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A Night on Two Wheels: A Little Drama, a Lot of Pedalling WIth PM-Bicycle Beat

November 9, 1993

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ They promised a night of cruising, a night of excess, a night of crime. They came through on all three.

A pair of State College police officers - service revolvers strapped to their hips, 21-speed mountain bikes beneath them - permitted me to pedal along one night:


8 p.m.: I arrive at station on 12-speed road bike. Officers Rob Keen, 29, and Brian Hosterman, 33, make me sign a waiver of liability for accidents, flat tires or gunfire.

8:26: Keen radios he’s about to set out with a ride-along. Hosterman corrects him: ″Pedal-along.″

8:40: We head to an apartment complex the hard way, down a 45-degree bank with a 6-inch curb at the bottom.

8:55: First crime of the night. Keen chases down a bicyclist without a headlight and writes him a ticket.

9:05: Best news of the night so far. ″We’ll stay on level terrain now,″ Keen says after three miles.

9:14: So much for that. Hosterman chases a biker downhill, as Keen and I follow, but he turns out to have headlights.

9:49: To Penn State’s fraternities. Illegally parked cars are like fish in a barrel.

9:56: Keen gets driver with expired registration and inspection sticker. The driver slows, then takes off after Keen gears down. Hosterman pursues and pulls him over at the corner. ″You looked right at me but didn’t see me?″ Keen asks the driver. The driver gets cited for both violations.

10:15: Girls mimic siren noises in alley as we ride by.

10:56: Approaching seven miles, and looking for lunch. Town’s only donut shop doesn’t have a bike rack, so we think of someplace else.

11:15: While Hosterman gets hoagies, Keen tickets man for having an open can of beer on the sidewalk in front of the sandwich shop. ″You can’t solve the drug problem, but you’re busting me,″ the man complains.

Midnight: Lunch over. Hosterman doesn’t know whether the ban against tobacco in police vehicles applies to bicycles. He puts a pinch between cheek and gum.

12:27 a.m.: Students continue to overimbibe, and we encounter more rude people. ″You can’t swing a dead cat downtown and not hit a jerk on a Friday night,″ Hosterman observes.

12:50: Disturbance in park behind football coach Joe Paterno’s house. Keen takes off, Hosterman follows. I catch up eventually. No one is found. (Tremendous guilt here. Did I slow them down?) We pass the 12-mile mark.

1:32: Head to convenience store for refreshments. Keen gets hiccups after draining 16-ounce Hawaiian Punch in near-record time.

2:00: Bars close, pedestrian traffic increases.

2:36: Keen spots two people carrying a giant garbage can filled to the brim with cans of beer. They’re only 20; they say they were asked to carry the beer from one fraternity party to another. Both fraternities deny it.

3:15: Back to station to count beer and prepare report. (It’s 143 16-ounce cans of Busch.)

4:00: Shift over after 17 miles, a dozen citations for no lights on bicycles, a smattering of alcohol violations, and scores of parking tickets. Hosterman heads home. Keen has newspaper delivery job in his spare time.

He doesn’t deliver papers by bike.

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