Suburban Assault

Archive for the ‘Pedestrian’ Category

What Would You Do If You Met A Potential Bike Thief?

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Bike01

I shared this on Facebook, but wanted to record it here for future reference as well as for those who are not friends with me on my social network.

Let me set the stage first. Today was a rare snow day in north Texas, but I usually try to get out and get a little bit of exercise before going to work – no matter what the conditions are. It was still dark and the sidewalk was covered in snow, ice and sleet.

I was walking out of my neighborhood to do my morning loop around it’s perimeter. Because it was dark and cold, I was sporting my reflective vest and full head coverage (now that I think of it, I can see how the head covering might have looked suspicious). As I was walking I crossed paths with some guy. Folks usually ignore each other this early in the morning, but this guy begged me for my help. He had a bike, so – at first – I thought he might have had a flat or some other mechanical issue. Instead, he said he needed help rolling both of his bikes to the next corner. He then pointed to his other bike a few feet over. The snow was so thick, that he was having trouble rolling both bikes.

suspiciousdude

Suspicious Dude. Image distorted.

The absolute first thing I asked was, “why do you have two bikes?” Without missing a beat, his immediate response was that it belonged to his old roommate and that it was left for him. At this point, I’m still suspicious, but I also started reasoning in my head. If he were a bike thief, he picked a hell of a time to steal bikes. He didn’t seem nervous, so perhaps, I should take him at face value.

My other reluctance to help was that I was heading the other way and I was on a time limit. However, I didn’t want him to just get away, so I tried to test/bluff him. I said I would help him roll is bikes a few feet, but only if he let me take a picture of him and his bikes. Without hesitation, he said yes.

He called my bluff.

I took the pics and he actually posed for his. He even offered me a few bucks to buy my breakfast, for helping. I declined. Keeping my word, I helped this stranger roll one of his bikes a few feet. Before we got too far, I sensed that he was having second thoughts. He immediately, turned and said that he could get it from there. Worried that he might try to grab my camera, I agreed, handed him the second bike and then walked the other direction. My goal share the pics online once I finished my walk. I thought about calling 911, but figured it was horrible out and emergency services are probably busy, dealing with actual emergencies.

Bike02

As I was continuing my walk, a man in a truck pulled over (down the street where I had come out of my neighborhood). He got out and started following me. He was in plain clothes, but he flashed me his badge, stating that he was a police officer.

He saw me with one of the bikes, so he immediately started questioning me about the other guy, the bikes, who I was, where I lived, why I was out there, etc. We walked back to his truck as I explained the situation. I also tried to explain who I was, my involvement with the local bike community, and how I had taken pics of the guy and his bikes. Still suspicious of me, he asked if he could take a pic of my drivers license (not being in his squad car, he had no way to run my ID). Not having anything to hide, I agreed. He then stated that he would ‘destroy’ the photo, once they were done.

During this time, another police officer, in a Richardson Police Department squad SUV, pulled the guy with the bikes over. He radioed over to the officer with me, to inquire about me. My officer replied with, “he’s just a concerned citizen.” I took a sigh of relief, since I feared that I could be considered an accomplice. This was something I didn’t think about, when I agreed to interact with this guy.

After that, I continued on my walk, where I was able to reflect on a few things. First, in a situation like this, even though I was suspicious and took precautions, it’s hard to judge a person’s true intentions. Because of my lack of better judgement, I actually assisted this guy for a few feet. Next, I am grateful that we have such a great system of police, who actually catch people in the act. Finally, all being said, I still cannot say with certainty, that this guy was actually stealing bikes. I’m am not a police officer, prosecutor or judge, and I do not have any proof that this person is an actual bike thief. All I have is speculation.

My wife says that I’m too trusting with people. Perhaps, in this situation, she is right.

I’m curious as to how other people would have reacted in this situation. What would you have done?

Update: Because I can’t say for certain if this guy was actually stealing bikes, I decided it was only fair to distort his face in the image.

