Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: bikersbishop on February 25, 2021, 02:06:22 pm

 
Title: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: bikersbishop on February 25, 2021, 02:06:22 pm
I know nothing about guns other than what I learn from the Internet. And I ask this question merely as an author working on a novel. I'm wondering about carrying a firearm on a bicycle tour. It seems like a reasonable safety precaution when traveling in a remote area--or in an urban jungle (e.g., defense against wildlife, even two-legged ones). But it also seems problematic for a few reasons: 1) what cyclist wants to strap a firearm to their body while cycling? Stowing it away may mean deciding to leave it unattended when off the bike for pitstops, leaving it more susceptible to theft; 2) running afoul of gun laws (lack of reciprocity) when crossing state lines; and I suppose even 3) why carry the extra weight?

If you chose to take a firearm on a tour, would you stow it away and take your chances or would you keep it with you at all times?

I've purposely asked the question as a hypothetical, but would also welcome your actual experience if you care to share it.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on February 25, 2021, 02:38:08 pm
Never - too many state laws to deal with not to mention the lack of need and the weight of ammo. Do NOT carry a weapon unless you are willing to use it or it will be used on you. Massachusetts has mandatory jail time for carrying an unlicensed weapon. The cons are endless, cannot think of a single pro.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: aggie on February 25, 2021, 02:44:49 pm
Too many chances to wind up in jail with no real benefit.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: ray b on February 25, 2021, 03:05:48 pm
A question many have wrestled with. In the end, it's probably not worth the weight, as risks usually outweigh any theoretical benefit. I know some police officers who wear lycra and pistols while riding, but like a lot of good police officers, they've made enough enemies that they believe they need to carry as much deterrence as possible.

Non-lethal force for animals is discouraged. (See posts on how to handle dogs.) If pepper spray can stop a run at you by a grizzly bear better than a hand gun - well - 'nuf said.

As regards your reference to complex, 2-legged animals, I approach the question in terms of use of a firearm as extension of other martial arts. It is always a last resort. You might find the presence of your gun hampers de-escalation of a situation through your other skills.

I'll note, I did have a hunting rifle pointed at me by a drunk while sitting out a rainstorm at night in Oklahoma during a cross-country trip in 1979. A little talking to eliminate his view of me as a threat went a long way to de-escalate the situation. If I had tried to utilize a weapon, I would have been shot.

Any time you use the word gun, you'll generate a lot of discussion. My premises follow:

1. Guns are not always effective. Training, training, and more training can make them more effective, but limitations of "stopping" power of handguns are obvious.
2. One would need to wear his or her weapon - heavy and sweaty. I've used a TDI fanny pack in the past for a G19, but it leaves a big wet spot.
3. Guns can be taken away. Weapons retention training will teach you how to take someone else's weapon and why your weapon might not be secure.
4. Chances of a situation progressing to use of deadly force increases if you are obviously armed.
5. If someone in a vehicle wants to do you bodily harm, a weapon will not help.
6. If you shoot someone, you will be arrested and even if not guilty of a crime, you will likely be sued in a jurisdiction a long way from home.

In the end, I added up all the miles cyclists have travelled unarmed and without incident in the context of almost non-existent stories of intentional bodily harm outside of injuries caused by motor vehicles, and realized that risk of deadly harm in an altercation while touring on a bicycle is miniscule.

I guess, touring cyclists do not appear threatening, haughty, rich, or even good to eat....


Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: John Nettles on February 25, 2021, 03:59:38 pm
I personally do not carry a gun nor would I probably because I do not want the extra weight/hassle.

