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tow path madness

jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
edited May 2008 in Commuting chat
I just heard this from a colleague who wandered into my office to ask my advice on a cycling matter. He's not a serious cycists but cycle commutes sometimes and rides cycle paths with his young son.

Him "How easy is it to go over the handlebars?"
Me (unable to hold back a grin as I see a bit of a scab on his chin) "you've got disc brakes haven't you? Not very hard then"
Him "yeah, I didn't think I was going very fast..."

Turns out that he had been cycling down a tow path when a child ran out in front of him. He hit the brakes, went over the bars, hurt his knuckles and chin and just clipped the child who wasn't hurt.

That's when the fun started.

Turns out that the kid lived with his family on a boat. THe father was there and grabbed the bike, threw it in the canal and started laying into my colleague. "Fookin cyclists, going too fast, could have hurt my boy, etc."

My colleague grabbed the bike before it sunk. The bloke took it off him and threw it in again, this time out of reach.

Passers by tried to calm things down and got abuse from the rest of the family.

Other cyclists stopped to find out what was going on and the kid's grandmother started laying in to one of them! He, rather shocked, gave her a kick!

It's all been reported to the police and apparently the father has disappeared for a bit to avoid the Law.

My colleague is not aggressive, quite a calm individual. He says he really doesnt think he was going that fast and the police have reassured him that he's not in trouble for his cycling.

Bonkers, completely bonkers.

J
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  • :D

    Where was this?
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    Not sure exactly SW London I think
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    What happened to the bike?
    I like bikes...

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  • atticaattica Posts: 2,362
    Annoyingly he's not just avoiding the law, but avoiding a hefty bike replacement fee.
    In the hope that you ever catch up with him, were there any witnesses to the bike hurling?

    Tsk, society today etc etc...

    Your friend has my sympathy, unfortunately he won't be able to ride very far on that, sorry.
    "Impressive break"

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  • TheBoyBillyTheBoyBilly Posts: 749
    Can your colleague sue this madman for criminal damage or even theft? Then there's the matter of common assault......
    Mind you the way this nanny state is going he (the Bargee) will be looked upon as the victim.
    To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity - Oscar Wilde
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    Sneek up in the night and untie his boat :twisted:
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

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  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    Robmanic1 wrote:
    Sneek up in the night and untie his boat :twisted:

    or prepare to get wet........a snorkel and mask, plus a little hand drill and.......well im sure you can use your imagination :twisted:
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • hoathyhoathy Posts: 776
    wow, thats one hell of an escolation! its weird how some people totally fail to act how you'd expect. If i was the father, I'd have been straigt to the child to make sure he/she was OK. Oh well, some people are just a bunch of b*stards.
    - Kona Hot '96 - Marin Rift Zone '09 - Cannondale Synapse Carbon '06 - Kona Caldera '98 - Kona AA '94 - Dawes Kickback II - Cannondale BadBoy '11 - Genesis iOiD SS -
  • iainmentiainment Posts: 992
    I do despair that on the say so of some one who wasn't at the incident we have keyboard vigilantes chuntering on about what should be done to the alleged wrongdoer.

    These braves of course never complaining of vehicles being too fast for cyclists safety.

    Get both sides of the story before judging, fwiw if someone nearly ran over my child on a FOOTPATH that allows cyclists as a secondary user I'd be angry as well.

    :?
    Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
    Joseph Gallivan
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    angry or not....assault and damage to personal property are the actions of someone who needs their bed sunk :lol:
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • hoathyhoathy Posts: 776
    yeah, but don't you think throwing a bike in a river is a bit extream, i mean you have to maintain some self control right? and also, its kinda you're own fault if you child get run over buy a car/cyclists due to running out in front of them, where ever it occurs. Surely as a parent you should educate your child to look where they are going to keep safe from such things...
    - Kona Hot '96 - Marin Rift Zone '09 - Cannondale Synapse Carbon '06 - Kona Caldera '98 - Kona AA '94 - Dawes Kickback II - Cannondale BadBoy '11 - Genesis iOiD SS -
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    iain, I take your point, but you must agree that, from what we can glean from this, the child's parent overeacted somewhat? You must understand that the comments regarding retaliation are "tongue in cheek", certainly from me, and in no way to be taken seriously. We do make judgments based on information available to us on sites such as this, but these are only peoples opinions, and as we are all cyclists on here, are bound to be a little biased.
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • iainmentiainment Posts: 992
    Hoathy wrote:
    yeah, but don't you think throwing a bike in a river is a bit extream, i mean you have to maintain some self control right? and also, its kinda you're own fault if you child get run over buy a car/cyclists due to running out in front of them, where ever it occurs. Surely as a parent you should educate your child to look where they are going to keep safe from such things...

