oh yeah, I've been following threads about cyclist trouble on the West side for a long time. I don't feel the need to keep up like I used to, thankfully.
Jim S said:
Have you, perchance seen the other threads up top on the forum? They pertain to similar situations to yours. I'm starting to wonder if trouble for cyclists on the west side is more common than one may think.
A few years back, I was riding home to Oak Park on Washington on a beautiful summer day, giving Washington a try as a good route downtown. I met up with an older lady who was doing the ride between Chicago>OP for the first time. I felt a little protective of her, because she was a newbie to riding on the west side. We chatted, decided to ride together, and I let her ride up ahead of me.
So I'm trundling along Washington enjoying my ride, and I rode right into what might have been a gang action/initiation just west of Western. One of the guys stared me down, I smiled at him, which curdled as soon as another guy took off after me on foot, shouting "Bitch, I'll kill you" over and over (I'm female). All my adrenaline went to my legs and rode as fast as I could; he was close enough that I could hear him panting behind me. My mind went into overdrive, with thoughts like a) I can't let him grab me b) he might be armed c) please God don't let this guy shoot me in the back while I'm riding, it will ruin biking for me forever.
He finally gave up after a few blocks, what felt like the longest blocks E V E R. Once I was clear of the craziness, I sprinted up to my companion. She was just far enough ahead to be completely unaware that anything had happened and was happily pedaling west on Washington. I was shaking the whole way back to OP. I never took Washington after, moved onto Augusta and then Lake. Eventually I moved from OP too, and enjoy more peaceful streets on my commute now.