That said, I regularly tour with a buddy who always carries, even on day rides.  He uses a fanny pack to carry the gun.  His gun is a titanium revolver (don't know brand or model) but even then weighs something like 28oz+ loaded.  He trains about every other week, knows the gun laws inside and out, and has not used it luckily.  I am pretty sure he has drawn the weapon once when surrounded by a pack of feral dogs.  Did not shoot but came mighty close.  His thought that if they came within a legs length, that was the line since if they attacked and got him to the ground, he was toast.  Better them than me is his philosophy. He is not a gun nut.  You would not suspect he is carrying.  He just wants to have it for personal protection. 
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TCS on February 25, 2021, 05:04:59 pm
Much blather here:

https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=15611.msg82857#msg82857
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: John Nelson on February 25, 2021, 07:32:46 pm
This has been oft discussed. In my opinion, people who consider taking a firearm overestimate the risk of touring. If you carry a firearm when grocery shopping, then I'm sure nothing will talk you out of taking one on tour. If you do, keep it with you at all times, even when you go to the shower, the same way you keep your wallet and phone with you at all times. Most people do this by putting all this stuff in their handlebar bag.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: ray b on February 25, 2021, 10:36:28 pm
I know nothing about guns other than what I learn from the Internet. And I ask this question merely as an author working on a novel.
....but you are right to ask and sample opinion. I've heard from one of the crime noir authors I know, that a sure way to draw critiicism to your work is to make a mistake about guns or gun fights.

If you've been writing for a while, you probably have some expert consultants you can use. If not,  you might hit up a trainer in your region and perhaps a well-trained cyclist who carries a weapon.  Most of these folks will usually consult for the cost of a dinner and proof your fight scenes for you.

It strikes me that John's buddy sounds like a thoughtful expert and a colorful character from a novel just waiting to be written..... The only problem with these guys in real life is that they don't exude a lot of emtional energy in confrontation.  If you're going to write the scene with Sly Stallone in mind as the aging cyclist, the entire pack of dogs will have to go down in a hail of bullets (except for the little one that finds a new home and security in his handlebar bag).  :)

Have fun with this. Never enough novels with cyclists as the protagonists. Good luck and keep us posted.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: BikePacker on February 26, 2021, 07:47:27 am
It seems like a reasonable safety precaution * when traveling in a remote area--or in an urban jungle (e.g., defense against wildlife, even two-legged ones).
For me, I only tote bear f-o-g-g-e-r.
No firearm.
Always one in handle bar bag.
If I sense a particular venue is *'risky,'
I bring out a 2nd and wear it on my hip.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: staehpj1 on February 26, 2021, 08:24:30 am
Very few bike tourists openly say they carry a firearm.  Of the ones who mention their preference most see no need.  Of the many bike tourists that I know none have told me that they carry a firearm even the ones that know I own firearms and have a permit to carry.  It could be some carry and keep it to themselves though.

Personally I have a permit to carry, but do not carry when on tour.  My reasons:

FWIW, for those who feel the need to thread the needle on legal issue there are phone apps that have the state and federal laws listed.  I think one that I have used when traveling by car or public transit with firearms was called "legal heat".  That one or others like it might be useful if you need to look up local laws in your research.

All that said the bottom line is probably that guns and bike touring generally don't intersect much.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TCS on February 26, 2021, 08:52:11 am
Not really what our novelist is pursuing, but in the old days of cycletouring (1890~1920s) there were special cycling handguns made and marketed, known as velodog revolvers (search term).  They were little things, styled smooth and snag-free, typically five low-power shots, double action with internal hammers, and sometimes had the addition of a grip safety.  You can guess from the name they were intended for defensive use in the case of animal attacks, although I did see a period advertisement suggesting "protection for ladies against vagabonds and tramps".

This era was also the golden age of 'takedown' rifles and shotguns, usually separating the barrel and foregrip from the action and stock in some ingenious way.  These were designed and intended to be transported in fitted leather sleeves by bicycle to and from local hunting spots.  Some were even advertised as bicycle rifles (search term).  A few are still made, although it's been nearly a century since they were advertised as convenient for cycle transportation.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: canalligators on February 26, 2021, 09:41:06 am
Staehpj1 summarizes well.  I add one more reason: if you end up using the weapon, assume your life savings will all be going to your legal defense.  Either to clear yourself from criminal prosecution (establish self defense) or from civil suits.

