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Mountain biker helps road biker from certain theft/injury(8 posts)

Mountain biker helps road biker from certain theft/injuryFinch Platte
Jul 30, 2001 2:01 PM
Hi, all. This was posted over at MTBReview/Passion by my friend John, who lives in Sacramento, CA. Anyone know of the fellow he assisted?

Hope you enjoy the story...

Finch

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It was Friday. Not really a ride day. Rode the day before. Stage 18 TDF Time Trial on TV, Lance was getting ready to go out. Fridge full of beer. But I had a strange need to go out for a ride myself. Screw TV, even if it's the TDF, I'll catch the recap later. Beer will still be there when I get back. Almost 7 o-clock. An hour and half of light left. I headed out.

Got to the green belt and the bike trail. Skinny youngish kid (15-16?) with a mouth full of braces was cruising pretty good on a rode bike. I start to ride with him. We talk. Chit chat about how we should be riding easy, it's Friday. Several miles go by and I start to lose interest in maintaining his 'easy' speed. I tell him I'm dropping off the pace and to have a good ride. He acknowledges, and rides on ahead.

On long straights I get a glimpse of the kid out ahead of me. He's quite aways ahead. I come on to another long straight, the kids way down the trail, but I'm closing fast. He has stopped. I continue to get closer and I see something going on in the middle of the trail past the kid. Pretty far past the kid actually (he must have stopped as soon as he noticed the commotion) and from my distance all I could see was that there were several people moving around rapidly and some bikes on the ground. I thought there had been an accident.

I'm almost to where the kid had stopped when I realize that it's no accident at all, it's a FIGHT! As I pass the kid I can make out a total of four people, one dressed in classic roadie apparel, three dressed in classic punk/gang/dirt-bag apparel. I drop two gears and accelerate without thinking.

As I'm sprinting toward the fight, the roadie gets tagged in the face and goes down. His opponent picks up his bike and mounts it. Then I pull up. In a deep loud super hero voice I say "What's going on here!?!". The roadie says "They're stealing my bike!" I reply, again like a super hero, "Oh, no they're not!"

The punk was trying to get the roadies bike going. He was having trouble. As I got off my bike and began toward him floundering on the road bike I said "Get the F*** off the bike". He had no choice, the bike was out of gear or something and I was approaching him. He got off the bike and headed toward me. He was talking all kinds of gangster slang, his friends also. They were essentially telling me that this was none of my business, the bike was theirs, and that I should leave.

One of the three punks looked like somebodies little brother, maybe 16 years old and 100 pounds. He didn't seem too keen on the whole situation and was backing away (I'll call him Tiny). The other two were older, 18-20 years of age. One was fat and seemingly ready to rumble (I'll call him Fatty). The third was the real fighter. He was the one that was fighting with (er, beating up on) the roadie, had picked up his bike, and that I was confronting. He was just shy of six feet tall, but was a wiry 165-170 pounds (I'll call him Dummy).

So Dummy has gotten off the roadies bike, and is walking toward me talking gang trash. I'm interjecting the word "NO" to much of what he's saying. He's closing the gap between us. As the gap closes to arms length distance, I straight arm him in the center of the chest pushing him back several feet. He acts shocked. Says something about how he can't believe that I'd just touched him and he starts toward me again, swinging.

I was sooo ready. Time had already slowed to a crawl for me. Everything was in slow motion and I was focused. As we came togther, fists flew. I lunged forward, head dipped down, and took a punch to the front/side of my helmet. I grabbed his shirt with my left hand and started hitting him in the head with my right fist (
Oops, rest of it here....Finch Platte
Jul 30, 2001 2:04 PM
(nicely gloved in Fox DH gloves).

In a matter of seconds I had landed two blows to the side of his head, but he was still combatant. I had a hold of his shirt and I had his head targeted. In an instant, my brain actually thought "harder". As in "hit harder". So I did. With all my might I hit him two more times. Once in the side of the head (as the first two had landed, but harder). Then a final blow REALLY hard. The last one caught him in the eye. He fell away from me as I released his shirt from my grasp.

Blood immediately flowed from his eyebrow. Deep red, down the side of his face and dripping off his jaw. His eyebrow was split bad. He was touching it, and looking at the blood, and getting mad. Fatty was mad too, he was talking more trash about how I had no right! And to look what I had done to his face! I was back to interjecting "NO" and arguing. Dummy had gotten up. He and Fatty were really pissed and cussing me out, but just standing there a couple feet from me. Neither of them was moving forward.

