12.12.2004

Actions and Reactions
me and my impulse reactions to the same scenario each time

This morning I had to go into work for a few hours; now worries. Anytime I am in work for more than 4 hours on a weekend I earn a day off. And for those that don't know me....I like to have days off.

After handling a few things at work and earning that beloved day off I rode my bike to my dad's house in Bethesda where my wife and family were already having lunch with my brother and his family. When I arrived I went straight around back and found Dean and his cousin Eric on the back porch where they were dancing excitedly around their grandfather's new toy, one of those silver remote control robot things. We had all gathered at my dad's on this Sunday for lunch so that my brother and I were able to help my dad move some furniture so that he could have the house ready for the Christmas Holiday, everything is upside down and cluttered during their first floor addition/renovations. Prior to my arrival on my ride from Georgetown to Bethesda on the Capitol Crescent trail I was passed by a roadie on his fancy skinny tire rig. Even when not trying to go fast I hate being passed, although it does not always bring out the insecure male in me to pick up the pace and try to race. I was not moving all that fast and was not feeling all that spry had no desire for any game of cat and mouse. As the cyclist passed I made mention to him that I would appreciate "an audible," you know that annoying alert that is both the law and common courtesy when passing others on these multiuse bike paths.

Well, this guy like most tight assed roadies did not feel it was neccessary. And well, this being one of my pet peeves I had to say something. Me and my commuter rig with knobby tires and fenders, thumb on the front shifter held in place so the chain stays in the top ring, my backpack, and my chain with a month's worth of gross black grit, and a front tire that was soon to be flat alerting me to the fact that I have a 29' tube and a 700c tube, but not 26 inch mountain tube passed him on the left and said.."It is this simple, when I approach another rider I greet them while passing with a simple 'on your left.'" In any case, pet peeve as it may be this guy did not want to have the discussion and most definitely did not want to waste his prescious lungs on alerting other trail users to his approach. I can not read his mind so i will try to tell you what he was thinking. But I think that he thought that he may have been riding for so many years that he is grandfather claused on this whole audible alert or with common courtesy all together.

I arrived and told the tale, that oh so common tale of the trail to my brother as I jammed the table scraps that remained from everyone's lunch. My brother Marc and I discussed how I felt after such and encounter and whether or not I felt that if would make a difference. Marc can be quite the devil's advocate with his highly developed brain and all. Being stubborn as I am I gave him answers I did not feel and tried to make it seem that I had made the right choice. When actually it is so hard for us to change ourselves that it is foolish that I would think that I would be able to change anyone else. My final resolve is that I have to be me and no matter the outcome I need to share how I feel when dealing with others in public; whether it is my approach to the cigar smoking asshole at the national christmas tree, the speeding car on the road in front of my house, or the self centered cyclist on the multi use trail.

2 comments:

Redlack said...

You and I differ in opinion here. I only give an audible warning on multi use trails when I feel it is warranted. The following people deserve a warning: the elderly, kids, people with kids, people with dogs, and ignorant trail users. I typically do not warn commuters, capable cyclists, people with headphones (why bother?), and others that appear to know what's going on. In fact, you might say that I profile trail users.

In a perfect world no warnings would be necessary. Trail users would keep to the right, pass when it's safe, not stop on the trail, & turn around where safe. Some people know the rules, others don't. I try to guess which ones do and do not know. So far I haven't run into anyone or had any close calls.

In some respects trail use can be similar to driving. I don't typically honk when I pass people in my car, so why should the bike be any different. Granted there are different "rules" for cars and bikes, but they overlap in many areas. We ride on the right, we pass on the left, and we stop where it's appropriate. So, in some regards the rules are the same.

In fact, I would argue that giving an audible warning to some people is more dangerous than none at all. How many times have you warned someone only to have them step in front of you? Or how many times have trail user's become frightened by a warning?

I'm just going to assume that they are mostly idiots and react as to what I feel is the safest approach.

gwadzilla said...

chris....
I agree with you on several points

in most cases my warning is offered at such a point that I am nearly past the walker/runner/or hiker
it is more out of respect than anything else

perhaps I just need to drop the attitude

just get sick of guys coming up in my blind spot and hanging there
then when I go to pass and take a glance back and I have some joker on my shoulder
(okay, I am more alert than that, tend to see or feel the rider long before that...SPIDEY SENSES are strong)