The risk/benefit tradeoff, to me, just isn’t worth it.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TCS on February 26, 2021, 12:52:07 pm
I'm wondering about carrying a firearm on a bicycle tour. It seems like a reasonable safety precaution when traveling...

Based on decades of cycletouring experience and reading a gazillion travelogs/journals, I have a solid opinion that a rider is several orders of magnitude more likely to be run over by a motor vehicle operator than have to defend themselves against a deadly force attack which came about despite situational awareness and offered no path to de-escalation or retreat.

To paraphrase The Godfather, 'Leave the gun.  Take the Garmin Varia.'




Okay, I know novels are often about extraordinary situations.  Novelists search for stress/conflict/resolution.  Okay, my hypothetical character would carry a Kel Tec P32 (10 oz loaded) in a fitted, lightly padded square pouch (so the outline of the pistol didn't 'print') in their middle rear jersey pocket or cargo shorts pocket.  Accessible, but not 'quick draw'.  I don't know if you're plotting a situation where the character would use the firearm, but my character would be stressed to be armed when provided a lovely meal by road angel pacifists (holistic monks?) who don't know (oh, bad juju).  My character would have to turn around and walk away from the entrance of a much-anticipated museum when they saw there was a metal detector at the door (ah, there's a price to be paid).
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: staehpj1 on February 26, 2021, 04:53:47 pm
Two things I forgot to mention:
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: bikersbishop on February 27, 2021, 12:18:03 am
You all have been super with your feedback. Thank you so much for your input.

Traveling alone on a recumbent, my character leaves town in a depressed state of mind. So his gun could either extend his life or shorten it. Currently, I have it packed in a pannier, but now I'm considering stowing the gun in a belt bag. He sees himself as a law-abiding citizen and respectful of other people, but that will be hard to maintain as he crosses state lines and ventures onto people's property. You've given me plenty to consider. Thank you again.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: jamawani on February 27, 2021, 10:02:20 am
Back in 1988 when I was touring cross country, I was riding on a gravel road in the Black Hills.
A pick-up was coming towards me real fast - I did the palms down motion to get him to slow down.
He didn't. He flew by me - kicking up gravel -  and nicked my leg pretty hard.
I gave him the universal hand gesture of greeting. (Probably not so smart)

He screeched to a stop and I spun my bike around facing him.
As he jumped out I said to him in my most diplomatic voice,
"My, my, my. You were in such a hurry a minute ago - - and now you have time to stop."
I stuck my right hand into my handlebar pack.
His buddy in the passenger seat screamed, "He's got a gun! He's got a gun!!"

It was a banana.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: DaveB on February 27, 2021, 10:04:33 am
I've heard from one of the crime noir authors I know, that a sure way to draw critiicism to your work is to make a mistake about guns or gun fights.

If you've been writing for a while, you probably have some expert consultants you can use. If not,  you might hit up a trainer in your region and perhaps a well-trained cyclist who carries a weapon.  Most of these folks will usually consult for the cost of a dinner and proof your fight scenes for you.
+100.  So many authors that try to include firearms use or descriptions make egregious technical errors and get pounced on by knowledgeable readers.  Those errors do a lot of damage to the credibility of everything else you have written so be sure to get really expert help if you go this way. 
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TCS on February 27, 2021, 12:40:59 pm
Currently, I have it packed in a pannier, but now I'm considering stowing the gun in a belt bag.

Can be kind of a tight area pedaling a recumbent.

Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TCS on February 27, 2021, 12:54:20 pm
Traveling alone on a recumbent, my character leaves town in a depressed state of mind.

The open road, fresh air and physical activity will do your character a world of good!

