Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
alexnharvey
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby alexnharvey » 25 Jul 2019, 9:38am

I'm only five eight and stocky rather than burly. I don't walk around the urban jungles of Cambridge or London attempting to insulate myself from the world around me. I think for some or many this insulation feels like it makes them more safe, whereas I think it does the opposite.

Vorpal
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2019, 10:09am

alexnharvey wrote:I'm only five eight and stocky rather than burly. I don't walk around the urban jungles of Cambridge or London attempting to insulate myself from the world around me. I think for some or many this insulation feels like it makes them more safe, whereas I think it does the opposite.

For vulnerable people, especially women, any willingness to talk to someone may be taken as an invitation for more. I've had some experiences where I responded to someone (not wanting to be rude), and they took that to mean they should hit on me. Sometimes, persistently. A couple of times, I ended up seriously worried for my personal safety (e.g. being followed). So when it comes to social exchanges in public places, it can be safer to have an excuse not to respond. It is very uncomfortable to have to deal with that sort of thing, even if it does not escalate to a personal safety issue.

I think that to be able to look at it solely from the perspective of being able to hear and be aware of ones surroundings is a privilege that not everyone has.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

alexnharvey
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby alexnharvey » 25 Jul 2019, 10:25am

I understand the difficulty. I do see that engaging can put you at risk and I can see that signalling your unwillingness to interact can be useful. I don't believe actually cutting yourself off from it makes you safer. It's not a privilege to maintain awareness of your surroundings and I think it's a bizarre contrivance to suggest it is.

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bigjim
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby bigjim » 25 Jul 2019, 10:32am

alexnharvey wrote:I'm only five eight and stocky rather than burly. I don't walk around the urban jungles of Cambridge or London attempting to insulate myself from the world around me. I think for some or many this insulation feels like it makes them more safe, whereas I think it does the opposite.

Being 6+ and burly does not insulate you from being threatened or attacked as many of that build will testify. It can be quite the opposite. There is an element of "small man syndrome" out there and I have experienced it all my life. The little guy who wants to prove a point. Then there are the drugged up or drunks who don't see any danger and will have a go at anybody, big or small. There are also those who have a violent tendency due to physiological problems. Yes most people are lovely, But it's the violent ones that cause the lasting damage.
I have come across all of the above and my sons, one a police officer and the other a senior nurse in a violent offenders institute, see it almost every day.
Good advice above. "Don't be there". Of course one should be out and about in society and enjoying life. Just be aware. :)
Nothing left to prove.

pete75
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby pete75 » 25 Jul 2019, 11:01am

Tangled Metal wrote:Another two pieces of advice included that no matter how good you were aye martial arts / self defence someone can, always get lucky / someone will always be better than you. Something to bear in mind to all my fellow 6+ footers with martial arts training who thinks nothing will happen to you.

Yep and in many real life situations a competent and experienced street fighter is likely to get the better of most martial artists. They know how to fight close up and they're used to fighting.

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661-Pete
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby 661-Pete » 25 Jul 2019, 11:06am

Vorpal wrote:Headphones might be a distraction, but to me, they are more like clothing. Most people can hear fine through headphones.
I can't agree with you on that point. Headphones may not block out all ambient sound, true, but they act as a sort of 'filter' - conditioning the wearer to ignore all extraneous noise and listen only to the sound emanating from the headphones. I would be strongly against wearing them when on the move, at the very least.

Regarding gangs of youths seen as 'threatening', little has changed over the decades. I'm just old enough to remember the 'teddy-boys' of the 1950s. Scary for me, as a little kid! And the early 1970s! Just after the film A Clockwork Orange first aired, there were gangs of youths roaming the streets dressed as 'droogs' - white jumpsuit, black bovver boots, the occasional bowler hat.... Copycat behaviour. I was rather older by then of course, but I saw them as menacing. Once, as I was cycling past, one of those creatures strode into my path and delivered a hefty kick to my bike, accompanied by swearing. Luckily he didn't unseat me and didn't do any damage: I was riding a robust old 'sit-up-and-beg' type at the time.

