (as in nobody else my 'shade' would ride the bike I do in 'their' hood unless i was 'badged'....).

The more simple (and to SOME, uncomfortable) truth is that I'm not helpless on the bike; I carry a blade, and am presently looking for a stealthy, secure spot on the bike for another. I have some training, so any of these scrubs who want my bike will have to WORK for it.
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Old 05-27-13, 09:09 PM
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Two counties just south of me have effectively closed their sheriff's departments, which means they don't have operational jails or weekend/night patrols. My county just passed a small property tax bond to keep the jail operating at a reduced level, although we have times of the night when there are no patrols. There have been news stories of people calling 911 and being told there was no one on duty to respond, including a woman whose former boyfriend, who had already put her in the hospital, was breaking into her house to assault her again.

It sounds like we are moving ever closer to a Mad Max future. I'm incredulous that people are giving up on using our public roadways without a steel shell or are finding it necessary to arm themselves. Well, being a part of Western Civilization was fun while it lasted.

Good luck with the life change FF.
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Old 05-29-13, 09:32 AM
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My neighborhood has a few amateur cops, with the same level of incompetence as pro cops.
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Old 05-29-13, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Zedoo View Post
My neighborhood has a few amateur cops, with the same level of incompetence as pro cops.
Yeah, that's what we want - George Zimmerman.
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Old 05-29-13, 10:50 AM
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A pistol and weekly martial arts training cost a whole lot less than a car.

Let the criminal take your bike then while he's riding pull you gun and put him down. If nobody's watching just hop on your bike and ride away.

There are people in this world who only understand good and bad as "If I can take it, it's good. If I can't take it, it's bad." We can't apply our understanding of good and bad to their understanding. They are incompatible. This is why force is necessary to handle a large portion of humanity.

Six percent of the population are criminals. Force is the only thing that they can actually relate to regarding keeping them in line. Talking to them or trying to teach this out of them is impossible. Two and a half percent of the population are sociopaths. They have no empathy. Not all of them are committing bike theft or muggings. Many of them are functioning just fine in corporations and government.

Using force might be unpalatable for many people but it is the correct thing to do in threatening situations. It gets results with criminals because they understand it. One just needs to apply that force with more skill than the criminal in order to win.
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Old 05-29-13, 11:33 AM
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I try to take a more balanced approach. Awareness of the risk is important. Most people are overly aware of crime. If you watch the local news, you're going to think that random criminal violence is rampant and increasing. Actually, crime rates are lower now than they have been in the last 50 years. And in many of the crimes that do occur, the criminal and the victim were known to each other. This includes domestic violence, of course, but also fights between acquaintances and almost all crime described as "drug related." In all of these cases, a passing bicyclist is unlikely to be a victim. Another thing to remember is that most people are basically good, as even Anne Frank was able to realize. Even in the worst neighborhood, 99% of the people mean you no harm.

I think self defense is a useful skill to learn. I'm glad to learn skills that emphasize prevention of crime along with escape and negotiating skills. I once had a guy jump in my car and try to get me to give him money. I kept driving while I convinced him to get out with less than two dollars of my change and no injury to either of us. This is a kind of mental or verbal self defense, which has worked well for me so far.

When two guys tried to bike jack me, I didn't use verbal skills. I went into full escape mode. I dodged the guy who was on foot and eventually out rode the guy on the bike. I was about 30 years older than these guys and a fight with them would have turned out very badly for me. A gun would have been absolutely worthless in this situation--and in almost every case of random street crime that does occur.
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Old 05-29-13, 11:45 AM
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How did it happen (bike jacking)? Double O
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Old 05-29-13, 12:50 PM
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I can understand it. I lived in Culver City in the 1980s and commuted to the other side of LAX, about 10 miles each way. I never had trouble going through Mar Vista, but I worried about going through that area. I used to commute on Ballona Creek and apparently that trail has its ups and downs and wouldn't be suitable for commuting these days.

I've noticed an up-tick in bike theft here in Fort Worth. I never used to hear about bikes getting stolen; now a few people in my circle of friends have had bikes stolen. I feel immune for a few reasons. First, I ride relatively junky bikes (except for my commuter perhaps). Second, I have multiple bikes; losing one does not take me out of the game. Third, when I ride to work, I have very secure parking. Fourth, I'm not dependent on the bike for commuting; I drive more than I ride. Fifth, most of the riding I do aside from commuting involves groups of riders. I love my bikes, but getting one stolen is not a life-changing event.

