How to stay safe when cycling alone.

So two weeks ago something happened to me that I never thought would happen.  I was mugged while cycling.  One kilometer from my house in a small veld that I have been playing and cycling in since I was a boy.  This equates to roughly 40 years.  It has sparked a whole new awareness in me, and brought me down to earth pretty hard.  This does happen to yourself and to people that you know and love. 

I carried Pepper Spray, like most cyclists I know do, but the reality was that it was pretty useless against 3 assailants.  I got a good shot in on one of the guys, but while fighting the other two, he got enough of it out of his face to still attack me with a knife.  I just ended up making him angry.  So what should you do?  This turned out to be a harder question to answer than I first thought. 

First off, you have to remember that any means of self-defence that you carry with you can be used against you if you are ambushed.  You don’t want to end up staring at the barrel of your own gun, would you?  From the lessons I learned from this, I would make the following suggestions.  Have a means and a backup means.  When the pepper spray was done, I still had 3 assailants and no weapon.  I now carry a Pepper pistol and a self-defence whip.  Both very easy to hide and access from your shirt pouch.  Both would hurt me if turned on me, but not kill me.  The problem is that you still need time to get to them if ambushed.

So, what should you do to keep from becoming a victim.  I asked google, and the answer is so simple, I could not believe I didn’t think of it myself.  Get yourself a small powerful torch.  If you ever looked into the business end of a modern cree led light, you would definitely know what I am talking about.  It’s like looking into a welding arc.  It is very hard for an assailant to attack what they cannot see.  Also, you cannot get into any trouble for carrying or pointing a flashlight at anyone.  Pointing even a non-lethal weapon in South Africa can get you into trouble.

The Bontrager Rally Mips helmet I have, came with a magnetic bracket for a Go Pro or Headlight, which snaps effortlessly on and off the helmet.  Even better, if it is mounted on your helmet, and it is on, all you have to do is look at your attacker, and he is blinded.  Freeing your hands up to do what needs to be done.  The light I have on my bike is the Bontrager Ion Pro RT

Bontrager Ion Pro RT MTB Bike Light

That thing is like a mini sun, and when I tested it in broad daylight, I was still blinded to the extent that it was painful.  There is also a remote control available for your handlebars to remotely turn the light on and off, but I have no problem turning it on.  Only a quick double tap of the power switch.

I really hope that none of you reading this ever goes through an attack, but if only one of you are helped by this suggestion, then I would be over the moon.

Stay safe and don’t let anyone steal your joy.

Cheers, and happy cycling!


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