The weather is nice, your tires are pumped, and you’re ready to enjoy the city that is suddenly so green and inviting. Then,
the inevitable the horrible the unthinkable the most annoying thing it happens. You hear “Hey faggot!” or “Pump those legs, girl” or “You’re not fast enough for me.” Or they honk a horn and startle you (newsflash: that is dangerous!) or reach an arm out and try to cop a feel.
WE ALL DESERVE TO RIDE A BIKE IN PEACE. So let Baltimore street harassers know they need to leave bikers alone by sharing your story. Let them know you will holla back, and teach bystanders to take it more seriously. Tell your story.
And before we hate on Bmore too much, here’s an excerpt from a biking story from our sister site in Brussels, Belgium, because people love bikes and hate street harassment EVERYWHERE. Read Angelika’s story:
One day, I was on my way back from university. I was riding my bike, it was perhaps 6:30 pm. I rode on the cycleway when I noticed a group of men on the sidewalk nearby, roughly 200 metres away. Suddenly, one of them stepped on the cycleway and spread his arms. He clearly wanted to stop me from continuing my ride. I accelerated. The same thing (but with a single, drunk man) had happened to me the day before, and finally the man had stepped out of my way. But this one wouldn’t – he stood there, laughing, his friends applauding him. I had thought he might move in the last second – he didn’t. And so I bumped into him. I didn’t fall down, but I suddenly felt the anger welling up in me. This was the second time this happened to me in two days. Just because some “men” thought it was funny to stop me from cycling, just for the sake of doing it, just in order to make me feel weak, for getting the approval of their mates and showing me who was the boss on the street. I was furious. And I didn’t even think much about it – I just started yelling, loudly – and in German. I had had the experience before that I felt even weaker when I tried to argue with harassers in French, because this is not my mother tongue. So I just fell back upon my native German, which, in the first place already sounds a bit aggressive – and secondly I could say whatever I wanted to, because anyway no one would understand. So I stood there, shouting, screaming, not even thinking about what I was saying. I felt nothing but anger. First they tried to mock at me, but I concentrated on the one who had stood in my way. He yelled back, but I didn’t even listen. I just kept going. And after some time (I wouldn’t be able to say how long it took) – he stopped. He looked at me. I must have had the must furious expression one can imagine. What I saw in his eyes was – fear.
I got on my bike and rode home. Some men mumbled at me something I didn’t understand when I drove past them on my way – clearly they had heard me shouting and perhaps wanted to “punish” me for doing so. I just responded with something in German – I was too weak to engage in another confrontation. When I was in my flat I realized my hands were trembling. I sat down and called a friend to tell her what had happened. I couldn’t get myself to think about anything else for some hours, it kept coming back again and again.