    I think the onus is on the cyclist if they're on what is primarily a footpath, especially near houseboats, which by their nature might have children living in them.

    Of course throwing the bike away is not right but his anger is imho understandable.
    Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
    Joseph Gallivan
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    Iain's right in so much as we don't know all the facts, we don't know what age this kid was, BUT if they were too young to be aware of cyclists then surely they shouldn't be alone near water?
    My first reaction, as a parent would be one of concern for the sprog and then one of anger, but this guy and his family sound like a bunch of water-pykies to me, BUT, as a "keyboard vigilantie" I am prone to overeacting. :wink:
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    At least he had a bike light enough to throw! My disc brake equipped piece of cr4p from halfords would probably have given the guy a hernia if he tried to throw it!

    It does seem the father over-reacted a little, and this is coming from someone who is a father and cyclist - as long as my kid was OK I don't see any reason to get angry. I'd have probably them to watch where their going as I think it's important to teach children that certain paths are shared by pedestrians and cyclist and how to act on them, the same was I'd teach them about roads etc.
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  • ejls2ejls2 Posts: 322
    I was under the impression that virtually all towpaths are byways as they originally were used for horses to pull narrowboats along. Certainly the vast majority of those controlled by British Waterways are shared use.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    Look I wasn't there so I can't know for sure how fast he was cycling. As I say, he's not an aggressive or reckless character. He did look out for the kid, that's why he hit the deck rather than run him down. He came of worse.

    Let's examine the father's behaviour
    1. he punched the cyclist, who was already bleeding - that's wrong
    2. he threw his bike in the canal - that's wrong
    3. when the cyclist got the bike out, he threw it in again - that's wrong

    It was quite a nice Spec sirrus - discs and carbon forks - and it's at the bottom of the canal unless anyone has been diving.

    It sounds like the boat people had been having a running argument with other cyclists (not my colleague - he hadn't seen them before) and were looking for agro.

    BTW, anyone think that disc brakes are a bit of a hazard? I bought an MTB with avid juicy 7s at Christmas. They have amazing stopping power. I could throw myself over the bars with a single finger... Obviously discs are brilliant in the mud and slime off road but are they really helpful on a road bike?

    J
  • iainmentiainment Posts: 992
    jedster wrote:
    Look I wasn't there so I can't know for sure how fast he was cycling. As I say, he's not an aggressive or reckless character. He did look out for the kid, that's why he hit the deck rather than run him down. He came of worse.

    Let's examine the father's behaviour
    1. he punched the cyclist, who was already bleeding - that's wrong
    2. he threw his bike in the canal - that's wrong
    3. when the cyclist got the bike out, he threw it in again - that's wrong

    It was quite a nice Spec sirrus - discs and carbon forks - and it's at the bottom of the canal unless anyone has been diving.

    It sounds like the boat people had been having a running argument with other cyclists (not my colleague - he hadn't seen them before) and were looking for agro.

    BTW, anyone think that disc brakes are a bit of a hazard? I bought an MTB with avid juicy 7s at Christmas. They have amazing stopping power. I could throw myself over the bars with a single finger... Obviously discs are brilliant in the mud and slime off road but are they really helpful on a road bike?

    J

    Father obviously wrong and well ott but I can still understand his anger, especially if this was the straw that broke the camel's back. He obviously needs anger management therapy.

    Where's the bike - I'd happily get it out. Canals usually aren't that deep and with care and help it shouldn't be too hard to retrieve it.
    Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
    Joseph Gallivan
  • dang65dang65 Posts: 1,006
    jedster wrote:
    It was quite a nice Spec sirrus - discs and carbon forks - and it's at the bottom of the canal unless anyone has been diving.
    Have you got a grid reference? Canals are only about 4ft deep.

