Monday, June 20, 2011

Accessories Review

I've noticed that one of my most popular posts is the review I did of my Basil Mirte Shopping bag. You can read that post here.  I figured I would do an update and maybe review a few more products as well.

*Note: I am not paid for any of these reviews, nor was I contacted or given any of these products by the companies. These are simply products that I bought & use myself that I think you might be interested in. Also, I am not an Amazon affiliate so the links are simply for your convenience. I don't profit from them at all.

Basil Mirte Shopping Bag

I bought this bag through Amazon last winter after a summer of suffering a sweaty & itchy back from carrying messenger bags & backpacks while biking. It was clear I needed a better way to transport my stuff, so I installed a rear rack on Betty and bought this shopping bag.

The reason why I picked this bag instead of a set of full panniers is because of how easy it is to take on & off the bike; as well as its ability to double as a large purse/bag. I really don't like leaving bags on my bikes, so having a bag that I can simply take off and carry with me while I do my errands was a must-have.

I get compliments on the bag all the time, and most people don't even realize that it is a "bike bag". Not only is it stylish, but its super durable. I used it throughout winter & snow-storms. I used it in spring & thunderstorms. And now I use it with summer & heat & humidity.

The bag does show some slight wear & tear, but over-all still looks almost like it did the day I got it.

The bag has gotten slightly saggy from the weight of things I put in it, but I can live with it.
(Yes, I know Betty's front fender is backwards. The bike shop I ordered her from did that. I've just never gotten around to fixing it, and now its become an endearing trait...)

There is a mark on the back of the bag, where it's made constant contact with one of my rack stays:

Mark from my rear rack
I would not hesitate to recommend this bag to anyone. It's paid for itself, 3 times over. I use it practically everyday.

I'm contemplating buying a set of full panniers from Basil for those occasions where I have a lot more stuff to carry and I don't have to worry about leaving the bags on the bike (i.e. a picnic or a bike trip). I think that's my next gift to myself.

It seems to me that I carry much more "stuff" during the summer than I do in the winter. Sunscreen, hair brush, baby wipes, deodorant...most of this is simply stuff to deal with heat & sweat. I keep three ziplock bags in my bike bag:

-One bag carries my bike tools (multi-tool, patch kit, spare tube, pump, tire levers, screwdriver)
-One bag carries extra clothing (socks, underwear, t-shirt, sunglasses & cap)
-One bag carries toiletries (anti-chafing stuff, deodorant, baby wipes, dry shampoo, hair ties & hair brush, sunscreen)

During the winter, I usually don't need quite as much stuff to deal with sweatiness. Here's two of the products I like:

Hoo Ha Ride Glide

Sorry for the crappy iphone picture.

I can't decide whether I actually like this stuff or not. It has a disturbing "tingling" sensation that I'm not sure is pleasant or not. It definitely works as an anti-chafing cream though. As advertised, you use this on your "hoo ha" area. Since I ride for quite a few hours at a time, I really start to feel chafed and this stuff eases my pain. Again though, it tingles. The tingling is supposed to be refreshing (I suppose). I just find it disturbing. It's not disturbing enough for me not to use it though, and I just like anything with "hoo ha" in the name.

Body Glide

Another crappy iphone pic.

Classic anti-chafing agent. Unlike the Hoo Ha Ride Glide, this isn't a cream. It's a roll-on. Actually, the most benefit I get from Body Glide is on my feet. I use it when I'm running or wearing a particularly horrendous pair of heels to prevent blisters/rubbing. It's good for any kind of chafing where you wouldn't want the messiness of a cream. To be honest, I don't use this with cycling much. 

This is another product that I can't decide whether its worth it or not. For those that have never met me in person, I have really ridiculously long hair. Because its so long, I only wash it once a week. It takes forever and I hate doing it. If I didn't mind wasting time at a salon every week, I would happily pay someone else to do it for me. Unfortunately, I despise being in a salon unless absolutely necessary (hence why my hair is so ridiculously long). This is actually fine. Hair shouldn't be washed everyday, in my opinion. It's better for your hair to let it go a few days between washing. However, I wear a bike helmet almost every day, for hours on end. I sweat. The sweat can't evaporate because of the helmet. After a few days, my hair starts to gross me out (even if other people say its just fine). I decided that I needed some sort of dry shampoo to get me through the week.

