Author Topic: HELP! Being Harrased by Police!  (Read 15707 times)

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Offline trainfinder22

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« on: July 10, 2004, 07:47:45 pm »
  I like bikeing and camping out on the road on my bike
so why are cops harrasing me for sleeping outside..any suggestions on to ask a town for permit to sleep in there park till morning?

Offline JayH

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2004, 06:20:13 pm »
I would actually ask the local cops if you plan on camping in a park or side of the road.. Ask them where you can perhaps set up a tent, out of way, they can certainly point you in the right direction and most of them aren't unfriendly if they realize you are just passing through and a bike tourer, not a vagrant.  Churches might also be a good location too.

In other words, try to avoid just setting up a tent in plain view, if possible try to ask before and it'll avoid a lot of conflicts..  If that is not possible, set up camp after dark in again in a place as far away from plain view as possible.


Offline cidhandyman

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2004, 03:27:31 am »
I agree with the previous post but you also may want to make sure that your tent fly is not bright orange or some other high visibility color.  It helps when you need to "stealth camp" to be able to blend in.  Also try to locate your "camp" far away from motorist's parking and park entrances and anything associated with childrens playgrounds.   You dont want to end up with any regrets just trying to setup camp for a night.   I would highly recommend speaking to any security or policeman on site to let them know your intentions ahead of time.  It might save you a very early flashlight wake up call.


Keep pedaling

Julian H.

Offline cyclist

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2004, 03:07:08 am »
I agree with handyman, find an area if at all possible that is out of the way of traffic, and people, yett not so secluded that your safty is in danger, a good place to start is with police departments they can put you in the right direction. Also if you run across a place that is watched by security, normall just ask them if you can camp for the night, letting them know who you are, showing i,d does help, and they as rule do not have a problem with this, and in turn can notify the police  that they are aware of your presents and that everything is ok. Kills two birds with one stone ya might say.  :)

Offline scott.laughlin

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2004, 06:17:24 pm »
Always seek permission.  In most casdes the police only want to know who you are.

But, for the times when you can't find a place, carry a 5'x7' tarp.  It's light, and it's small.  Rolling up in a tarp and laying the bike down will make you invisible in tall grass.

If you're along you hope it is a cop who harrasses you.


Offline cyclist

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2004, 07:01:31 pm »
I just want to add here, to a coment posted on this topic, about the church thing, thats a great idea, they never turn people away. Find out ahead of time what churches are in that area, and call them  to let them know your plans, and they will as a rule let you stay there. Just bring your rosery. Hvae a great day.  :)

Offline Peaks

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2004, 09:11:40 pm »
Harrased?  Not on our cross country trip.  

But, unless you are camping in an established site, always ask permission first.  If a site is unstaffed, you usually check in with the local police.  

In New Town Montana, the local police came out in the middle of the night to tell us that there was a line of severe storms coming through, and advised us to pick up and seek shelter inside.  I'm glad they did.

Offline MikeJuvrud

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2005, 03:15:35 am »
In small/average sized towns it can be good strategy to just ask someone who lives next to the park. Usually they are so surprised someone is actually biking with all that stuff that they will contact and get approval from the proper authority for you.

Offline pmspirito

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2005, 11:46:51 pm »
I've got a book around the house here somewhere about this guy's cross country trip where he camped almost exclusively at churches.  He noted that various "brands" of churches each had their own style of hospitality that was consistant through out the country denomination. That hospitality ranged from "No you can't stay here" (really), to sleep inside have  dinner, do your laundry and have breakfast.  It was also noted that the greater the emenities the greater the preaching. There were also those middle of the road denominations where you came, you camped, you waved good bye as the sun rose.  I have got to find that book.

best wishes from the back of the pack,  Peter & Judy Spirito
best wishes from the back of the pack,  Peter & Judy Spirito

Offline tgpelz

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 12:12:29 am »
As others have said, when passing though a community ASK the police where a good place to camp is.  

If they are negative types, keep on peddling.  

Oh, I don't wait until dusk to begin looking for somewhere to sleep.

In those cases, I "dive in".  That is I find a wooded areas about 100 yrds off the road and disappear into that area.

Note, that I have had to do this only a couple of times in 20 + years of bike touring in the USA.  

I have slept in peoples front yards, on picnic benches in front of resturants, community parks, county parks and state and federal parks.

I like the state and federal parks because they usually have showers.

Note that many states have laws about bike tourists.  That is, a state park cannot turn you away - even if they are full.   The private campgrounds can.

When I camp, I make certain that there is no evidence of my being there.  I even clean up a larger area than I used.  

I carry plastic bags to haul the stuff out.


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2005, 02:01:47 pm »
Speaking as a Minnesota State Park Ranger, I'll confirm that in our state parks and forest recreation areas,we will never turn a cyclist away. We will find a space for you, even if it's next to the dumpster! I have put cyclists in empty group camps,(one little tent in a 5 acre camp site.) picnic areas and on the edge of parking lots in the past. I have also had cyclists (two, to be precise) stiff us on the camping fees, one for six nights worth. Just to make me feel better, I had one guy biking through who only had one and a half nights fee on him, and I let him stay the second night. Danged if three days later we didn't get a check from him for the remainder and a bundle of firewood!

I would agree that you should at least check in with local police, rangers, etc. for your own safety, if nothing else. I remember when I was with the NPS years ago, the Morning Report (transmitted to all NPS units each Monday - Friday) recounted the search for two cyclists who camped in a area closed for safety reasons, and were washed away by a flash flood. They were found dead, downstream, two days later, still tangled up in their tent and sleeping bags. If they had stopped and asked, they would have been directed to a safe area.

Ride safe,

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline sam21fire

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2005, 06:08:29 pm »
All the responses here are excellent!  Two additional points I've found to be effective is to emphasize when you're asking about a place to stay for the night that you'll be leaving at or near sunrise, before most people are up and moving.  That way, the local patrolman has less chance of having to explain himself to his/her boss if he's stretching the rules a bit. And secondly, stop by a local bike shop and ask someone there if there's some place to pitch a tent.  You'll often find that either an employee or customer will step up with an offer or idea.

Offline TheDaltonBoys

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2005, 02:44:25 pm »
When my brothers and I did the Katy in MO. not only were most Park Rangers, Law Enforcement personnel helpful when asked, but on two occasions they called to towns ahead to tell them we were coming through, then let us know where we would be camping, and on one of those occasions, the local constabulary would  be waiting on show us how to re-secure the park bathrooms after we left. Yeah....just ask and allow time at the end of the day to ask.

Offline DaveB

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2005, 02:50:59 pm »
All of the suggestions boil down to "ask first" and this is absolutely the only way to avoid problems with the police.  

Put yourself on the other side of the question.  Let's say you came home and found an unfamiliar tent with an unknown occupant set up near your house. Wouldn't you want to know a lot more about who it was before you felt comfortable?

Offline Imhyper2u

HELP! Being Harrased by Police!
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2005, 12:09:41 pm »
The main reason for harassment by the cops is b/c of the vagrants that mess it up for everyone else

Pedal pusher 4ever
Pedal pusher 4ever