The Chainlink

Just wanted to give people a heads up:

This morning (5:30am Sunday) I was taking my usual route to work (straight down Milwaukee - Desplaines)  when I ran into some trouble.

 I had just crossed over Division  when I noticed a group of guys walking North on the West side of Milwaukee, one of them started walking at me in the bike lane.  I just assumed he was either avoiding the snow on the sidewalk, or trying to hail a cab.  He wasn't moving out of the way as I got closer so I rode into the car's lane.  As I was about to pass him  he said "Give me that bike bitch" and then went after me. I tried to speed past him, but he managed to push the rear of my bike which made me loose balance an veer off to the other side of the road.  I fell off my bike once it tried to hop the curb and he grabbed me and pinned me up against the iron fence.  I was screaming and he was choking me and telling me to "give me what you got".    I kept telling him I didn't have anything, but remembered I had a $20 in my pocket and asked if he wanted that.  He took it, told me he loved me and then kissed me on the cheek a couple of times and took off running.

F'd up!

so F'd up

I just want to give you all a heads up of what happened in an area I usually feel safe in and maybe keep an eye out for each other.  A few cars passed as I was pinned against the fence, but no one stopped.  Maybe they didn't see, maybe they did.  

I was lucky and managed to keep everything that mattered to me and came away just really shaken up. 

A report has been filed

It was a group of 4 or so guys, but only one guy chased me down.  He was an african american probably early 20's wearing a dark green jacket (waist length and not "winter time poofy" ) with some sort of white character on the back of it.  He had shoulder length dreads and was wearing a dark colored knit cap.

Let's look out for each other!

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Damn humans.

I'm definitely picking up pepper spray tonight.  I've seen similar groups of young males hanging out in that area.  Usually just north of the Planned Parenthood.  They've shouted out once or twice as I've rode by, but I never stuck around long enough to even figure out what it was they said.  Super scary.

I've had a young, white male punch my handlebars in the exact same spot but opposite side of the street once.  No idea what it was about but he left me alone and ran off when I got my U-lock out.

Terrible to hear, and thanks for the warning. Hope you're Ok!

That is terrible, sorry you had that happen to you.

People trying to knock you off your bike to rob you, or even just to hurt because they can, is a surprisingly common thing in Chicago.

Very sorry to hear. As a previous poster said, you are tough. Good luck with it and don't feel bad if it has you shaken up for awhile. I know it would bother me for days, probably weeks.  

I think Wicker Park has been slipping backward a bit in the past couple of years, in terms of safety. But that's just my non-expert, mostly uninformed opinion.

I'm sure some security cams around there picked up the perp, maybe even the incident. But yeah, probably the police won't even try to find footage.

I did not think of the security cameras, Will.  There is a liquor store on the south side that probably has a camera, and I bet that high-rise co-op building on the corner has one, too.  Allison, did they give you a contact at the police department?  It could not hurt, if you want to follow up, to call and suggest they investigate that. 

I don't know if Wicker Park is slipping backward.  Many areas of the city, including the Gold Coast, have these kinds of things happening.  We live in a city, and there is no neighborhood in the city that one could call entirely safe.  I choose to live here because there are so many advantages to living in the city as opposed to living in the suburbs, but we take on some additional risk in exchange for the advantages.  All we can do is try to minimize the risk.

Yes. In 2007, a friend was knocked off his bike and shot at point blank range by some hoodlum in Humboldt Park. The police eventually caught the murderer. 

notoriousDUG said:

That is terrible, sorry you had that happen to you.

People trying to knock you off your bike to rob you, or even just to hurt because they can, is a surprisingly common thing in Chicago.

Glad you are OK. It's always very scary, especially when they pull a gun out. Since then I usually take a route furthest away from a group of suspicious characters no matter what part of the city.

OMG! thats really bad! I am glad you are okay. I hope they catch the guy. You are right we have to take care of each other.

I have a "friend" who has used bear mace to great effect a few times.  Bear mace is nice becuase some units have a 35 foot range, but the mixture isn't as powerful as personal defense pepper spray, and the units tend to be bigger than something one could easily conceal in their palm.

I like Freeze + P in a 2oz burst unit.  The burst unit has a shorter range than the stream units, but it really fogs the attacker in a cloud of nastiness, which I like.  You can get a little holster (meant for police duty belts) that works just fine to attach to the strap of a messenger bag.

Just make sure you never spray it into the wind.  If possible always maneuver so your attacker is downwind. 

Good thing is that you're OK.  I'm real sorry this happened to you.


I wonder if any vendor at the bike swap will be selling these types of accessories. I have a "friend" who might be interested.

As a last resort when passing through the WEST SIDE. A blast from my airhorn usually frightens off those animals in this URBAN JUNGLE.


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