I know that you can use cornstarch with the same effect, but that just seemed messier than I was willing to deal with. I needed something quick, easy & transportable. Carrying around a baggie or container of cornstarch is not something I want to do. I checked out reviews from various hair forums, and found that Batiste was consistently ranked high among dry shampoo users. I bought the brunette version.

Using it is pretty simple: you simply spray onto hair, massage into scalp, then brush out. 

My verdict: it works as advertised. Which is to say that my hair doesn't have that "fully shampooed and washed" feeling, but it doesn't feel like a greasy, sweaty mess either. It's not a miracle worker, but it does  the job I need it to, and it does it easily & quickly. Downside? It can get pretty expensive. I can see how one bottle is not going to last very long (I ordered two). Will it be worth it? Time will tell.

I get the most comments/questions about this accessory on Betty than any other. This is an accessory you can buy directly from Electra. It should fit just about any handlebar size, and it works like a standard camera mount (there is a screw that fits into your camera, just like a tripod). I use this all the time to take pictures/video safely. I can easily adjust the camera angle mid-ride & it holds the camera pretty securely. I did have one little accident with it. I'm not sure what happened, but while I was riding the CCT the screw managed to come loose, and my poor little camera went flying. It suffered minor damage, but it was annoying. That was the only time that's ever happened though, in more than a year of usage. You do need to be careful with the screw, because I accidentally lost the part that keeps it attached to the mount. Be gentle!

And for my most favorite product lately:

I love listening to music, but I hate wearing headphones/earbuds while riding. I think its dangerous and inconsiderate. What's a girl to do? Bike speakers!

Last year, I saw that Nirve sold a set of bike speakers similar to these and I bought them. When I plugged in my iphone, the speakers began smoking & then exploded. Not the effect I was looking for :-(
I think my iphone was a little too powerful for it. I was a little hesitant about ordering the Soundshell, since it looks like its basically the same model---but they assured me the iphone 4 would be compatible.

Sure enough, no smoking or explosions occurred when I plugged in my iphone! YAY! These speakers are great. They are easy to attach/detach, the sound quality is great & I have no problem hearing my music.


-Because of the velcro straps, it does have a tendency to slip around on the frame during bumpy rides. This is easily fixed with a ziptie or some other object that you can wrap around the frame to keep it in place.
-Probably won't want to use this during rain.
-I need to get an itouch or ipod to use with this instead of my iphone, so I don't need to detach & unzip & unplug everytime I get a phone call during a ride (I don't ride and talk, I promise. I always stop and pull over).

There's also a little pocket in case you want to carry small items inside the case as well.

You can attach it to the frame or the handlebars.

I hope you enjoyed these reviews, and let me know if you try these products (or if you have any recommendations yourself!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sunset riding.

I don't normally post much about my daily commutes because they are boring. My commute to and from work is only about a mile & a half. Nothing much happens. A commute post would pretty much read like this:

"I rode straight for a little while, then I stopped at a light & then I made a left & then a right and stopped for a few more lights and then I was at work. Oh, and there's always that guy that insists on riding the wrong way on Harvard. I don't know why he does that. It's irritating. The end."

If you like reading about interesting commutes, you should check out Tales from The Sharrows. Every commute sounds like an epic ride :-)

I decided to shake things up tonight and go out for a sunset ride. I really wish I had remembered to bring my camera with me, it was beautiful out. The weather was perfect. It was so nice to walk outside and not feel like I walked into someone's armpit.

I began my ride by using the 15th St. cycle-track. I can never decide what's the best way to reach it. I really wish DDOT would hurry up and finish the extension up to Euclid. I either have to ride down 16th St. (which is suicidal at times, and stressful at others) and then go the wrong way down V St. OR I ride the wrong way down 15th St. (which makes me feel like a dick) and chance the horrendous crossing at 15th/W/New Hampshire. Either way is a poor choice.

