Reclaim The Enjoyment Of Riding In Seclusion

I have talked to quite a few people who are afraid to ride on remote bike paths. I don’t quite agree with them, but there is merit to their fear. I ride those remote paths… just with some trepidation. My precautions are that I keep a fast pace and I do not stop. It really can take away from the enjoyment of the ride. I mean, sometimes the whole reason for the ride is because of the remoteness and solitude and the great scenery.

One thing you can do to mitigate the circumstances is to never ride alone. We all know that that is not always possible. Obviously, riding with others also sort of eliminates any sense of solitude that you might be chasing.

You can also arm yourself. I used to carry a knife with me, mounted under my saddle. That is not a bad idea if you are willing and able to use it. Remember though, that it is also a possibility that it will be turned against you. (I never used mine and I no longer carry it)

Learn self-defense. This is a skill that you can carry with you at all times and it will not be turned against you, ever! It doesn’t have to take forever to learn, either. You don’t have to become a black belt in karate or a judo master. You just have to know how to defend yourself and then get the heck out of there. This class will teach you what you need to know.

The downside of this approach is that you can’t really test it out. Big corporations can afford to use crash test dummies to study the effects of car crashes. You and I can’t afford this luxury, and I am not willing to crash a car intentionally to see how I fare in the “accident”. The same is true with a self-defense class; I can’t go raking my friends knees to see if the technique works or not. This is because these are not sustainable tests. They are destructive tests.

I have a friend that was mugged while riding her bicycle through a secluded portion of the park along the canal path. She was stopped by a couple of thugs (what else can you call them?) and her purse taken. Luckily, she was not physically harmed at all. You better believe that she was mentally scarred, though. I know, because I was not even involved in any manner and it has effected my riding habits ever since. I doubt she will ever completely enjoy a bike ride through that park again.

Knowing self-defense might not have changed the outcome of that encounter; because luckily, it had a “good” outcome as it was. Me, I wish she were able to kick their butts and exact some justice from them. Possibly, if she had taken this class she would have. Maybe not, though. The message of the class is to use force only as a last resort. Your primary concern is to get yourself out of a situation and to a safe place. Let the authorities take care of justice. Still, I wish she had mopped them up like Hit-girl from Kickass the movie.

Unfortunately, what you will learn is that there is no such thing as a fair fight. We need to have a paradigm shift and start thinking of winning at all costs. Gun control laws are a great thing in theory. In reality, though, the regulations only control the law-abiding people like us. The criminal element doesn’t care about gun control: they are criminals. This same model is at play when thinking about self-defense. No hitting below the belt. Don’t hit someone wearing glasses. If your life is in danger, I hope you will do both as necessary.

Re-claim the roads and trails and all the enjoyment of riding your bicycle where you want to by taking this exciting training: First Strike. First Strike will give you the confidence to ride in peace. You will once again be able to ride secluded routes and be able to enjoy them.

I hope it is blatantly obvious to you that the endorsement of the First Strike self-defense class is an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase following one of my links. However, I do honestly believe in the course content.

Review Of The TOPEAK Pocket Rocket Pump:

TOPEAK Pocket Rocket Mini-pump

We all love to ride our bikes. We always hope that the ride will not end in injury or a flat tire. Dedicated bicyclists carry tools, patch kits and pumps to see that the ride doesn’t end when there is a flat. I carry the TOPEAK Pocket Rocket pump on all my rides. It is quite small and stores right next to my pump cage and water bottle. It is always there and I hope that I never have to use it.


The Pocket Rocket is made of light aluminum. The valve is right at the end of the pump with no hose. It measures 8.7 by 1.7 by 1.0 inches, and weighs 115g (4.05 oz.). The pump adapts to both Schrader and Presta valves, giving you the ability to be the hero for more bikers in distress.

The Pocket Rocket qualifies as a mini-pump. Just what is a mini-pump, anyway? A mini-pump is a bicycle pump, which is small enough to fit comfortably in your back jersey pocket. That is sort of the un-official description, but this one mounts to your bike, so of what value is the reference to a jersey pocket, which also might vary depending on the brand and maybe even size of jersey?

A pump ideally should be able to put the pressure you like to ride in your tire. However, as a bare minimum, it needs to put enough pressure so that you can ride home. Much like a doughnut spare tire in a car – it does not replace your tire – it only needs to get you to the garage.

Yes, ideally it would get a high enough pressure into your tire so that you can continue your ride as if the flat never occurred. I like my tires very firm. This pump is able to get the pressure I require.

This is a very small pump, so plan on pumping accordingly. Small pumps require more pumping. Since you are out riding, let’s assume that you are in good enough shape that pumping up a tire won’t so tax you that you need to sit down and have a rest after using the pump.

With a mini-pump there is a compromise between compact size and usability; a longer pump is easier to stroke than a shorter one, and it takes less effort to reach higher pressures.

Getting up to 100psi with a short or inefficient pump can become very frustrating. Some smaller pumps can also get quite hot with the air compression required. The TOPEAK Pocket Rocket Pump is capable of this task and I have not had any problems with it to date.

A mini-pump should fi tin your jersey pocket or attach unobtrusively beside your water bottle cage, so that it is always ready for action when the inevitable flat occurs.

Mounted Pocket Rocket
Mounted Pocket Rocket

The Topeak Pocket Rocket comes with a mount which screws onto your bottle cage bosses and allows you to tuck your pump in beside your bottle, where it’s out of the way. The pump clicks into the mount and is secured with a rubber strap. It does tend to pick up a lot of grime in this location, but it has a plug to keep the valve opening clear of crap.

This is the pump that I carry. I have only had to use it a couple of times and it has worked like a charm. Isn’t that what we really want? A pump that is small and stores out of the way so that it is available when we need it but not obtrusive when we don’t? This pump fits the bill. That is why I bought mine. But, full disclosure here, if you click on the affiliate links in this review I will get a little commission for directing you to the purchase.