I don't know what would have ensued had he really unseated me - or even injured me. As I said, the gang looked menacing...
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
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Carlton green
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby Carlton green » 25 Jul 2019, 11:30am

MOARspeed wrote:Part of my commute takes me onto a national cycle route, I use it to avoid the main road which is basically two lanes up a long hill, with drivers so obsessed with racing each other that they'll pass cyclists stupidly close.

I've had no problem for around 3 weeks, cycling 4 days, driving on Wednesdays (shopping day), but twice now on that section i've encountered a 6-7 strong group of rough looking lads on tatty mountain bikes with the saddles dropped and tipped backwards, in their mid to late teens, first time they shouted some random **** and that was it, 2nd time next day the same but at least two of them tried to catch up to me, I'm not incredibly fit any more and I walk the final section which avoids a nasty roundabout. The whole of this cycle route is away from the road, it runs through the backs of houses and through wooded areas.

I may never see them again, but having these lads trying to catch up to me has got me spooked, it's the end of my commute home and i'm not fast enough at that stage to out run trouble, equally I consider the road route to be lethal (I even drive an additional 2 miles to avoid it in my car).

What's the best approach here?


There is no ‘Silver Bullet’ for such situations and the advice that works for one person might land another in more trouble than they are already in. Some years back I saw a poster that said ‘never underestimate the stupidity of boys in number’, I’ve always thought it a valid comment but sometimes think that the ‘in number’ part could be usefully deleted.

Ringing 101 might be a useful way forward but that assumes that you get to talk to someone helpful. There might also be some benefit from simply turning around when you see trouble and finding a long detour to avoid bother. Dealing with stroppy teenagers is an art in itself and teachers - and other youth workers - receive much training in the role. Don’t try to ‘head on’ tackle something that is beyond you but by all means aim to slowly build skills that will help you alleviate and manage conflict - a form of continued professional development.

Good luck.
Last edited by Carlton green on 25 Jul 2019, 11:42am, edited 4 times in total.

poetd
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby poetd » 25 Jul 2019, 11:31am

One of my routes goes through a really rough estate.
Gang of 10 or so "youths" gathered outside some shops. Couple of times they've stepped out in front of me on the road waving arms and giving it all the "wha? wha? wha?" at me.
Not so great.

However, I know one of the elders of the area, pretty respected guy so asked if he knows them, and he told me they're all just school kids mostly, lots of mouth, no real hassle.
I was a kid myself hanging outside shops once, so not the end of the world.

Anyway, turns out he'd spoken to them. Next time I went through they were all cheering me on up the hill, was hilarious. "Go dude! Pedal faster!" :mrgreen:

Kids are kids. Sometimes they're not. Know you're area, know what you might be dealing with. If you're unsure, find another route.
Your safety IS your responsibility, we don't live in a Utopia and never will. That's not victim blaming, just how it is.

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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2019, 11:35am

alexnharvey wrote:I understand the difficulty. I do see that engaging can put you at risk and I can see that signalling your unwillingness to interact can be useful. I don't believe actually cutting yourself off from it makes you safer. It's not a privilege to maintain awareness of your surroundings and I think it's a bizarre contrivance to suggest it is.

I did not say (or even suggest) that it is a privilege to maintain awareness of your surroundings. I said that to look at it solely form the perspective of maintaining awareness is a privilege. Simply that there is more to it than that.
661-Pete wrote:
Vorpal wrote:Headphones might be a distraction, but to me, they are more like clothing. Most people can hear fine through headphones.
I can't agree with you on that point. Headphones may not block out all ambient sound, true, but they act as a sort of 'filter' - conditioning the wearer to ignore all extraneous noise and listen only to the sound emanating from the headphones. I would be strongly against wearing them when on the move, at the very least.


Except that some folks who wear them as signal that they do not want to engage in a social interaction, are not always listening to anything, and may be fully aware of their environment. Listening to something is another matter, but it's a relatively simple matter for someone to turn down the volume, or even tune out what they are listening to in favour of the surrounding environment.

IMO, people walking around playing seeking games on their phones are less aware of their surroundings than someone wearing headphones in such circumstances.

While I understand the point that listening to music on headphones may reduce someone's awareness of their surroundings, it still wanders into victim blaming to suggest that it is a problem that they do so. The UK should be safe enough that distraction isn't an invitation to be assaulted or robbed.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

poetd
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby poetd » 25 Jul 2019, 11:59am

This attacking safety advise as victim-blaming is hilariously pathetic.