The cycletrack was full of cyclists tonight. It's always interesting to note the different kinds of cyclists & bikes. I wish the track was in better condition though. There is stippling of the pavement about every 10 feet in the southbound direction, which makes for a bumpy & uncomfortable ride. I also noticed there are no turn arrows at K St. & I St. This is a problem because right-turning vehicles are not always looking for cyclists coming up on their right.

Don't even get me started on the Kamikaze pedestrians (eyes locked onto their phones, earbuds in ears, oblivious to everything around them). Speaking of pedestrians, I really wish they wouldn't jump like I had tasered them when I ding my bell. I try to do it far enough behind that it shouldn't be a startling sound. And yet this one woman jumped 10 feet in the air when I dinged. I promise I wasn't trying to run you over lady, I was letting you know where I was!

I wonder if the vehicle barricade at the entrance to Lafayette square is broken. There has been yellow tape draped across the barricades for months now. I sometimes wonder if its a passive aggressive move by the USSS to force cyclists to use the sidewalk rather than the road to get to Penn Ave (and the other side of the cycletrack).....

I decided to use the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, because I love looking at the U.S. Capitol at the end. One major design flaw with these lanes: the pedestrian islands. Twice, I had to warn pedestrians that I was coming through because they were standing directly in my path, and both times I was forced into vehicular traffic because they didn't move. They weren't wrong either. They were right where they are supposed to be. Problem is, so was I. Two objects cannot occupy the same space, no matter how hard DDOT tries. There has to be some sort of solution to this. Maybe signage on the islands warning pedestrians to watch for oncoming cyclists? I dunno. I feel like a dick plowing through them (even with my dinging)....but that's where the bike lane goes, and I had the right of way. Oh well.

I then turned onto the National Mall, and rode along it towards the Washington Monument. I was hoping the Carousel was still open, but it had shut down for the evening. It's my favorite part of the Mall. There were lots of softball teams playing on the Mall, which I'm always leery of. There's simply not enough room. I'm afraid of being pelted in the head by an errant softball. Aren't there softball fields they can play in? It's just my own irrational fear though.

I rode past the Washington Monument and decided to head over to Haines Point for a lap around the park. I love riding around there and watching the different boats on the river. I saw several sailboats and a few yachts. Plenty of people out fishing too. I wonder if you need a permit to fish there? I don't know. I would love to have a picnic there sometime. Also, ducks. Lots of ducks. I love them. I wanted to take one home and let him live in my bathtub. The Boy wouldn't approve of that, though.

After Haines Point, I wanted to ride over the 14th St. bridge to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. I really wish I had my camera. I love lakes & rivers. I grew up on the shores of one of the Great Lakes (Ontario), and along a river. I miss it.

I would have ridden further, but it was getting dark and I was starving. I took 15th street back home, and it was pretty uneventful.

And that's my bike adventure for today :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bike Fest Round-up!

First I want to thank all of you that have sent me your support regarding my last post & the upcoming sentencing hearing. The response has been very encouraging and more than I expected. Thank you. I will post reminders as the hearing date draws near.

Bike Fest was wonderful & fun. I hope WABA was able to raise plenty of funds! I was a little nervous about riding to Crystal City & back at night. I'm glad I did though. I've ridden the Mt. Vernon trail plenty of times during the day, but I was a concerned about not being able to see at night. I needn't have worried. Betty's lights were adequate, and the moon & surrounding lights kept the trail visible. There was one section where I had to slow wayyyy down & pick my way along carefully because it was almost pitch-black because of trees. The weather was perfect. The temperature had dropped enough that it didn't feel like I was pedaling through soup anymore. Much cooler, if still a bit more humid than I would have liked.

Before leaving work, I managed to meet up with the Mt. Pleasant Cruiser Rider group to introduce myself. They were doing a convoy from Mt. Pleasant to Crystal City, but I wasn't going to be able to join them since I couldn't leave work until 8pm. I still stopped by say hello & met up with them again at Bike Fest. I can't wait to join them on one of their group rides (Tuesday nights). The fact that they end with beer is a bonus. Woo!