    As you say, this guy must've had some past form with cyclists. Narrowboat owners are usually pretty chilled out, and they'd also avoid poluting the cut with anything like a bike that could easily damage a boat's propellers.

    Although towpaths are ok for cycling, you're supposed to get a permit from BW. Don't suppose many people bother.
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    I think disc brakes are good for use when respected and treated properly - if you look at the advances in modern years with cars with all round disc brakes and the more exotic ones with ceramic brakes, the idea of being able to stop from any given speed as quick as possible is a major safety concern.

    Where bikes differ however is that we don't get ABS as standard! It's entirely down to the rider to use the brakes safely, it just so happens that if a cyclist locks the front wheel they are quite likely to do an endo! Experienced cyclist will be aware of this sort of behaviour and in anticipation of it move their weight over the back wheel before grabbing handfuls of lever with strong disc brakes :-) Unfortunately people new to cycling, or even disc brakes, won't expect this and just remain in the usual riding position, making it easier to topple forwards under excessive braking. Even on my cheapa$$ halfords full-sus bike with front disc and rear V my stopping distance was greatly reduced and they came in especially helpful on a one ride i did on holiday that took us through some deep puddles as my disc where still dry when everyone elses rim brakes where struggling - that was until we hit a 8" deep one the last hump and i submerged my wheel and foot!
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  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    dang65 wrote:
    Although towpaths are ok for cycling, you're supposed to get a permit from BW. Don't suppose many people bother.

    Cycle permits are no longer required in London:
    http://www.waterscape.com/canals-and-ri ... -in-london
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  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    A lot of people direct personal guilt toward other people in the form of anger when they feel they're partially to blame for a situation, even though often they'd never admit it to themselves.

    I've had the "shouldn't be going so fast" line used on me a couple of times by dog owners. Both times I'd slowed to walking speed because they were making no effort whatsoever to control their four or five animals even though they'd seen me. When the dogs inevitably then went and did what uncontrolled dogs do, which is idly wander straight in front of my front wheel, forcing me to put my feet down, they rounded on me with "shouldn't be going so fast". What they mean is "I've not taken proper responsibility here and that's your fault for making this fact evident"

    Anyway, I digress.

    Has your friend heard of limpet mines?
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  • hoathyhoathy Posts: 776
    Yeah people hate it when they realise they are wrong, i was once accused of going to fast by some old guy in a rover i rode into... this happend because he pulled out on me, with out look, at all, just pulled into the road, going quite fast, i hit the back corner of his car, at which point he got out and shouted at me, and was like "you better not have sratched it", fortunatly i had only ripped my trousers (but they were nice ones!). I told him if i was in a car he'd be dead (perhaps not but, you know how it is). He sort of then realised it was his fault and quickly got back in the car and drove off as quick as he could!
    - Kona Hot '96 - Marin Rift Zone '09 - Cannondale Synapse Carbon '06 - Kona Caldera '98 - Kona AA '94 - Dawes Kickback II - Cannondale BadBoy '11 - Genesis iOiD SS -
  • ABBOTS MIKEABBOTS MIKE Posts: 280
    I wouldn't say discs brakes are a hazard, quite the opposite. but i ride on my disc equipped MTB on the roads a lot and would go over the handlebars most days if it weren't for the fact that i am used to heavy braking. i shift my weight so that i stay on both wheels. if someone who wasn't used to heavy, sudden braking had to do so, and just "grabbed" the levers, then i would say they are hazardous.
    It's similar to when ABS first came out. a lot of garages advised people to find an empty stretch of road and stamp on the brakes from 30-40 to get used to the feel of the pedal "throbbing".
    it all comes down to experience.
  • SwannieSwannie Posts: 107
    I agree with a lot of sentiments in this thread.

    * He should have practised emergency braking before this incident. Ideally when he first got his bike. I practice maybe once a month. It can be scary, but it is good to know I can control my bike, body weight, and have an idea of my stopping distance.

    * Someone's "too fast" is another persons "okay" speed. I probably cycle a bit too fast along the canal. But then I am paying attention much more than most people. (If only I could demonstrate, but most people go around with their brain switched off.)