As far as riding goes, I haven't had any run-ins with people wanting to take my bike or rob me... nothing like that. I think I'm considered a "local", part of the background, in the neighborhoods I ride, even though some are a little less than savory. My biggest fear isn't the people, it's the dogs, and my doggie radar has been pretty good to date.

So, I guess I'm lucky. Cycling is still in its ascendancy here in Fort Worth. It's not super common, but it doesn't raise too many eyebrows, and there are a fair amount of bike friendly routes (I can ride the 10 miles from my house to downtown using side streets/neighborhood streets/etc. that aren't too busy).

I can see where that could change though. I hope you can get back to riding eventually. You know you've got the bug.
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Old 05-29-13, 02:43 PM
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Nothing against cars but they ain't safer in this respect. You can get boxed in completely driving. I've seen it happen. Riding the bike I feel like there are more options for escape.
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Old 05-29-13, 03:00 PM
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I've been cycling in all kinds of 'hoods for nearly fifty years and no one has even tried to jack any of my bikes, so it's not something I'm going to lose any sleep over.
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Old 05-29-13, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Double0757 View Post
How did it happen (bike jacking)? Double O
I had just gotten out of work at 11:30 PM on a summer evening. I used to ride through an alley for a couple blocks in order to avoid a major intersection with a long traffic light. At the end of the alley, I saw a young guy kind of lurking around. (There was a liquor store parking lot in the alley, so there were usually people out there.) I swung to the opposite side of the alley to give him wide berth. Nevertheless, he lunged at me as I rode by. I stomped on my pedal as I jerked the handlebars to the right. This totally fooled him and I thought I was in the clear.

But then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy on a bike coming at me from out of some bushes. I continued accelerating as I swung into the little side street. I heard the first guy yelling, "Get him, dog!" and saw the guy on a bike just a few feet behind me.

I didn't even slow down to cross the four lane one-way street. I had quickly decided to stay on my usual commute route because I knew it so well. The guy kept chasing me into the residential area across the highway, but I was pulling ahead of him a little. After a couple blocks there was a slight uphill stretch. I often took that little hill as fast as I could on my commute home, so I really poured it on. At the top of the hill I looked back and saw the guy turning left onto a cross street and I knew I was safe. Whew!

One thing I did wrong was to ride through that alley--especially at the same time every night. I always hated that alley, but used it because of my impatience with a big slow intersection. One thing I did right is that I had mentally and physically rehearsed what I would do if somebody on foot ever lunged at me on my bike. Be prepared! It was good that I steered wide of him. Never get close to somebody if there is any reason to believe that he is up to no good. Even a yard or two of extra distance makes you safer. Also, looking back I think the guy on foot was a bigger danger to me than the guy on the bike. Another realization is that a gun would have been useless. By the time I pulled out and aimed one, the two guys would have torn me to pieces. Speed and momentum were my best weapons.

The biggest problem I dealt with was my fear of riding at night after this incident. It was a while before I could do it, and I still have less joy in night riding than I used to. But I tell myself that this was an isolated incident. Nothing like it had happened before. It happened once but that didn't make it any more likely to happen again. I did feel good about myself. I made the right moves instantly, and I raced faster than a guy on a similar bike who was about 30 years younger than me!
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Old 05-29-13, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
A pistol and weekly martial arts training cost a whole lot less than a car.
You've been watching too many Chuck Norris movies, or maybe it was Steven Seagal movies... Reality is a a lot different from Hollywood movies.
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Old 05-29-13, 07:37 PM
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Smallwheels
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
You've been watching too many Chuck Norris movies, or maybe it was Steven Seagal movies... Reality is a a lot different from Hollywood movies.
I've got years of martial arts training and I'm good at it.

Years ago I was riding for fun one evening as I did regularly on weekends. A truck with three guys passed me and made a comment. Then they did a U-turn and came by me again. I was tired. The thought that came into my mind was; "I'm really not in the mood to beat theses guys up." There was no fear at all. I knew I could defeat them. They decided to pass me by. They were lucky. When fighting anywhere besides a competition one fights to maim. I know how to do that and would.

Such training is totally beneficial to one's peace of mind as well as being good for exercise. Confidence doesn't come at once, nor does competence. Eventually both come and it can be life changing for some people.

If Chuck Norris and Steven Segal were both in their prime and fought each other, who do you think would win? I think Chuck Norris would win because he actually competed and was a world champion at one time. If guns were involved I would go with Steven Segal.
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