On my way to Crystal City (from Columbia Heights), I took the 15th St. cycle-track. This put me almost smack in the middle of the Capital Pride Parade, HA! There were so many people out and about, and rainbow paraphernalia littered the streets & sidewalks. I dinged my bell at all the happy celebrants, and carefully made my way around the tipsy crowds. It was an encouraging start to my night.

From 15th St. I made my way around the Tidal Basin and over to the bridge. I love riding over the Potomac and watching the Yachts roll by. After that, I was on the Mt. Vernon trail headed to Crystal City. Someone chalked directions on the trail to Bike Fest, which was very helpful especially towards the end. I definitely would have gotten lost otherwise. The trail was virtually empty (except at Gravelly Point) when I was on it. It was lovely. It was still twilight out, and at one point I rode through an area shaded by trees and there were fireflies everywhere! At the exit point for Crystal City, a group of tall-bike riders stood by to direct people to Bike Fest. Awesome! I stopped briefly to chat and we admired each other's bikes. Then I made my way to the Crystal City shops. Like I said, its a good thing someone chalked the directions on the road, because I would have gotten totally turned around. But at last, I made it.

I was a hot & sweaty mess, but I was ready to have a good time. The festival area was set up in a large room with a stage at the front, and booths all around the exterior. There were games & performers & a band & food & was a little overwhelming. Upon entry, I was given an envelope containing 10 "Bike Fest" dollars to use for the games & buying drinks. Food was free. (Hot dogs, popcorn, ice-cream....typical "carnival" fare). For each game that you won, you received a raffle ticket. You could also purchase additional Bike Fest dollars or raffle tickets as well.

Bike Fest Buck

Raffles went on periodically throughout the evening. I didn't win any of the raffles (I have the worst luck), but I did manage to win one of the silent auctions! (And by "win" I mean I hovered like a deadly hawk, ready to strike should someone outbid me). There were plenty of items up for grabs in the silent auction like unicycle lessons, a preview of the 50 States ride, an Allant Trek Bike, front row orchestra seats...but the one that caught my eye was the "Weekend on the Canal".  A weekend getaway? At a lockhouse on the C&O Canal? This was just what the doctor ordered. So I bid. Higher than the retail price, but still worth it in my opinion. And I won. Wooo! I come. I can't wait.

The games were fun & entertaining, the performers were enchanting, the band (Second String Band) was amazing. Side note: I see they have an upcoming show at Solly's. You know where I'll be! My favorite showcase was Cranky Style. Jay Hudson is an amazing artist that actually does "cruiser styling". He had a couple of bikes that he made-over for BicyleSPACE on display and they looked amazing. I especially liked the houndstooth bike. Betty might be up for a make-over one sure to check out the gallery on his website.

houndstooth bike (and my blobby shadow)
People dancing to the Second String Band (notice how I stealthily hid behind a palm tree)

The best part of the evening was meeting folks that I've only known via twitter. It was great to finally put 3D faces to the names. 

When the evening came to an end, I was sad to leave. But happy to hop back on Betty ride back to DC. I love riding through DC at night. The Washington Monument was absolutely stunning. I love it when the tourists aren't around.

Overall, a wonderful evening of Biking DC.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Victory (sort of)

(Final update to the story here).

Remember when that guy purposely hit me with his car, and then tried to run away but got caught? If not you can re-read my post from that day here. I can finally tell you the whole story, because this whole saga is basically at an end.

But before I get to that, I wanna talk about Bike Fest. You are going, aren't you? If you haven't got tickets yet, you should still be able to get them at the gate. I plan on going (I already bought my ticket). I was hoping to catch the Mount Pleasant Cruiser Convoy to Crystal City, but I don't get out of work until 8pm, and I'm betting they will have left by then. I'm going to beg to get out of work a little early, but I'm not sure if I will be successful. I'm a little apprehensive about riding the Mount Vernon trail after dark. I have lights on Betty, but they are more for visibility than for me being able to see in the dark. If you have any tips for me, let me know! Also, if you happen to be riding from the Columbia Heights/Petworth/Adams Morgan area, drop me a line.