Written by dickdavid

March 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm

I Broke My Walking Streak – 64 Days In

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Icy Ground

In case you don’t remember, I decided to participate in more active transportation this year – including more walking. I gave myself the goal to reach, at least, 10,000 steps per day – which is twice the average for most people. For the past 64 days, I was able to do so – and then some. Having a fitness challenge at the office was a great motivator, which kept me going for most of it.

Unfortunately, walking takes its toll in both time and wear-and-tear on my body.

Walking is sloooooooow. Some days, in order to reach my goal, I found myself waking up an hour earlier. Other days, I found myself having to take long walks on cold and rainy nights. Sometimes, I found myself so obsessed, I would walk around the house in circles – just to get the next few hundred steps. I realized that this isn’t active transportation, but rather, a gerbil in a cage lifestyle.

Also, walking hurts. When you walk a few hundred steps a day, you don’t really notice. But when you walk a few thousand steps a day, for many days in a row, you really start to feel your age. All of my leg and feet joints were in pain, all the time. There were times when I couldn’t get out of bed quickly. I’d even have to slowly work my body into back into standing. However, In just a day after breaking my streak, the pain had gone away.

Once again, this proves that bicycling is a better form of active transportation for both time and body. It’s nice to put things in perspective.

I do feel better about myself for walking more. I still plan to continue doing it – but only when it’s practical and serves the purpose of transporting me. When given a choice, I will strive to choose the option that gets my body moving under its own power.

Side note: In case you were wondering, for the year, I’ve walked over 906,000 steps totaling over 441 miles.

Written by dickdavid

March 11, 2014 at 6:21 am

A Cyclist’s Observation About Walking

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SLOW Pedestrian Crossing

As I’ve been walking more this year, I’ve discovered a few things about being an active pedestrian. What stands out the most is my misperception of distance.

When I started riding regularly, I discovered that the distances between my cycling destinations were actually closer than I would estimate. Riding wasn’t as difficult, time consuming or challenging as I had assumed.

However, as I started walking more, I realized that the distances between my pedestrian destinations were actually farther than I would estimate. There have been a few trips that caught me off guard, requiring me to take longer and work harder to reach my destinations.

Walking is hard. Cycling is much more efficient.

Written by dickdavid

February 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Walking: Suburban Assault Style

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Walking Shoes

I’m adding a new category to the Suburban Assault lifestyle: walking.

First, let me set the record straight, I am still bicycling and always will. In fact, I’ll probably ride even more this year than I ever have. Part of my new years resolution was to participate in more active transportation, and walking is very much a part of that.

Why the sudden addition to my lifestyle? Well, I’ve always enjoyed walking and hiking – even to the point where I would alway check those boxes in ‘favorite hobby or sport’ section of those random surveys that I’ve taken. I just never realized how little I was doing it.

Last December, the company I work for gave us Jawbone UP24 fitness bracelets as a holiday gift. The UP24 is, basically, a high-tech pedometers that connect with your iPhone to help you track and share your steps. According to the device, the average person should be walking 5,000 steps in a day, with the suggestion to do 10,000. I wore the device for the first few days to gauge my walking throughout a typical day – which was actually significantly less than the average.

This was a wakeup all for this daily desk jockey, and I needed to do more walking.

Jawbone UP24

So far, this year, I’ve been walking well over the average of 5,000 steps a day – mostly hitting the 10,000+ step mark. Here are a few things that I’ve learned while walking more:

– Walking is HARD – especially on your feet, muscles and joints.
– Walking takes time. If you want to get more walking done in your day, you’ll need to make time for it.
– Although walking doesn’t require any special equipment, a good pair of shoes helps quite a bit.
– Bicycling is still a much better, more efficient form of human powered transportation.

I’ll report back on my progress and any other revelations that I have throughout the year. Until then, walk on.

Written by dickdavid

January 15, 2014 at 8:55 am