How to Use Your Bike for Self Defense

Back at the turn of the century, the bicycle was one of the hottest non-horse-powered modes of transportation available. It was also affecting all aspects of city-living, including dealing with crime. Thankfully, in 1901, Pearson's Magazine ran an illustrated feature on how to use your bike to fend off attackers.


"Self-Protection on a Cycle," by Marcus Tindal, is exactly what it sounds like. The rather exhaustive report on bicycle self-defense methods, including but not limited to using the bike as a weapon and to brake-checking oncoming assailants. It's worth noting that about half of the illustrations feature women, who famously enjoyed a sense of liberation with the advent of the new technology.

The whole Pearson's article is online and free-to-read. It's a bit of a trip to read about bike culture back in a time when everything was a fixie and accessories were largely homemade.

Some of the tips are also wonderfully dated. Lamenting the need for a light, the magazine recommends "the benighted cyclist obtain a bottle… and a piece of candle." All he has to do is "knock a hole in the bottom of the bottle, light the candle, and push it up the bottle's neck." Boom, it's a bike light. And it's even sort of windproof!


Nevertheless, the self-defense methods actually hold up. If somebody's attacking you while you're riding, why not use your bike as a weapon? It's better than just handing it over and begging for your life. At least, if you win anyway. [grofjardenhazy]


GIFs by Vincze Miklós



Three things wrong with this...

#1.) Why is she wearing an unbelievably ridiculous and unsafe dress while riding that bike... She would likely get it caught in a spoke and have a "certain result is shown" happen to her...

#2.) having your pursuer barrel into you, and assuming he doesn't have as much care for his own safety as you, (though that is debatable, see #1), he will likely grab you and not let go just because his 2 wheeled contraption decided to have a "certain result is shown" happen...

#3.) I spent too much time in formulating the snark for the first two and forgot what I was going to write for the third...certain result is shown.