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The menace of old guys on bicycles

Ah the sounds of summer, the sound of baseball bat on carbon fiber. It seems the more “Bike friendly” states like Colorado become, the more unfriendly the natives are. First we have the Black Hawk bicycle ban, now this.

A cyclist celebrating his 65th birthday by going on a 65 mile bike ride with a few of his friends, when 24 year old Bryce Barker driving his car, cuts them off, honks at them, then gets out of his vehicle and proceeds to beat the crap out of one of the bikes with an aluminum baseball bat.

The assailant said he was “Tired of old guys on bicycles hogging the road.”  At 24 years of age this youngster must have at least eight years behind the wheel. That much experience is bound to give one a strong sense of entitlement, and a deep-seated feeling of ownership of the public highway.

The cyclist held his bike out in front of him like a shield; not a good idea because that is like inviting the guy to hit it. The Trek carbon fiber bike valued at $4,800 was destroyed. (Not that a steel frame would have fared any better.)

My advice in such circumstances would be this, if your bike has any value, lay it down in a safe spot in the grass, and guard it with your life. You may think the current situation to be bad, but wait ’til you have to explain to your wife that your bike cost $4,800.

Now Barker is claiming self defense, because he felt threatened by the cyclists. I would have thought the best defense would have been to drive away.

The assailant faces felony menacing, harassment and criminal mischief charges. He has an attorney who is trying to work out a plea bargain. I’m sure the attorney told the guy he has no defense and a plea deal would be the only way to go.

I hope such a deal would at least include reimbursing the cyclist for his bike that was destroyed. By the time he has paid that, his attorney’s fees, and any fines that may be levied, this could be one expensive outburst.

Once again I would ask one question: Was it worth it?

You can read more on the story here, and here

Footnote: Forgive me for being flippant, but no one was injured in this one, so I felt I had to poke fun at the absurdness of this incident



Reader Comments (21)

That should teach the old geezer about riding a fancy plastic bike instead of a proper steel one! ;)

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Better the bike than the bones!

The bike is replaceable, especially if it's a Trek. The bat-wielding psycho will likely pay for the whole thing. Bones, especially when you're 65, take much longer and a great deal more pain to put back together.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrego

Yeah here in Carlsbad a couple of young punks thought it sporting to hang out their car window and strike cyclists they came upon. They said it was fun.
Nothing much happened to them, small fine; thing is they didn't even care their names made it to the paper.
This is how many are building their résumés today.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

The steel bike may have fared better. A good steel bike can be repaired, the fiber bike could have internal damage that wouldn't be detected until it exploded. But you know that.

But boy-o-boy, is that young'un going to have a fun surprise when (if) he gets a bill for that bike.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMason

45. ACP in handlebar bag trumps aluminum baseball bat.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentera friend

If he'd run him over and said, 'he came out of nowhere!' there would have been no charges...

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjamesmallon

Hi Dave, I have to admit I like the response of "friend" with the .45 ACP. But I feel a better punishment would be to let the "Geezer" take a Sawsall tool and a sledge hammer to the this jerks vehicle. I'm sick of our system allowing blatent offenses towards innocent cyclists for just riding down the road. I'm not an "eye for an eye" type, but this is just too much. Of course if a "group" of riders is three or four abreast blocking a single lane ( which is very common in the "roadie club rides" ) then you as a group are just fueling a fire to piss off drivers. One must use common sense and be responsible for ones actions whether riding or driving.
Fortunately the man suffered no injuries. And yes the driver should pay for the mans bike plus a few thousand hours of public service in nursing homes changing adult diapers and cleaning dirty toilets.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Seems to me that there is a growing discontent towards anything perceived as healthy (running,cycling,healthy foods), since health=Liberal. I think things will get worse but it won't stop me from riding my bike. I like to think that people are just jealous that I look great in lycra and that is why they are angry, its just displaced jealousy or maybe latent homosexual tendencies...

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

What a coward.
And then even more cowardly by pretending to have been acting in self-defense.

This also gives Berthoud a bad name in cycling circles.
Gilles should sue!

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRay

'healthy = Liberal'?? Really?

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSC Paul

"healthy=liberal" may be somewhat true here in the states because conservatism is now (and has been for a while) associated primarily with the south; a region with the higtest obesity, cancer, and asthma rates in the country. A region which disdains "tree huggers" and whose most celebrated sports are hunting and driving.