You meet the occasional blow-hard or whack job (wow!  a little judgemental there, tcs!) when cycletouring, but the overwhelming story of bike travelers is one of meeting total strangers who are almost desperate to do them some kindness.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TCS on February 27, 2021, 01:07:28 pm
He sees himself as a law-abiding citizen and respectful of other people, but that will be hard to maintain as he crosses state lines and ventures onto people's property.

Hey, now there's a topic worthy of its own thread - stealth camping!

Established campgrounds can be inconveniently located for bike travelers and sometimes charge usurous rates out of proportion to amenities.  If you tour long enough, there will probably come a situation where...well...

Perhaps surprisingly, the '9 Principles for Bikepackers' seems to come down on the 'don't stealth camp' side. 

https://bikepacking.com/plog/seven-principles-for-bikepackers/
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: David W Pratt on February 27, 2021, 02:16:01 pm
Mr. Nettles, as usual, offers valuable insights. 
Two problems people who like guns have with carrying one on a bike, aside from legalities, are accessibility/control and corrosion.  If personal protection is part of the rationale, being separated from the weapon sort of negates that.  Kind of like having lights for visibility, and not turning them on.  Responsible, ethical ownership also requires continuous control of the firearm, that means on your person, not in the pannier, unless you get it out when you get off the bike. 
Bike riders are also, I hear from reliable sources, sweaty.  That sweat is full of water, salt, and other stuff that love to corrode metals.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: ray b on February 27, 2021, 09:34:49 pm
...and you alreadi know the game. Be specific about brands and get the placement fees in the contract.... Oh, and gun guys love the rare stuff. Maybe its a piece left by his dead father who was a collector. I temember a story from a colleague that involved looking up the process for unloading a unusual gun the nursing home personel found under his father's pillow when he died.

Have fun. One meets some interestng people along the path of background research for a novel..., kinda like bike touring.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: hikerjer on February 28, 2021, 11:55:19 am
" the overwhelming story of bike travelers is one of meeting total strangers who are almost desperate to do them some kindness.


That's certainly been my experience.  It's one of the great things about bicycle touring.  To me the  idea of  packing a gun on  a tour is absurb.  The very epitome of "overkill".
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: ray b on February 28, 2021, 12:31:50 pm
Traveling alone on a recumbent, my character leaves town in a depressed state of mind.

The open road, fresh air and physical activity will do your character a world of good!...
Well put. It will be tough to keep the protagonist in a depressed state on the road. A lot of data out there to show that exercise is our best antidepressant, even when compared with electroconvulsive therapy and modern pharmacology .

From a practical perspective I like to point out that breathing is important, and when we are fighting for every breath up a hill at altitude, not much else seems important. Problems of daily life become minuscule.

I just came across an article from Matias Corea in the December BMW Motorcycle Owners News. On returning from a 6-month trip from Brooklyn to Ushuaia along many back roads, he noted the following on returning to Red Hook:

Around me I see everyone preoccupied with the small routines that bind their lives. Going to the grocery store, being late for work, plans for Saturday night… just the old regular life I'd lived for so long. None of this seems important now. I still carry the reflex of the simpler road life.

Does this mean that the popular sequel, your hero realizes his life is simpler, more meaningful and happier on the road, meeting people and just helping out where he can? James Grant (Lee Child) is in semi- retirement. Once your character finds what makes him happy, maybe your he/she can be the modern Jack Reacher. Think about the film rights. Brad Cooper? Denzel Washington? (Always good to have someone in mind.)
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: jkbrooks on February 28, 2021, 03:17:53 pm
I had a friend of a friend who commuted & raced in the late 80s & early 90s. He carried with a holster visible at about his right jersey pocket (on his back.) Not a revolver.

He carried because he'd had issues with redneck motorists in rural areas. He wanted it visible when he was on the road as a deterrent.

I looked into it at one point (more out of curiosity than out of intention.) I believe a holster that has some stretch and hugs the body is a possibility.