We stood there and argued for several seconds. I told them it was time for them to go, game over. A couple in their forties had pulled up and they chimed in "yeah, it's over here for you guys, go home". Even Tiny agreed, and pointed out to his buddies that more people were arriving (although only the couple and the kid with braces were there). But Fatty and Dummy couldn't let it end that way. They had a pride sort of thing going on. They seriously did not seem to understand that they were in the wrong. They only knew that I had hurt Dummy and that I must pay. Unfortunately for them, they were no match, and they knew it. But they weren't leaving. They weren't going to just walk away.

The couple then said "fine guys, we'll leave, this is over". At that we basically picked up our bikes and began to ride away. I noticed Fatty and Dummy walking our way as we got on our bikes and started to roll. They were still talking trash and acting tough, as if they were chasing us away (kinda funny).

The roadie told me that he was JRA and got pelted by a rock. He stopped to yell at the rock thrower and suddenly found himself confronted by the three punks asking him if he had a problem. Dummy had proceeded to push him off his bike and hit him several time about the head knocking him down. Dummy had then picked up his bike and mounted it. The roadie said that right then and there he had said good bye to his bike and computer (he had this ultra expensive PC compatible training computer, same that Lance uses he explained). He said that he was no match for Dummy, much less his friends, and was letting them have his bike. He didn't want to get hurt worse than his already banged up face. He said another minute later, and I would have found him walking.

So, there you have it. Hero for a day.

Hindsight they say is 20/20, but as I play back the events it's not so clear what could have been or should have been done different.

-I'd like to think that detaining them for the police would have been good. But it's doubtful that they would've gotten any real punishment.

-I'd like to think that beating all three of them to death would've been good. But c'mon, I'd have ended up in jail.

I stepped in without thinking and reacted by instinct. I used only the force necessary to defend myself and de-escalate the situation. As a karma bonus, Dummy will remember that day every time he looks in the mirror at the scar that runs through his eyebrow. Hopefully, he and his friends will reconsider ever starting any trouble on the bike path again. After all, you never know who might roll up. It just might be a 6'3'', 210 pound, physically fit man who has a real problem with dirt bags, and who also tends to react without thinking.

Johnny Freeride (JFR)

p.s. My arm is really sore from throwing punches and my pinky and ring finger knuckles are really sore from his head/eyebrow. Thank goodness for the DH gloves, I gue
you're luckyColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2001 2:14 PM
the punks didn't have a gun or knife or your story might not have ended so well. be careful out there!
Good work!TypeOne
Jul 30, 2001 2:17 PM
I always enjoy a well-written vigilante tale!
I'm glad one of the punks didn't have a weapon. In fact, I am surprised they didn't.
Good work, man.
Oops, rest of it here....Lone Gunman
Jul 30, 2001 5:57 PM
The offense is Robbery, 2nd degree felony? and Aggravated Assault. Most likely they are on probation with the County Juvy Dept. From their actions this was not a first attempt for them, and probably the reason they didn't brandish a weapon, although the rock IS a weapon so now the charge goes to Armed Robbery, very serious stuff. You could take it to the next level and contact juvenile probation or the local cops, I am certain they know who the guys are. Lucky good work.
This story scares me....and here's whyMabero
Jul 31, 2001 9:53 AM
First of all most cyclists bike in areas of less traffic so what happens if the same situation occurs in one of those areas.

I would fight like hell for my bike but what happens if all three fight at the same time...I don't know have superhuman cabilities to hold off three men.
re: Mountain biker helps road biker from certain theft/injuryUW Mitch
Jul 31, 2001 10:54 AM
I'm spending the summer in LA. Not being from LA, I was kind of worried about a sitation like yours. In fact, just yesterday I was trying to figure out how to mount a gun rack on my bike. j/k ;) Although I suspect that it would be a rather good deterant (probably also land me in jail anyway).

~Mitch
Don't sweat itmike mcmahon
Jul 31, 2001 11:21 AM
I've lived in Southern California all my life and have ridden seriously since about '82. I've never been a victim of a crime (on or off the bike) and have never had any close calls while riding. I've ridden through some pretty rough parts of town and have had no problems. When I ride past people who have the "gansta" look, they generally just look at me in amusement. I'm not saying it can't happen in L.A. However, the risk here is no greater than it is in most other metropolitan areas in the states.