    * The children who live by the water, must know about bikes. We cannot expect them to be responsible for their actions, or for their parents to be responsible for their actions.

    * If someone had just missed hitting a child, I'd probably be angry and shout at them, whilst checking the child is okay. Then if the child was fine, I'd assist the cyclist. Doesn't stop me from being angry and thinking they are a t***.

    * Destruction of property and assault are criminal offences. This guy was well out of order. I think if it were me, he might have gone in the water with my bike the second time...

    * You should at a minimum have got a record of the boat name, origin and colour. Ideally the registration number (license) displayed in the window. Almost certainly some of his "neighbours" are utility cyclists who would find his behaviour abhorant, and help in his arrest.

    Hope the bike is still there, not been ran over and your friend can recover it.
  • hoathyhoathy Posts: 776
    Swannie wrote:

    * The children who live by the water, must know about bikes. We cannot expect them to be responsible for their actions, or for their parents to be responsible for their actions.

    So, children aren't responsible for their actions, and neither are their parents? I think not, as a parent you are entirely responsible for the actions of your child! If they make a mistake, you apologise! I am so sick of people thinking that their kids' actions are nothing to do with them!
    - Kona Hot '96 - Marin Rift Zone '09 - Cannondale Synapse Carbon '06 - Kona Caldera '98 - Kona AA '94 - Dawes Kickback II - Cannondale BadBoy '11 - Genesis iOiD SS -
  • iainmentiainment Posts: 992
    Hoathy wrote:
    Swannie wrote:

    * The children who live by the water, must know about bikes. We cannot expect them to be responsible for their actions, or for their parents to be responsible for their actions.

    So, children aren't responsible for their actions, and neither are their parents? I think not, as a parent you are entirely responsible for the actions of your child! If they make a mistake, you apologise! I am so sick of people thinking that their kids' actions are nothing to do with them!

    Depends on the age of the child. I'd expect less from a 4 yo than a 14yo.
    You should cyccle defensively assuming that peds and cars will be stupid and do the wrong thing anyway.
    Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
    Joseph Gallivan
  • hoathyhoathy Posts: 776
    I'm not suggesting that children don't do the wrong thing sometimes, just that when they do, parents can't claim it isn't their fault. It's like when parents blame school for why their children are mental! Sort your own damn children out! (this is something that annoys me, incase you didn't notice)
    - Kona Hot '96 - Marin Rift Zone '09 - Cannondale Synapse Carbon '06 - Kona Caldera '98 - Kona AA '94 - Dawes Kickback II - Cannondale BadBoy '11 - Genesis iOiD SS -
  • MilkieMilkie Posts: 377
    OMG I'm getting annoyed just reading this...

    I hate people like this!

    I'm sorry to say I would've hit the bloke, then jumped in after the bike...

    Then if i still pee'd off about it, I would vandalise his boat within the next week.

    I do agree with, the kid has total priority, you are riding on a footpath.. Its the same as if a person got knocked down in a road.. The driver wouldn't say "it's not my fault he was in the road"..

    But at the same time, if you are taking care to ride on the canal path, which you are allowed on; You don't expect that sort of behaviour.

    I am a great believer in you get what you give... I'm not a violent person, but that would've deserved a decent punch to the gut to bring him to his knees, while you grab your bike.
  • SwannieSwannie Posts: 107
    Hoathy wrote:
    Swannie wrote:

    * The children who live by the water, must know about bikes. We cannot expect them to be responsible for their actions, or for their parents to be responsible for their actions.

    So, children aren't responsible for their actions, and neither are their parents? I think not, as a parent you are entirely responsible for the actions of your child! If they make a mistake, you apologise! I am so sick of people thinking that their kids' actions are nothing to do with them!

    No. But at an age where children cannot take responsibility for their actions, there is only so much a parent can do.

    E.G. you tell your child they can "play on the path, just be careful of cyclists". How much responsibility can you take if they cause an accident by being in the way?

    As always, this comes down to what you think is "reasonable" behaviour, versus what "society" believes is "reasonable". I know what society accepts/expects, and am usually aware when I am going against this. Some people have a very distorted view of what society accepts.
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