Close Encounters- sexual harassment on the Washington Old Dominion Trail


This Sunday I’ll be riding the Reston Tour De Cure 108 mile century ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I’m still shy of my fundraising goal, so any (tax deductible) contributions (even $5) would be a great help. The link to donate is Here:

Last week I was riding 72 miles solo as a final preparation for this tour. That is when I had an unfortunate encounter. I was riding along the Washington Old Dominion trail at about 4pm. It was broad daylight. There were plenty of other runners/bikers on the trail. I came to a particularly challenging hill and couldn’t get my shifters to switch to my small ring, so I began a very slow and difficult ascent. As I was attempting this hill, a middle aged man approached me. He was jogging, but was able to keep up with me while I navigated this hill.

At first he engaged me with friendly banter. “Tough hill, eh? Nice weather today”. I exchanged pleasantries for a second, but it only took a second for him to reveal his true intentions. He gasped at my black and white bike shorts. “OH MY G-D ARE YOU WEARING WHITE SPANDEX?? That’s the hottest thing I’ve ever seen”. He quickly became graphic and disgusting and spent the remainder of the hill sexually harassing me. He was obviously trying to make me uncomfortable and embarrassed. He told me he could see through my shorts (he can’t) and that he was enjoying seeing me basically naked  on my bike.

I was completely shocked and unsure of what to do in this situation. I didn’t know if I should ignore him and deny him the satisfaction, or if I should start screaming and alerting other people on the trail, or if I should just yell “STOP BOTHERING ME!” It’s a tough call. I don’t really know of any protocol for this type of situation. Anyone with thoughts or insights is welcome to share them in the comments section.

I also just want to put it out there that women in short skirts/white bike shorts are never responsible for creeps like this. I’ll be proudly wearing my black and white shorts this Sunday.

BIke 2


About marathonermegan

Training for my first marathon
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2 Responses to Close Encounters- sexual harassment on the Washington Old Dominion Trail

  1. Tina says:

    Carry pepper spray with you. Mine clips onto my armband or shorts. I was assaulted a few months ago during a run in my own neighborhood and ended up filling a report. I’m thinking about getting a taser too. Be safe!

    • That makes me very sad. 😦

      Someone else suggested pepper spray as well. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have some in my bike kit just in case, but I think in this particular situation pepper spray is probably overkill for someone who was assaulting me with words. It did make me scared though. A hike and bike trail seems like a great place to assualt women who are alone, unarmed, and far from their vehicles.

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