I get this is a plot point and you've likely moved on at this point. I wouldn't carry on a bike. I generally find I'm "overserved" with crap to worry about while I'm on the bike as it is and adding a radical variable like firearms to the list would probably leave me sitting on the couch rocking fore & aft to comfort myself. Possibility of dropping it, losing it, leaving it unattended, unwittingly violating some local, federal or state law would leave me catatonic. And, I've got minimal confidence that I'd be in a position on the bike where it would be the right answer . . . although a mountain biker got killed about 10 miles from me by a cougar a couple years ago . . . Still, odds are pretty low I'm next up on that list.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: BikePacker on March 01, 2021, 07:23:13 am
I had a friend of a friend ..... He carried with a holster visible ... Not a revolver ... because he'd had issues with ....
My m.o., as described in a much earlier post,
the very reason I would selectively / per my best situational awareness guess would guide me,
carry a canister of bear fogger on my hip,
yet, never a firearm.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: Westinghouse on March 01, 2021, 09:56:28 am
I never carried a firearm. If there was ever a situation where I needed one, I cannot remember it. Two one-liners about firearms come to mind. It is better to have one and not need it than it is to need it and not have it. I would rather be judged by twelve than be carried by six. That would apply to most any case of self defense.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: bikersbishop on March 03, 2021, 10:15:21 pm
Thank you all for the stellar feedback. I've made some modifications to my story as a result.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: Westinghouse on March 08, 2021, 10:00:26 pm
This cyclist is very depressed. He sets out on a long distance tour along coastal California. He has a gun. I think you have created a hook.  It is a plot. How about the rest of the story. Is he a pro or an ant? What does this cyclist end up doing?
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: jwrushman on March 09, 2021, 06:41:23 am
Please, no spoilers...  I'm waiting for the book!
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on March 09, 2021, 07:20:31 am
Years ago I carried a Bauer .25 when I went to night school in the city. It is a very small semi-automatic that fit in the palm of your hand. It was purely a close range defensive weapon and did not pack a huge punch but was light weight and highly concealable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauer_Automatic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauer_Automatic)
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: John Nettles on March 09, 2021, 09:34:01 am
When I was a youngster (teens and 20s), I never went anywhere without my Zephal HPX https://www.amazon.com/Zefal-Frame-Pump-59-64cm-Silver/dp/B002LR61VM (https://www.amazon.com/Zefal-Frame-Pump-59-64cm-Silver/dp/B002LR61VM) . Highly recommend others do too.


Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on March 09, 2021, 09:43:43 am
I still carry a long throw frame pump. In the proper hands it can extend your reach, but I would rather ride away and live to tour another day. :)
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: TundraRider on March 23, 2021, 04:34:59 pm
Unless you are thoroughly trained in the safe use of firearms I would say no, too many things can go wrong like killing an innocent bystander or even shooting yourself. Carrying the extra weight wouldn't be worth it. If you are worried about defense against people and/or animals I would carry bear spray.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: Westinghouse on March 26, 2021, 12:08:23 am
I knocked down people-sized targets at 300 meters with an M 16 automatic weapon in the army. All you need are practice, a sharp eye, a steady hand and knowledge of trajectory of your particular firearm. It isn't rocket science. I have cycled about 35,000 miles through 19 countries. I do not recall a time when I needed a hand gun. But then again, things happen all the time. If you are legally eligible to carry a concealed hand gun, more power to you. If the situation should arise, it's the bad guy who will be the statistic, and not yourself. That's the way it should be. Keep the powder dry.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: BikePacker on March 26, 2021, 08:21:28 am
.....if you are worried about defense against people and/or animals I would carry bear spray.
Amen.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: Rixtoy on March 28, 2021, 11:19:40 pm
Worst bicycle fatality EVER . . .

