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Old 11-15-10, 12:23 PM   #1
slowandsteady
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Muppet for day...my thoughts

I rode on the Schuykill river trail in the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia on Saturday. I normally ride in the street in rural south Jersey with cars passing me at 50+ mph. Riding the MUP was far scarier and more dangerous. Here is why.

Others would pass by me two abreast(oncoming). There really is only enough room for two cyclists NOT three. Not one single person made any attempt to move over. Twice I ended up being forced off the trail onto the grass to avoid an accident.

People would ride quickly around sharp blind turns often going over the yellow line. Not one single person appeared to be slowing down for blind turns or blind sections that pass under bridges.

Runners and walkers for the most part held their line, but occasionally there was a person that would drift to the left.

There were probably about a dozen potential incidents. I escaped unscathed mostly due to dumb luck and being very vigilant not that anyone else appeared to be anything but clueless.
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Old 11-15-10, 12:35 PM   #2
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I rode on the Schuykill river trail in the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia on Saturday. I normally ride in the street in rural south Jersey with cars passing me at 50+ mph. Riding the MUP was far scarier and more dangerous. Here is why....
Try riding it for transportation purposes on a weekday and you'll find a totally different crowd and have a totally different experience. (I don't know this trail ... maybe it is flat unusable for transport purposes in any case ... but you get my point.)

The Cherry Creek Trail in Denver is pretty frustrating on a sunny Sunday. 24 hours later it is wide open, with fewer and much more experienced users, totally different.
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Old 11-15-10, 12:58 PM   #3
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Indeed.

Paved trails in my area that are slow and crowded on weekends are wide open and hassle-free on weekdays, particularly during bad weather (when they are even more of an asset to me).

Regional differences may exist.
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Old 11-15-10, 01:08 PM   #4
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Try riding it for transportation purposes on a weekday and you'll find a totally different crowd and have a totally different experience. (I don't know this trail ... maybe it is flat unusable for transport purposes in any case ... but you get my point.)

The Cherry Creek Trail in Denver is pretty frustrating on a sunny Sunday. 24 hours later it is wide open, with fewer and much more experienced users, totally different.
I was only there to get in a quick 10 mile ride after my twins got to go to the Please Touch Museum around the corner. It wasn't so much that it was crowded, but rather that the users were morons. I have ridden other sections of this trail in the past(130 miles of SRT) and it is much wider so passing is rarely an issue.
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Old 11-16-10, 03:37 PM   #5
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What time of day was it?

On the MUPs around here, if it's rush hour on the roads, it's also commuter rush hour on the MUP. Those riders tend to not weave around like they're scouting for platypus, they're just going to work. From late morning thru early afternoon, it's the housewives, househusbands, tourists, and people with nothing better to do besides pick up their dog's poop. That's only if the weather is nice, though. After that, it's the commuters again.

Weekends are the worst time to do anything on a MUP here besides practicing accident avoidance skills.
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Old 11-16-10, 05:42 PM   #6
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That's only if the weather is nice, though. After that, it's the commuters again.
Seattle's favorite MUP is currently buried under 3 cm of wet leaves.
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Old 11-16-10, 07:09 PM   #7
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Welcome to the club.
Weekends can be rough with the usual crowd on the trail. We ride it only on week days. Once the weather cools it gets fairly nice.

The upper end of the SRT is getting just as bad. Weekends are a riot. Week days we have the trail almost to ourselves in cool weather. Last week we put 170 miles on the trail.

Saturday was idiot day. When we unloaded the bikes at Longford Road they had 2 of the three dog parks closed. They shut the third one down by noon time because some of the dog owners simply refused to clean up after their pets.
It was late afternoon. We had pulled out of Lower Perkiomen Valley Park heading up along the river towards Longford Road. There was a woman on one side of the trail and her dog on the other. I had my shooting glasses on since we were pedaling into the setting sun. I spotted the leash stretched across the trail. I warned my wife and we slowed a bit. The woman hauled the dog over to her side. As soon as we passed she let the dog go back across the trail. A road biker going fairly fast did not see the leash. He caught it about 2 feet from the dog. When the leash went under his front tire it slammed the dog down onto the asphalt. He lectured her briefly and rode off. As soon as he started away from her she left the dog head right back over to the other side of the trail. I could not believe anyone could be that ignorant.
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Old 11-17-10, 07:46 AM   #8
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Welcome to the club.
Weekends can be rough with the usual crowd on the trail. We ride it only on week days. Once the weather cools it gets fairly nice.

The upper end of the SRT is getting just as bad. Weekends are a riot. Week days we have the trail almost to ourselves in cool weather. Last week we put 170 miles on the trail.

