Facing His Fears

Photo © ACJ

Don Boykin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is an active 61 year-old who recently took up cycling. This summer, he was assaulted by a group of 4 teenagers while cycling on the Silver Comet Trail outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The story about his ordeal, and how he’s overcoming his anxiety and getting back on the bike, is at once upsetting and inspirational.

Read the story

4 Responses to “Facing His Fears”

  • mtblawgirl says:

    what an inspirational story. thanks for sharing. please keep us posted on his progress!

  • Dale says:

    Good story. Good writer.

    When I still lived in “the city” I occasionally had a close call with punks (always two or more) who had intentions of taking me off my bike. Fortunately, my upbringing & urban survival training, in mostly lower socio-economic (read violent) parts of BIG cities, conditioned me to a FIRST nature of always being hyper-alert. So upon sense-ing (sp?) eminent threat, I would first look for an escape strategy, and if none, then I would go into attack mode, charging straight at the threat.

    These low-life’s are cowards. That’s why they run in groups.

    Carry a thin cable, about 4 ft. long, with a medium size lock on one end. Whip it out and start swinging it while riding straight at them, cursing and screaming threats loudly. They never consider that the tables might be turned on them, that THEY might become the victim. They start scattering. It’ll make you laugh your a** off. Or when that lock connects with one of their heads, the others loose their will. I’ve ridden right through groups of 3 or 4 would-be attackers without ever having to stop or get off my bike.

    I used this approach, and similar tactics, until my late 50’s. Then I started carrying a cute little pistol.

    Then I said, “To hell with this, I’m moving out in the country.” Now, all I carry is Bear-strength pepper-spray. I call it my “bubba & dog deterrent”. Just don’t spray it directly into a dog’s face. It can blind them: Because their eyes don’t tear-up like human’s eyes do. I’ve never had a problem with the bubbas. Unless they’re drunk, they’re very nice and reasonable people.

    I have to admit, though, I DO miss the adrenalin rush. :- )

  • Croupier says:

    I’m more often mistaken for someone who wants to take your money then someone who’s money you want to try to take, but I’ll say this on the topic of on-bike personal safety: Pedal fast and carry a big ass u-lock (Bonus Points if that u-lock says “Fahgettaboudit” on it).

    Anybody see “Burn After Reading”? Brad Pitt’s has two funny bike related lines in it… and he’s a “fitness commuter.” Kryptonite is probably a little upset that it was the top movie last weekend.

  • brad says:

    My favorite bike versus street gang story was in Eugene Sloane’s complete book of bicycling. He used to carry a Freon horn with him (back in the early 70s before Freon, a trade name for CFC-12, was banned from aerosol applications when it was discovered that it was depleting the Earth’s ozone layer) that had the same decibel level as a truck horn. One night he was commuting home in Chicago, and as he was passing through a park he encountered a gang of street kids blocking his way on the path. Instead of stopping or turning, he speeded up and headed straight for them. At the last possible moment he blasted his horn and the kids were so surprised that they all jumped involuntarily and tumbled over each other to get out of the way.

    Of course that strategy wouldn’t work today as those kids would be carrying guns, but it’s a great story nonetheless.

    My only close calls were in Concord, Massachusetts, where kids used to like to drive fast past bicyclists holding a baseball bat out the car window and trying to knock them off. I narrowly missed getting creamed that way a couple of times. I also had a kid throw a lighted firecracker at me once out a car window.

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