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Now, had this been late at night I would have poured on the speed so that I was safely past them before they even crossed the yellow line, but since it was only about 8:00p.m. I just gave them the “go ahead” wave as our paths began to intersect.

As I approached they stopped in their tracks and gave me the “go ahead” wave. I started to pass when one of them suddenly punched me in the left eye. I crashed to the curb and struggled to untangle myself from my bike. The two men put up their fists and told me to stay down or get more of the same.
I was in no mood to stay down, so I jumped up, grabbed my bike in my left hand and my messenger bag in my right and backed up a little bit. That’s when a third young man arrived on the scene. The three of them began to threaten me, and threw numerous punches that missed. I wasn’t sure if they wanted to steal my bike, take my money, or just beat me up. Since there was really no way to defend myself from three dudes at the same time I wasn’t taking any chances. I started to yell, “Stay away from me! I don’t want to fight with you!” I knew I had to get away from them, and fast.

Directly across the street from where this was all taking place is a private club for the city’s elite. I thought that if I could get over there and make enough noise that somebody might come to my rescue (or at least call the police). So, with bike and bag in hand, I backed up toward the club. Meanwhile, traffic had come to halt and the blaring car horns were making a terrific amount of noise. At this point I noticed a car parked in front of the club’s entrance with the windows rolled down. There was a man in a security guard uniform in the driver’s seat and I thought, “What luck.” I pleaded with the man to help me (as I was still dodging blows) but his response was just, “Hang tight man.”

Hang tight? I could see I was going to get no help from this joker, so as a small crowd of bystanders gathered, I took out my U-lock. I dropped my bag and let my bike fall behind me. I warned them to leave me alone while someone from the crowd announced they had called the police. A bus pulled up across the street and at this point one of the three men ran towards it as if to escape the impending police while the other two continued to harass me. It turns out this was just a ruse—when the bus pulled away the third man charged me. This was the moment of truth, I knew it was time to go on the offensive or they were going to overpower me before the police arrived.

As the attacker got within my arm’s reach I swung the U-lock as hard as I could. It slammed into the side of his head and left him unconscious in a pool of blood.
Immediately the security guard jumped from the car and one of the two remaining men ran away. Instead of coming to my aid, the security guard snatched my lock and told me, ”You didn’t have to hit him like that.” I told him that I was afraid for my life while the third attacker continued to verbally harass me. I thought, “I need to get out of here,” so I made an attempt to get on my bike and take off. The security guard stopped me and said that I was going to jail.
The whole incident took less than fifteen minutes, and finally the police arrived. Although I was afraid that I might be arrested, I calmly waited for them to check on the unconscious man before hearing my side of the story. As I explained what happened, the third attacker repeatedly interrupted. After the police warned him three or four times he was arrested. Apparently he had the right to remain silent but not the ability to do so.

After hearing my side of the story and interviewing several witnesses, including the security guard who was definitely not on my side, the police told me I had every right to defend myself. They asked me if I wanted to press charges, but I declined, so they told me I was free to go.

Two blocks later I realized that the crash had broken several spokes in my rear wheel, so I called my lovely wife to come and pick me up in her car. On the drive home I wished all sorts of ill will upon the bastards who bruised my face and damaged my bike. It wasn’t until later that I realized a new wheel, a little bruise, and some torn clothes is a small price to pay. The incident could have turned out a lot worse had I not kept my wits about me.

Suffice it to say, I never wanted to hurt anyone. I certainly don’t go looking for trouble on my bike. I ride to have fun, stay in shape, and experience the world around me. I’m much more likely to buy you a beer at happy hour than smash your skull with a U-lock. But if you’re a bike thief or a mugger and you see a guy with an orange Chrome bag and a grey fixie, find someone else to fuck with.