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

As a 77yr old who has celebrated his birthday every year with a ride in miles as the birtday, I am lucky that Colorado has a group ride The Elephant Rock that falls close to my 7 June B/D, Last year I had the best B/D ever, 76 miles along with 5k others. to celebrate. I AVOID at all times riding the roads and stick to the many miles of paths that the Denver area has. It a sad and sick world that we live in. John Crump

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

I would argue that this should be prosicuted as an hate crime. I recal reading studies associated with behavior such as this linked to how certain individuals react to minorities and discriminate as to equality and class, all of which relate to cyclist in terms of road users.

August 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom Knoblauch

“It’s made me nervous now, riding on the road,”

Can understand the feeling. Too many motorized drivers are now becoming proactive in reducing the rights of cyclists and reject STR. Even the politicians are helping them:

"Bicyclists who ride on {these roads} are extremely reckless in my opinion, says Brazil, "they don't care about the motorists they just care about themselves and its selfish.".

What kind of messages are being sent to drivers of vehicles weighing 4000+ pounds when elected leaders use public forums to say such things?

Old guys who know their rights are now a threat?

August 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

A few amusing thoughts, from another older geezer-like fellow:

A) I finally bought Titanium, probably stands up a lot better. Probably can give as well as gotten. Carbon is just too fragile. Then again, all he probably needs is another frame, the components should be OK.

B) Better ( larger younger) security team - watch Lance ride- he has 8 guys all around him to keep him out of trouble. Los Angeles Critical Mass is several hundred younger people with LAPD bike escort. No problem any more. There is safety in numbers

C) I'd suggest just riding away (OK depends on geography) - here in Los Angeles I can usually go somewhere a car can't. They usually won't turn around to chase you.

D) Just make him madder dept: BAD CAR you get spanked - wiht the ULock. ( Note this only worked once late at night in Chicago - your mileage may vary)

Side mirror are easy. Oh you stopped and a waving things at the back of the car... All the front parts of your expensive car are exposed - $200 headlights, windows, even a reasonable dent can be put into the body with the leverage provided with the lock. Helps it the entire posse surrounds.. he may become discouraged, and drive away. If you do this long enough the BAD CAR won't drive anymore.

On the whole I think C is the best option next time. And we all know we'll be hearing about the next time.


PS - Sue the guy in Civil Court for damages plus suffering.

August 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEric Weinstein

I'm a 52 year old geezer that rides a steel frame bike, and I've been through a few of these encounters in the past. One of those encounters very nearly cost me my life when a young redneck pulled a knife on me at a traffic light. I was "saved" by an off duty policeman sitting in the line of traffic that ensued. The officer told me afterward that when I saw the assailant pull the knife from his pants pocket I was within my rights to kill him. He also made me aware of just how quickly I might have become a statistic, and recommended that I carry some form of protection.
So, after some hand wringing and head work on the idea of carrying a weapon on my daily workouts, I decided not to deny what had happened, and purchased a .38 cal. S&W Airweight revolver. Of course, I hope never to have to use it! But in the scenario above... when the driver raised the bat... I would have killed him... and felt justified in doing so.

August 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterskippysnemesis

Makes me sad to continually read about people who threaten cyclists with their 5,000 lb cars and worse. Just can't understand how they don't realize that one small misjudgement, and the cyclist loses his life, and won't be able to go home to his wife/children. Brutal. It is also depressing to know that there is a group of cyclists out there that consistently acts in a way to piss off drivers, which the rest of us suffer for (not to say that these particular cyclists were at fault).

That said, I found the act of conspicuously photographing a license plate with a camera phone seems to work exceedingly well. The act of documenting the license plate number (and thus provide potential access to the personal information of the driver) reduces significantly the power balance between the driver and cyclist.

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBig Mikey

Dave, that's the second time I know you've been spammed. Most blog comment forms have a character recognition security feature. Don't you have anything like that here?

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

I deal with spam on a daily basis; I have a feature where I can delete it with a single click and ban that person from future visits. However, yesterday I was away from my PC for a while so it got ahead of me.

August 25, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Dave getting rid of spammers and by "clicking a button" all the time is not doing any good at this time and age.

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercentral park bike tours

"My advice in such circumstances would be this, if your bike has any value, lay it down in a safe spot in the grass, and guard it with your life. You may think the current situation to be bad, but wait ’til you have to explain to your wife that your bike cost $4,800."
- Oh no Dave, I don't want to do this. I CAN stand my wife's nagging, shouting and angry fits for hours; but i don't want to lay on a hospital bed with broken bones and whatnot for days.

I think at 65 he deserves a $4800 bike.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPedals Cycling
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