Only related to this post because of the gun linkage, but this happened on Friday in Wichita-
Eyewitnesses say a man on a bike had the right of way in a crosswalk with a crossing signal for him being green.
A woman was irritated because she had to wait to turn through the crosswalk, so she hit him with her van - THEN GOT OUT OF THE VAN, SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD AND DROVE OFF. Witnesses followed her and radioed police , who stopped and arrested her. she DID NOT KNOW THE MAN.

"WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a bicyclist is dead after a woman struck him with her van as he crossed a Wichita street and then apparently shot him.

 Charity Charmon Blackmon, 31,  was booked into jail Friday night on suspicion of first-degree murder, driving with a suspended license, unsafe turning or stopping and failure to give proper signal.

Wichita police chief Gordon Ramsay said the victim was either riding or walking his bicycle when he was hit Friday afternoon. Ramsay said the initial reports were that the suspect got out to shoot the man after the crash.

Ramsay said police would know definitively if he was shot after an autopsy. The man’s name wasn’t immediately released."


Horrible . . .





Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: hikerjer on March 30, 2021, 12:04:01 pm
Of course, it's horrible, but that's how it is in a country with a gun culture like ours.  Not meaning to get too political, but that's what many Americans see as a soluton to their disputes and problems -  a gun
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: BikePacker on March 31, 2021, 07:05:48 am
.... culture like ours ....
A "...culture like ours...." hikerjer would benefit immensely from actually enforcing all laws that are already legislated.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: John Nettles on March 31, 2021, 10:37:34 am
.... gun culture like ours...
I am not a gun owner, but have no issues with gun ownership and am actually a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment (and all the Amendments). 

You say we have a "gun culture".  However, to me, it is our overall culture that is the problem, not our gun culture, and it has been getting steadily worse for 10+ years.  Again, to me, a very high percentage of the population only seems to care about themselves and not others ("it's all about me").  This is in all aspects of life from the very top to the bottom.  People get "offended" for the slightest reasons, even if the action is minor or not directed at them personally.  This has beget the cancel culture, violence, hate, anger, "us vs. them attitudes", etc. which in turn has created the desire for more people to look for ways to defend themselves.  Our country is very divided right now because people are not willing to consider others.  People think they are entitled to have their way on everything anymore.  If they don't get it, they get angry and lash out in anyway they want/can.  To get rid of the "problem", some destroy people and businesses through the cancel culture, others use guns.  Neither is acceptable to me when 99.9% of the time, if people would try to respect (not necessarily agree though) others, the "problem" would not exist. 

Note that I am against non-lawful gun violence.  By that I mean this lady who shot the bicyclist above seems to be in a non-lawful manner and should be punished to the full extent of the law.  However, a homeowner that shoots an intruder breaking into his home is, in my opinion, totally justified.

The left's cancel culture can be just as violent and in some aspects much worse than gun violence as it restricts our free exchange of ideas which is very much the basis of our country.  For instance, say the right had control of the cancel culture.  Your comment may very well be viewed as "unacceptable" and you would receive unjustified outlash accordingly.  Just for sharing your idea/opinion.  Again, this is just showing that people only care about what they want and believe, not willing to consider or even listen to different ideas. 

I firmly believe our society will continue to deteriorate until our culture begins to care about things other than just themselves.

All that said, this thread is about exhausted.  The OP's question has been answered and we are now just descending into a political flamefest which has NOTHING to do with bicycle touring.
Tailwinds, John
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on March 31, 2021, 11:58:38 am
Well said John, thank you.
Title: Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
Post by: ray b on March 31, 2021, 12:54:57 pm
All that said, this thread is about exhausted. The OP's question has been answered and we are now just descending into a political flamefest which has NOTHING to do with bicycle touring.
Tailwinds, John

Agree with you on all points including the last. (The purpose of the thread was to help write a novel, not solve the problems of a litigious and contemptuous populace..., though - back on thread - interpersonal conflict always plays well in books, movies, and internet "news.")