How To Use Your Bike For Self Defence

How To Use Your Bike For Self Defence

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-defence 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-defence 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]

Pictures: Vincze Miklós