The Low Road


Urban cycling 1

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Part I: A Street Encounter

It happened about a year ago as David Streever was bicycling home from his regular workout in New Haven, Conn.

“I was surprised by a young assailant who rushed me, grabbed for my duffel bag … and then tried to punch me,” recalls Streever, a Web developer who is active with a local cycling group.

He was caught off-guard but managed to evade the punch. Thinking, “Hey, take my dirty hakama,” Streever did what came naturally: He drew the bamboo kendo sword he’d just been using in his martial arts practice and brandished it as a weapon.

It wasn’t the reaction the assailant had expected.

“He jumped back in surprise and backed off, then told me to bike away quick, because his friends were ‘gonna get me,’ or something similarly inane. Sure,” says Streever, who recounted the episode on the Elm City Cycling message board. “I biked away, giving him the evil eye, and dialed 911.”

It’s not every day urban cyclists have to fight off assailants with bamboo swords. But the unexpected is part of life cycling on city streets. Cyclists in New Haven and elsewhere face dangers, pitfalls and concerns that set them apart from their rural brethren who ply Connecticut’s bucolic backroads.

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