Anyway, back to my story. One night, back in February, I was riding a Capital Bikeshare bike home (I was doing the Winter Weather Warrior contest, remember?)

I was stopped at the intersection of 13th and Kenyon St. NW at a red light, waiting to turn left onto 13th St. Kenyon is a one-way street going west, and I was on the left side of the street, since I would be turning left. While waiting for the light I heard a car speed up Kenyon St. behind me. I could sense the car stop immediately behind me, extremely close. It was aggressive, but fairly typical aggressive driver behavior. I didn't think much of it because we were at a red light, and there was no where for him to go anyway.

And that's when I felt a *BUMP* from behind. Nothing too hard, but enough to intimidate. Now, remember: I knew he had STOPPED behind me. So this was a conscious decision by the driver to hit me with his vehicle. I could hear laughing coming from the car behind me. They thought this was HILARIOUS. Also, there was a taxi to my right, waiting for the light as well that even remarked on this behavior ("asshole" is what I think the taxi driver said).

I ignored this. Why? 98% of the time, it is not worth it to engage with an aggressive driver. At best, you end up getting angrier, at worst, you get hurt. Plus, I spend the majority of my day dealing with people like this and by the time I'm done with work I Just. Don't. Want. To. Anymore.

The light turned green and I started to proceed. And then I felt *BUMP!!!!!* again, this time a bit harder.

Oh no. No. No. No. I can't ignore this. I just can't.

So I stopped. Pulled out my police badge (yes, I'm a cop if you didn't know before. No I really don't want to talk about it, thanks) showed it to the driver and motioned him to stay right where he was.

And that's when he panicked.

Before I get any further, let me explain something to you about a police badge. It doesn't grant you super powers. It's simply a piece of tin embedded with a number. It's not magical. It will not stop bullets. It will not make people do what you want. It will not make you win a fight. I have plenty of friends that always seem to think that because I'm a police officer, I am impervious to assault, robbery & bullets and that I never, ever have to worry about these things. This is not true. If anything, I am more vulnerable. Because instead of just being your average girl, I'm a threat. I live in the fear that should I ever be the victim of a robbery, the criminals will discover my badge and decide they can't risk me living and kill me. This actually happened to a friend of mine who was shot during a robbery when they saw his badge. He lived to talk about it, thankfully--but its a very real and very possible fear.

And that's pretty much what happened here. Instead of seeing a harmless Girl on a Bicycle that he could bully with his car, he suddenly saw someone that was a threat to him. And why was I a threat? Because this upstanding citizen of the District of Columbia makes his living selling illegal drugs, which is more than likely what he was doing that particular night (you will see how I know this a bit later in the story).

All I heard was "Oh shit" come out of his mouth, and the sound of squealing tires as he and his friends desperately tried to run away.

I'm not sure why I decided to go after him. I was on a CaBi, in civilian attire, off-duty. Instinct I guess? I did though. I followed him up Kenyon where he had gotten stuck in traffic & the light at 14th St. NW. I guess he saw me coming after him, because all of a sudden his reverse lights came on (he couldn't go anywhere else), and he started driving backwards towards me. I thought he was going to try to escape down the alley, but I guess he figured it was a dead-end. Anyway, he ended up being blocked in by traffic coming up Kenyon from 13th, so he was boxed in on both sides. I decided to get off my bike and talk to him again. I held up my badge and ordered him to stop. I don't know why I thought this would actually work.

Of course me walking toward him meant for him to step on the gas and accelerate towards me. I managed to get out of the way without him hitting me, but it was very close. So close I was able to hit his side mirror as he went by. The light had changed at 14th & the traffic had begun clearing, so he gunned it and managed to flee out of the block, down 14th St. It was at this time I grabbed my radio (it was in my bag) and broadcasted a look-out and that I needed help.

