6.09.2009

and then... they go home and kick the cat...

ah...
there has been all sorts of chatter and even a police presence to try and control the of speed of the bicycle traffic on the capital crescent trail
initially I had taken a stand on the notion of SPEED LIMITS for bicycles being absurd... as the SPEED LIMITS for cars are ignored by drivers and not enforced by the law
but after yesterday I feel that I need to revise that approach

The Chaos on the Capital Crescent Trail...
I think it was safer to walk the tracks and contend with the train than to walk on the multi-use Capital Crescent Trail during Rush Hour on a weekday
the pace lines are rushing through
geeks are buzzing the tower
so many people are treating their bicycle commute home as a Time Trial

everyone is an inch away from a crash...
the cyclists are failing to respect the other trail users right to space and safety
it is like the car versus bike argument all over again
only this time the cyclist is the villain!

yesterday I took a post work spin on the Capital Crescent Trail
peak season for multi use trail use is approaching
the post work work out is not an original thought
the selection of the Capital Crescent Trail is not unique selection

left out of work dragging...
the weekend left me vacant
Monday was a tough day in the salt mines
I managed to knock out a solid amount of work...
this left me depleted

so when I threw my leg over the saddle I considered the most immediate route home
but... the stubborn me took control of my day and said... no... harness this window of opportunity and do a quick out and back on the Capital Crescent trail... you can turn around at Bethesda Avenue
being too weak to argue... I pedaled

out like a lion... in like a lamb

on the six year old worn and tired geared Surly Karate Monkey I pushed the pedals hard
noticing I was in the middle ring and not the bike I hammered forward
the pace was good... as hard as I was working I was not moving along so fast
it was not long before the beefy 29er knobbies got the best of me
the pace settled in... as the pace settled in I estimated my time for a quick out and back
then I bargained with myself on taking the Out and Back to Connecticut Avenue rather than Bethesda Avenue
just that much more... maybe an additional 15-20 minutes
more just the same

my weakness showed my need for the extended work out
the time away from the bike let my fitness drop
need to fight to bring it back
need to work hard so that when I get back on dirt with a number on my handlebars I am not humbled too much

so there I was... out and on the bike promptly after 5PM
onto the trail before the post work rush
initially I had the trail to myself
just the occasional walker... occasional jogger... occasional mother with stroller... and the occasional cyclist
then it happened... things hit CRITICAL MASS!

the site ahead was like that phenomena of the illusion where a vacant beach looks crowded
the site ahead was a mass of people
roller bladers... cyclists of various levels and intensity... walkers three abreast... mothers with children... skateboarders... the list goes on

so... there I was... working very hard to go not so fast
I passed with that effort to be courteous yet sometimes taken to be obnoxious, "on your left"
there were times where I had to slow before making the pass to avoid the risk of the head on collision with another cyclist
there were times when I made the split in a fashion that did not put anyone at too great of a risk
but there were many times where I saw people taking unnecessary risks

I am out there not much different than most of the other cyclist
out there on my bike
trying to get some exercise... trying to shed the frustration of the day... trying to get home to my family
I am also trying to go just about as fast as I can go
but... I am doing things a little bit differently

first... I am not in a pace line
DRAFTING on the multi-use trail is ignorant... it is obnoxious... it is dangerous!
these PACE LINES of FREDS are passing people close in a manner where I would not like to be passed
the people are passing faster and closer than I would consider passing people
the cyclists are behaving in the same dismissive fashion that so many cars do
it is outrageous and well... it needs to be brought back into control

the speed is not as dangerous as the combination of other behaviors
one fast cyclist is very different than the line of fast cyclists
the first cyclist is busting a gap that is open for them
the following cyclists are following blind
the proximity of these pace lines to the other trail users is obnoxious
it is not the respect that I would like others to give me...

people need to draw in the reins and get control of their behavior
MacArthur Boulevard is right there... take the pace line to the street
this bully behavior is giving cyclists a bad name
there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to behave on the bicycle
don't get me wrong... I am certainly trying to go fast and trying to get a work out in... but... I try to do this without putting people's lives at risk and without ruining their day

just as car drivers need to take a look at themselves and maybe remember the "do onto others" philosophy... so does everyone else
the cyclists on the Capital Crescent Trail need to get a new perspective on their actions
actually... all cyclists need to take a look in the mirror to make sure that they are not the villain
unless of course being the villain is their objective/goal


2 comments:

Cycle Jerk said...

This gave me shivers. I ride the upper portion every day from Bethesda to Silver Spring. I hope the never pave it. The gravel seems to keep out the riff raff.

John Garrish said...

i love the example of the CCC. there is so much pent up demand for ped and bike friendly spaces. it is interesting to me to see how politicians at all levels react to converting more public spaces from car centric to ped/bike centric.

for example -- it makes me wonder why they don't shut down one whole side of little falls parkway? just push all the cars onto one side (i think its four lanes wide in most parts).

i'll bet at the same time the trail is crowded, the road is mostly open.