Author Topic: Safety-- women travellers  (Read 7441 times)

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Offline mollykomeara

Safety-- women travellers
« on: March 14, 2006, 10:02:54 am »
I'm biking from MN to LA with a friend of mine.  We're taking the northern tier from Minneapolis to Glacier, dropping south on the Great Parks and then heading to the coast on the Lewis and Clarke trail, where we'd be meeting up with more folks (safety at this point isn't much of a concern to me).  But from MN to OR I was wondering if y'all could comment on safety, especially for two women travellers.  Many of my (anti-gun) friends are now telling me to buy a pistol for the trip, and I don't know if this is an overreaction or good sense.  Please let me know what you think!  Any info would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Offline wanderingwheel

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2006, 01:40:14 pm »
I can't claim any first-hand knowledge with regards to your question, but I've never had any safety concerns on any of my solo tours.  I have met a few solo women travellers and they never mentioned any problems or worries, but I didn't ask either.  One woman did mention that she felt people noticed her and looked out for her more when she was travelling alone or with another person than when she was in a larger group.  Furthermore, I really can't imagine any situation that a gun would solve.



  • Guest
Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2006, 07:52:17 am »
One woman did mention that she felt people noticed her and looked out for her more when she was travelling alone...

That is exactly what my sweetheart said on return from a solo trip. Another woman with much XC riding experience remarked that she was probably safer in those small towns than in any large city. Do you carry when walking alone in Minneapolis?

I'd say to trust your good instincts just as you would anywhere. If a place doesn't look and feel attractive, move on. When camping in small town "city park" campgrounds, check in with the cops (or the local equivalent, often the grocery store owner) if only to avoid having them check you out later that night.

Forget the pistol. Even with proper training, it is more likely to do damage than prevent it. So say the shooters I know, anyway.


Offline mollykomeara

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2006, 09:18:44 am »
Thanks for your replies!  It does seem strange to even be considering a gun, since I've lived in Minneapolis and LA and never felt unsafe, or unsafe in a way that would be helped by a weapon... but I guess it's just the empty space that is making me nervous--  most self-defense techniques rely on making your attacker afraid you'll attract attention-- and I'm just worried what that would mean when there is NO ONE around.  I guess maybe we should just plan really well and make sure we are always camping near people instead of in the middle of nowhere.  But that kind of sucks too.  Are there any women out there that can respond?  Thanks!

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2006, 09:40:34 am »
As a law enforcement officer (park ranger) I would strongly urge you to NOT carry a handgun with you from state to state. The laws on carrying a weapon vary widely from state to state, and in some states you could be arrested just for coming across the border with it in your immediate possesion. Let me suggest this, instead; You are going into grizzly bear should have a can of bear pepper spray if you will be on the road/trail during the summer month in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Just keep it with you afterwards. It works on people, too. (I doubt you will need it for bears or people, but it should give you some reassurance.)

You don't say when you are planning your trip, but we are having a "bikpacking" workshop at Lake Maria State Park, outside of Monticello, (45 miles NW of Mlps. via I-94) on June 17th at noon. Cost is only 5 bucks. (plus park entry) More info at

Ride safe,

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
"Every person has a river to are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson


  • Guest
Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2006, 08:54:07 am »
Are there any women out there that can respond?

Molly, please email me at the address in my profile. I'll refer you to "that woman with much XC riding experience."


Offline 5thdown

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 03:30:25 am »
Women have a whole new set of potential problems traveling alone, especially attractive women. I would not let that stop you but you need to be smart.  Know where you are, who is around you and do not go into denial mode (everything is ok). Do not take unneccesary risks. A PISTOL is out of the question. It will give you a false sense of security and may get you in trouble.  BEAR SPRAY by UDAP is the answer.  It can drop 10 men to their knees in a second.  You do not need to be accurate. They make a bike holder, hip holster, and chest holster. UDAP Bear spray with caution and common sense is the answer. Good luck!

Offline ptaylor

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2006, 09:49:36 pm »

I have been a participant in this forum for a year or so. It is not uncommon to see queries from people concerned about their personal security. The answers to these queries are usually about the same as to your query. Please get back to this forum after your trip, and let us know how it went.  Thanks!

Your trip sounds wonderful, especially the Going To The Sun Highway at Glacier National Park. Unforgettable!

I regret that I can only do one bike tour per year.


Offline scott.laughlin

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2006, 10:14:33 pm »
A few years ago i interviewed a young lady who traveled around the world alone.  She told me she found that wearing loose-fitting, earth-tone clothing helped her.


  • Guest
Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2006, 08:24:48 pm »
It should be noted that depending on your state of residence, the state of issuance, the states through which you plan on traveling, the type of firearm, and your willingness to pay applicable permit fees, there are certain permits availble that make interstate travel with a firearm perfectly legal. This is most common in teh southern states. Also note that many states have regulations which may allow or disallow the transport of firearms across thier borders regardless of other permits. There is no federal permit for interstate transportation of firearms. A cursory internet search should provide any interested parties with enough basic information and contact channels through which more information can be obtained.

Anyone considering purchasing a firearm for any purpose should first consider all legalities as well as proper saftey and use training.

As for the false sense of security some claim firearms provide, the same can be said for any manner of devensive tools and techniques with which the user is neither familiar nor comfortable.

As a man I do not pretend to know the true reality of what women may have to deal with. However, having listened to many women talk about saftey concerns and solutions, basic women's specific self-defense techniques seem popular and effective in both providing practical tools and techniques for defense but also in increasing self confidence, if it's lacking in the first place, in many situations, both threatening and otherwise.

[edit: 4/10/06, 7:25 pm] I should clarify that regardless of permits, National and State parks generally prohibit firearms. Some parks will allow firearms if the carrier notifies a ranger prior to entry and if the firearm is unloaded, cased, broken down if possible, and out of sight. These restrictions won't neccessarily prevent interstate travel but may seriously reduce your camping options.[end of edit]

......... __ o
......(O) (O)...........
i'd rather be biking.

This message was edited by tofubicycle on 4-10-06 @ 4:29 PM

Offline mollykomeara

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2006, 11:41:55 pm »
Thanks for the input folks!  At this point, I'll be heading out (in a week!) armed with only my wits and bear mace :)  I'll let you know how it goes


Offline 5thdown

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2006, 03:00:09 am »
You made the right choice. I hope you don't have to use the bear spray.  Advice: practice different adverse scenarios. Always be assertive and confident.  Do not show confussion.

Offline Coastie

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2006, 03:44:43 pm »
I always carry a pistol with me but then I only ride in states that have a Conceal Handgun License agreement with Texas. I was raised around weapons and used them in the service and law enforcement. A person should not carry a weapon without proper training and license. In all my years, 64, I have never had to use my weapon, but if the need ever arises I will be ready. If a pistol would make you feel better and your properly trained and license for the areas you will be traveling, then do so. You might be forewarned that most Law Enforcement Officers believe they should be the only ones armed.

Offline PaulaJ

Safety-- women travellers
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2006, 09:07:08 pm »
When i did some self contained touring alone, and was just ditching in to to the woods to camp for the night, I was given the advice to carry some REALLY BIG mens underwear and hang them outside the tent to scare off would be interlopers.  Not sure if thats what kept the problems away but I can say I never had a problem. As always, keep your eyes and ears open and listen to your gut instincts.