(Now, I know a lot of folks out there are going to say that this guy only got caught because I was a cop. I'm not going to argue, because its a bit more complicated than that. It's sort of right, and sort of not right. The only advantage I had over a "regular citizen" was my radio--I was able to get the information out to the officers in the field directly, rather than go through 911 call-takers & dispatchers. If anything, my "advantage" is my training. I was able to give the vehicle's tag number, description, as well as the description of the occupants of the vehicle and which direction they were headed in. I've taken plenty of hit & run reports and unfortunately many victims simply don't know what to look for or what's important. It's great that you memorized the license plate number--but we don't arrest cars, we arrest drivers.  Also, license plates get stolen, typically by the sorts of people that do hit & runs. Most of the time, victims cannot positively identify the driver, let alone the car. But that's just my experience)

Anyway, some officers came to my aid on Kenyon to make sure I was alright (I was. Thankfully I was not injured but it was very close). Soon after, they informed me that another officer had spotted the car and pulled it over. I would need to go there to see if I could positively identify the vehicle & driver.

When I arrived to the traffic stop, the driver & passengers had already been pulled from the car. I walked to the front of the car (because that's how I had viewed it back on Kenyon) to make sure it was the same car that hit me. It was. Also, because the doors were all open from when the passengers were taken out, I was able to quite clearly smell a SHIT TON* OF MARIJUANA. There was no mistaking that smell, and it was definitely coming from the car.

I looked over the passengers, and I was able to identify the driver very easily. He was placed under arrest at that point. One of the passengers also had a pending warrant and he was placed under arrest as well. The car was searched very thoroughly, but no marijuana could be found. It's my personal opinion that it was ditched while they fled from me. Either that, or it had just been sold because the driver also had a SHIT TON* OF CASH on him, all in a big wad.

The driver was charged at the scene with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (vehicle), Assault on a Police Officer, Fleeing & Eluding, & Reckless Driving. Needless to say, his vehicle was impounded.

I was very surprised to learn the next day that the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) had agreed to not only prosecute those charges, but also made it two counts of ADW instead of just one. I was also floored when they decided to hold him instead of releasing him (usually you have to kill more than one person to get held in jail in this city, sheesh). So, he was gonna be hanging out in DC Jail for quite awhile...

Anyway, because Mr. Harrison (that's his name) had been charged with (multiple) felonies, a Grand Jury hearing was needed to be sure there was probable cause to charge him. If you are not familiar with how a Grand Jury works in DC, its basically this:

The Grand Jury is made of a panel of 16-23 citizens, all randomly selected. In DC, they sit for about a month at a time, hearing hundreds of cases in that time-frame. There is no judge, nor is the defendant or his attorney present. Besides the Jury, there is a court recorder & the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case.  The AUSA presents their evidence to the Grand Jury in the form of victim & witness testimony, and any other evidence they may have. Unlike a trial, the standard of proof is simply probable cause. They do not find anyone "guilty", just merely that there is enough evidence to charge them with a particular crime. In the Grand Jury, the citizens are able to question any witnesses brought before them to testify. This is the part that always gets a little sticky....

In this case, I was to testify since I was the victim. And of course it became difficult to explain that No, this was not simply as result of a traffic accident, but rather Mr. Harrison purposely hitting me with his vehicle (making it an assault, not a traffic citation), and that No, there was no "bike lane" not that it mattered at all, and No, I did not abuse my power as a police officer for a personal vendetta. It seemed (to me) that there was a slight anti-cyclist bias and a slightly more pronounced bias against DC police officers (which I always expect. It is what it is). But overall, I think I did a fairly good job explaining what happened and why this was a crime.

Apparently the Grand Jury agreed with me and the AUSA, because my next meeting was with the AUSA to discuss the trial. Although the USAO had offered Mr. Harrison a plea deal, he refused it. He even hired some fancy-pants defense attorney (my guess is that when the attorney learned it was a DC police officer that was the victim, they smelled blood & money in the water and offered their services).

I actually would have preferred him to have pled out. I really did not look forward to going to trial. If you have never been a victim of a crime, (or have experience in dealing with them), you have no idea how tiresome & aggravating our system of justice is. You are basically forced re-live the crime over and over and over and over....

