We find ourselves in an unfortunate situation in South Africa. The very high unemployment rate has accelerated the incidence of both petty and violent crime. And it’s increased during the lockdown. As female mountain bikers, we need to take charge and manage our safety. These eight self-defence tips could save your life.
By Joanne Badenhorst
It is simply too unsafe to go shopping with your mobile phone in your hand, you are an easy target for the criminals. Many criminals have become wise to the value of our bicycles too. While riding, they know that most carry a mobile phone, so they are aware that they could get away with a bike and a mobile phone, both which get sold in a heart-beat for a fraction of their actual value.
Here are a few tips, to not only reduce your risk of becoming a victim but to getting away unharmed:
- Never ride alone. We really can not stress this enough, ride in groups of four or five, minimum. These types of criminals are very opportunistic and a group of riders is a more formidable target.
- If you have to ride with a mobile phone, make sure it an old one that you are not attached to. If they want your phone, give it to them.
- Make sure your bike is insured. Let them take that too. It really is not worth getting injured or killed for!
- Staying calm and compliant, should be your first reaction. Do not look them in the eyes, but try make mental notes about their appearance. If you get aggressive, there is a higher chance that they will retaliate.
- Always be vigilant. An important skill in mountain biking involves looking ahead, looking where you want to go. Once you are comfortable and confident with your riding, you should have no problem scanning your surrounds to make sure you are not caught off guard by potential criminals.
- Make better route choices for your rides. Ride in the safer MTB parks where possible.
- Take a self-defence class, here are some links:
- Some basic tips for protecting yourself also include:
- Try make sure your bike is between you and your attacker
- Try attract the attention of anyone nearby who can help
- Get the biggest distance between you are your attacker as quick as possible. If you’re riding up a hill, turn around and ride back down. Fast!
Attackers don’t only rob us of our physical possessions, but they also rob us of our freedom and are extremely damaging emotionally. Make sure you look after your emotional and mental well being after an attack. Do not be shy to seek help.
We can’t let the criminals suck all the joy out of our lives, after all, its mountain biking and it brings us so much joy and freedom. Make wise ride choices, be brave, be alert, be prepared and keep safe.