a few days have passed since my "incident" on the Capital Crescent Trail with the Rock Creek Velo kids
I regret cussing at the children
it does not matter if the cyclist is 15 or 55
if they put me at risk... IT PISSES ME OFF!
just as a young car driver needs to be responsible for their contribution to the chaos of the situation
so must the young cyclist
I will take a look at this and then hit PUBLISH AND POST
yesterday after getting off from work (yes, work) I went for a spin on my mountain bike
and when I say "spin"
I mean "over spin"
as I was riding my single speed mountain bike geared for dirt
geared for dirt while pedaling on the road
this makes for a gear small and almost irrational gear
but allows for lots of revolutions in a small time
it also keeps me from going too fast on the multi-use trails that we call bike paths
with my kids Dean and Grant having a night of camping on this everning I figured I had no need to rush home
so... rather than pointing it straight home
I decided to extend my commute
thought I would work an hour plus of over spinning
the "new gig" has me on a six month contract downtown on the National Mall
the work is at the Smithsonian... which is pretty cool
sort of like Night at the Museum
only during the day
I left out of work and got onto the bike breaking a sweat before I even threw my leg over the bike
the temperature for the day was hot and humid... Bangkok Hot and Bangkok Humid
only with fewer tuk tuks on the roads
and the sidewalk Pad Thai no longer available as the food trucks had already left for the day
on the bike I started down Independence Avenue number streets counting up...
7th... 9th... 12th... 14th... and then a left on 15th over by USDA and the Holocaust Museum with the Washington Monument on my right with its granite body hidden by metal scaffolding
past the Jefferson Memorial and onto the 14th Street Bridge headed to the Mount Vernon Trail
with the small gear it is best to try and stay away from the cars
spinning that gear like the old lady in the Wizard of Oz can be hard work
almost impossible to play superman racing the train with traffic with this small gear
so... to the paved multi-use trails I went
with the thought of linking the Mount Vernon Trail to Key Bridge and then onto the Capital Crescent Trail
figuring that I could get a little more than an hour if I followed this route to Bethesda on through Upper Caucasian on towards Rock Creek Park via Piney Branch Parkway and then home
thinking if I felt like I needed more... I could continue on the Capital Crescent Trail all the way to its end at Jones Bridge\Jones Mill if I had the energy or desire
there is a trade off
from the car dominated streets on into "Fred-ville"
the multi-use trails (bike path) can often be as dangerous and as frustrating as the land of the cars
but I was ready... promising myself that I would not let the predictably obnoxious behavior of the other bicycle commuters bother me
on the multi-use Capital Crescent Trail I took to an upright position where I could stretch my back and glide along
faster bikes passed on my left
politely passing those cyclists slower than me
most giving a friendly on your left as they approached
my offering a gentle warning as I made my pass
my pace was slow... maxing out my small gear.... working really hard to go not very fast
which was fine... setting the land speed record is not my goal... breaking a sweat is... and as I said... I was breaking a sweat... the heat and humidity was enough to cause me to break a sweat even if I were lounging in a hammock... add in this vigorous paced pedaling... and well... I had heavy breathing... elevated heart rate... and of course... sweat... I was sweating
so... riding to the right sitting upright I rode along
with no issue several cyclists passed
no problem... I pinched to the side a bit to allow the pass when I heard the polite "on your left" warning
never needing to alter my body position
never feeling a need to have the hands on the handlebars or my fingers on the brakes
then I heard it...
it was not a friendly warning... but a loud announcement
"ON YOUR LEFT! ON YOUR LEFT!"
I heard it... thank you... but
but now is not the best time to pass
there was a cyclist coming my way
a basic low speed commuter
a woman on a hybrid bicycle
then... just as this cyclist coming head on was just about at my side the voices that called "on your left" were at my side
it was three or four kids in Rock Creek Velo jerseys with an adult commuter packed into the mix
they were all squeezing through the small space in between this other cyclist and myself
not in a pace line... not one by one
squeezing tightly in between this small space
it was close
I WAS OUTRAGED!
I WAS LIVID!
I SCREAMED! I CUSSED!
the kids apologized... which is bullshit... just as with my children... I do not care so much about the apology
I want remorse and then I want changed behavior
man... I was steamed
then a bit later the kids pulled over
I guess they were doing some sprint work outs
genius... FUCKING GENIUS!
assholes... little assholes... riding out of control... putting any and all around them at risk
also putting themselves at risk
I rolled passed... cussed at the kids as I passed
said things that I should not have said... but they did something that they should not have done
I was enraged... inappropriate... I will admit... it was a classic situation of ACTION and OVER REACTION!
the multi-use bike trail is no place for racing
RACE ON RACE DAY... not on the "bike path"
come on... rush hour is peak time for trail use... certainly not the time to be "working out"
bastards... little bastards!
it does not matter the age of the rider... a collision head on with a kid or an adult would be ugly
the entangling of handlebars would be a broken colarbone and maybe worse
that pack of riders sprinting like that
splitting through that small space
well... it is only a matter of time where there is an accident
an ugly multi-person accident
some time ago I spoke with the Rock Creek Velo coach and was in agreement with the absurd notion that the Rock Creek Velo kids should be banned from "working out" on the Capital Crescent Trail
but really... I think I am changing my feeling about this
it is dangerous for them.. it is dangerous for those around them
they should either do their work outs when it is not Bicycle Rush Hour on the Capital Crescent Trail
hit the trail earlier or later
NOT DURING PEAK USAGE TIMES
or take their work outs elsewhere
Haines Point or somewhere else where there is more room
this is something that needs to be addressed
after speaking with others I am finding that these kids have a bit of a reputation for doing foolish and potentially dangerous things on the bike
after all... they are kids
they are young... their lives lack experience
put a few kids together on the bike
well... not much different than putting a few kids together in the car
they are making youthful decisions
not understanding their actions or the potential consequences
there needs to be something to avoid that "worst case scenario"
Rock Creek Velo is an AWESOME CONCEPT!
I totally dig the growth of youth cycling
it is so cool to see these kids so excited about the sport of cycling
but, I think there needs to be some more guidance or control