Monday, May 21, 2012


You better think, think about what you're trying to do to me
Yeah, think, let your mind go, let yourself be free
—Aretha Franklin

Everyone wants to let their mind go, and let themselves be free. Hell, that’s one of the reasons I ride a bike, and that's probably true for most of us.

But people need to think.

Like the young mother who stopped her toddler on a tiny bike with training wheels so she could take a phone-camera picture ... just inside a trail tunnel I was entering at a brisk (but very reasonable) speed from a pretty blind corner. I mean sure, the composition of the photo must have been nice, with the light at the end of the tunnel and all that,  but blocking the entire width of the trail wasn’t exactly brilliant thinking.

Ever seen a three-year-old run over by a 200-pound dude on a steel Surly? Neither have I. And I’d like to keep it that way.

Then there were tourists standing all over the trail with their mouths hanging open while fascinated by a passing train. Or the unsupervised little girls swerving from side to side, confused about how they were supposed to let me pass. Teach your children some basic trail guidelines, folks.

Now, lest anyone think I might have curmudgeonly moods, let me say that I actually like busy multi-use trails. Busy trails mean people are exercising, to one degree or another. It means they’re outside instead of watching TV or playing video games. It also means some of them are using the trails to get somewhere, like me. And all those things are good.

But everybody needs to consider other users’ needs, and be aware of how to do a few basic things safely. I’m happy to ride at a safe speed, or brake frequently and wait for chances to pass kids, dog walkers, joggers, or whatever. But I’d like them to not mindlessly block my route, or set up accidents around sharp corners.

After all, I don’t want your kid’s body to knock my front wheel out of true, ya know?



Debbie said...

This isn't just limited to trail etiquette. Parents, and frankly, people in general, seem to have no awareness that there is an entire world around them and that they are not the center of it. And I don't care to apologize for being grumpy. Catladydom is more appealing every day.

Joboo said...

My riding partners (8 and 5 years old respectfully) have more trail smarts than most adults in our area.
They know what "on your left" means, to stay to the right (on paved trail), and walkers have the right of way.
The 8 year old is mastering singletrack, but still a work in progress. I can say the same for myself after all these years!! Ha Ha
Teach em young and they'll have a skill set that can never be taken away!!
Nice post!!


joel said...

I know exactly where you are talking about... And yes people don't have a clue about proper trail etiquette! The other day I said "ON YOUR LEFT" and the couple taking up the whole trail with their dog heard me... But, what did the lady with the dog do? Go to her left! I nearly ran her over. I got upset and she preceded to tell me "one your left" means pass on her right... I think we all have trail some great trail stories involving stupid people!