It's like arguing: "I should have the right to jump into a Shark Pool wearing a bacon-vest if I choose to!".

Sure, you have that right. But don't blame anyone else when the Sharks don't read the memo about your rights.

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horizon
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby horizon » 25 Jul 2019, 12:01pm

Vorpal wrote:
skyhawk wrote:Women are told daily, dress down, be aware of your surroundings and who is around, this is not scare tactics it is safety advice.

This is victim blaming, not safety advice.



Both women (not cycling) and cyclists have a right to a safe environment. My guess is that the often hidden and isolated nature of cycle paths (even more so if overgrown or strewn with glass and litter) is an overlooked aspect of their planning and use. I've often demurred from using a cycle path due to being concerned about my personal safety. Management and policing is key, just as it is for roads. But I doubt it is given much more than a moment's thought.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

mercalia
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby mercalia » 25 Jul 2019, 12:42pm

MOARspeed wrote:
mercalia wrote:maybe talk to them, treat them as human beings rather than possible muggers? they are on summer holidays now so have time to kill.


I'm sorry but that's the sort of thinking that got two student hikers beheaded by ISIS in Morocco and a group of 4 cyclists murdered in Tajikistan.
It's not a pessimistic view, neither am I an optimist, i'm an engineer and I take everything on the basis of history, evidence and probability.



I thought we were talking UK not 3rd world

Tangled Metal
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Jul 2019, 2:11pm

pete75 wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:Another two pieces of advice included that no matter how good you were aye martial arts / self defence someone can, always get lucky / someone will always be better than you. Something to bear in mind to all my fellow 6+ footers with martial arts training who thinks nothing will happen to you.

Yep and in many real life situations a competent and experienced street fighter is likely to get the better of most martial artists. They know how to fight close up and they're used to fighting.

A competent martial artist and a competent street fighter are quite possibly one and the same. Even if not then it's competence that's the criteria not fighting style or training per se.

Out of interest look to MMA fighters for fighting styles. All the good ones learn a few fighting styles. Most learn Ju jitsu. Why? Well it's a style that uses all kinds of fighting techniques and it's effective. Whether you are fighting close up (and potentially on the ground) or fighting with weapons at distance. It covers it all. Plus one thing you learn very early on is weakness is not always where you expect it if you have technique and skills.

I still remember sparring with someone almost ready for his black belt grading when I was only one belt up. I was on the floor and getting roundly beaten . The senior instructor stopped the spar and showed me the strength of my position. Once restarted I got a tap out from my opponent. Chuffed was my the word!

Needless to say a later training season I was paired up with that guy and it resulted in 3 months out with strained inter costal muscles between my ribs. Shallow breathing and no coughing or laughing for a month is impossible!

This is all digression because as well as competency (skill) there's the temperament. I'm not very aggressive. I could have more skills than another person but still lose out because of lower aggression. It's often the case, gentle giant and small man syndrome. There's a degree of truth in that.

MOARspeed
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby MOARspeed » 25 Jul 2019, 2:50pm

GranvilleThomas wrote:I was a punk rocker in the 80's, when I was a teenager, with a leather jacket, big German army boots and a mohican hair style, most of my mates were the same and do you know what? we would not have hurt a fly, as is still the case today. We were just young and trying to make a statement to the world.

Trouble is most people read the 'scare stories' in the likes of the Daily Mail etc and believe them. I'm sorry but I for one will not fall for these scare tactics as the majority of young people are great.

I have teenage children myself and they are great people, with dyed hair and tattoos as are their friends - paranoia helps no-one.

Are you suggesting that all young people should be banned from the streets?



I'd be fine with the sort you describe, it's the one's in 3 stripe tracky bottoms and all the rest of that chav/gangster attire, which would have me crossing the road.

tatanab
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Re: Gangs of youths on national cycle route.....

Postby tatanab » 25 Jul 2019, 2:53pm

Martial arts competence is all very well, if you have the time/reactions to use it. When surrounded by threats you have the time to assess and react. In a surprise attack it is different. Many years ago I did a Korean art (Tang Soo Do) at very low level. One of our senior members was a post woman who had been mugged while working. As she said, the surprise and the fact it was all over so quickly left her no time to react.