First, you tell your story to the police officers on the scene. Then you usually have to tell it again to the detective that follows up on the case. Then you have to tell it again to the prosecutor. Then there are all manner of motions hearings (in my case, Grand Jury). Then when you get to trial, you get to tell it yet again, and have the distinct pleasure of a defense attorney do everything in their power to discredit & destroy you while they cross-examine you. THEN, if you are lucky, they are found guilty and you get to tell your story AGAIN at sentencing. And AGAIN at a parole just never ends. And depending on how traumatic the crime is, this can have a very detrimental effect on a victim.

So, yeah. Not looking forward to a trial. But, it is what it is.

And now we come to the (almost) end of my story.

Keep in mind, that Mr. Harrison was still being held at DC jail.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the AUSA to go over my testimony one last time before the trial date next week. When I got there, he apologized and told me that he needed to run over to the court house because Mr. Harrison's arraignment was about to begin.

Arraignment? Wha? His arraignment was months ago.....

Not that arraignment---another one. Mr. Harrison was being charged AGAIN. Know why?

Because the criminal genius that he is, made a phone call to his girlfriend from the DC Jail. Phone calls which are RECORDED and MONITORED. And he asked her if she wouldn't mind hiding his drugs and gun for him.

Yeah. Super Smart.

An emergency search warrant was obtained and his room searched. Sure enough, a gun was recovered.

Remember when I told you that police badges aren't magical and they don't stop bullets? I'm very lucky that Mr. Harrison didn't have that gun with him that night. This is why its not a good idea to engage with aggressive drivers 98% of the time--you never know who/what they are. (The same could be said for hitting Girls on Bicycles too, though. I'm quite sure the idea that I was an off-duty police officer didn't cross his mind).

Anyway, he was charged with Felony Possession of a Firearm. So...yeah. Another pending felony charge. On top of all the others.

I guess Mr. Harrison & his attorney decided a plea deal sounded good after all, because at his arraignment they agreed to one.

He pled guilty to felony possession of a firearm, felony fleeing & misdemeanor assault on a police officer.

This is good. Sort of. It's good because it hopefully teaches him that you can't run from or try to run over a police officer. Even off-duty ones.

This isn't quite as good because you'll notice none of the vehicular assault charges were pressed. They were dropped. I think its just as important to show that you can't use your motor vehicle to bully cyclists on the road.

But there is still a chance to get the justice system in DC to hear that message loud and clear. And I'll need your help to deliver it.

Mr. Harrison's sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 19th September 14th at DC Superior Court. I want to pack the courtroom with cyclists. As the victim of a crime, I am able to present a "Victim Impact Statement" to the judge. You better believe that I intend to bring up the fact that I am a cyclist first and foremost, and that this whole saga began when a driver decided to literally push around a cyclist with his motor vehicle. It was just a matter of luck that this cyclist also happens to be a police officer as well. It is Not Okay for drivers to bully cyclists on our streets. His actions were not only irresponsible, but CRIMINAL. He didn't "accidentally" hit me--he made a conscious decision to hit a human being with a 2-ton vehicle. That is assault. These sorts of things have to STOP. I know I am not the only victim of these sorts of attacks. Read what happened to Saul Leikin when he simply tried to assist another cyclist after a traffic accident by calling 911.  He was only trying to do the right thing, and he got a concussion for it. This is unacceptable. Drivers need to start being held accountable for their decisions & actions, and punished appropriately.

If you also think this is unacceptable please try to attend this sentencing hearing. Pass the word around to other cyclists. I want it impossible for a judge to ignore the seriousness of these crimes. I've contacted WABA, and they've agreed to give a community impact statement as well. Awesome. Maybe we can get the ball rollingit on change.

Well, I feel like I've blogged more in this post than in the past year, so I'm gonna end it here. Hope to see many of you at Bike Fest tomorrow night!

*Shit-ton: Technical term for a large amount

UPDATE AS OF 7/8/11: THE HEARING DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED TO SEPTEMBER 14TH. I WILL KEEP POSTING UPDATES SHOULD THE DATE/TIME CHANGE AGAIN (this is why I didn't want to post the exact times since I figured it might change. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal and doesn't indicate anything is wrong.)

UPDATE AS OF 1/9/12: you can read the final decision HERE.