Saturday was idiot day. When we unloaded the bikes at Longford Road they had 2 of the three dog parks closed. They shut the third one down by noon time because some of the dog owners simply refused to clean up after their pets.
It was late afternoon. We had pulled out of Lower Perkiomen Valley Park heading up along the river towards Longford Road. There was a woman on one side of the trail and her dog on the other. I had my shooting glasses on since we were pedaling into the setting sun. I spotted the leash stretched across the trail. I warned my wife and we slowed a bit. The woman hauled the dog over to her side. As soon as we passed she let the dog go back across the trail. A road biker going fairly fast did not see the leash. He caught it about 2 feet from the dog. When the leash went under his front tire it slammed the dog down onto the asphalt. He lectured her briefly and rode off. As soon as he started away from her she left the dog head right back over to the other side of the trail. I could not believe anyone could be that ignorant.
I can believe it.

There is NOTHING so stupid, thoughtless, rude, selfish, or uncivilized that some ass won't do it and believe wholeheartedly that it's within their RIGHTS to do so.

The MUP in my town is interesting -- part of it, that passes through a park that was once car-accessible, is as wide as a two-lane (which it used to be, 35 years ago); I stopped riding it as part of my commute in the mornings because of a group of "upper-middle-aged" men (of color) who were out for "fitness walks". A group of 4 or 5, they managed to spread themselves out JUST RIGHT so that they took up the entire two-lane width of the path! Move over when alerted? Maybe, if they weren't having too lively a conversation (which you could hear from about 75 yards away).

Entitlement -- when did we as a society decide we had it?
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Old 11-17-10, 07:53 AM   #9
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Only when the local MUP is used for a charity walk or run is it a problem. Even on the nice weekend days when it is crowded, people seem to cooperate just fine. One nice feature is that in the most popular areas there are two trails- one is paved, the other is packed stone. Generally (but not always), cyclists stick to the paved side and pedestrians stay on the crushed stone.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-17-10, 01:41 PM   #10
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What time of day was it?

On the MUPs around here, if it's rush hour on the roads, it's also commuter rush hour on the MUP. Those riders tend to not weave around like they're scouting for platypus, they're just going to work. From late morning thru early afternoon, it's the housewives, househusbands, tourists, and people with nothing better to do besides pick up their dog's poop. That's only if the weather is nice, though. After that, it's the commuters again.

Weekends are the worst time to do anything on a MUP here besides practicing accident avoidance skills.
It was Saturday around 2 pm and it was unseasonably warm and sunny.
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Old 11-17-10, 08:12 PM   #11
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Well there ya go.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-18-10, 11:06 AM   #12
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Well there ya go.
Still amazed the the number of morons. Again...wasn't very crowded in total, but every single rider was riding dangerously IMO. Even though these were "recreational cyclists" I would have thought that at least some of them had brains. Obviously I was wrong.
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Old 11-18-10, 12:16 PM   #13
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Even though few of my miles are on MUPS these days, I dislike the term muppet applied to MUP riders. Demeaning others is just poison for mind and soul.
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Old 11-18-10, 12:43 PM   #14
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Can I call myself a "vehicular muppet"?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 11-18-10, 01:24 PM   #15
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Still amazed the the number of morons. Again...wasn't very crowded in total, but every single rider was riding dangerously IMO. Even though these were "recreational cyclists" I would have thought that at least some of them had brains. Obviously I was wrong.
I am amazed, actually, at how well behaved the vast majority of people are on the MUPs in Fort Worth. There are the rare exceptions, but for some reason they stick out like sore thumbs and you know when to slow down. I mentioned the charity walks/runs. The deal there is that many of those participants have never been out on the MUP before; they just decided to do the walk to help Aunt Alice's breast cancer and so they just kind of assume that the MUP is reserved for the exclusive use of the event (which is rarely the case). Other than that, most people seem to get it.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-18-10, 01:27 PM   #16
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Can I call myself a "vehicular muppet"?

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I want to be Fozzy!

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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-18-10, 02:09 PM   #17
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I can believe it.

There is NOTHING so stupid, thoughtless, rude, selfish, or uncivilized that some ass won't do it and believe wholeheartedly that it's within their RIGHTS to do so.

The MUP in my town is interesting -- part of it, that passes through a park that was once car-accessible, is as wide as a two-lane (which it used to be, 35 years ago); I stopped riding it as part of my commute in the mornings because of a group of "upper-middle-aged" men (of color) who were out for "fitness walks". A group of 4 or 5, they managed to spread themselves out JUST RIGHT so that they took up the entire two-lane width of the path! Move over when alerted? Maybe, if they weren't having too lively a conversation (which you could hear from about 75 yards away).

Entitlement -- when did we as a society decide we had it?
This is where you start you "warning" with a nice little bike bell, and end it with an Airzounds. Perhaps they will get the message.

I always find it ironic that walkers tend to travel in tight packs and so often tend to spread wide across any path they may be upon.

Fortunately my preferred bike paths are either somewhat remote (good for long rides) and have few walkers due to the distance, or actually have parallel fenced walking paths.
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Old 11-18-10, 03:42 PM   #18
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I want to be Fozzy!

What hottie did elmo pick up to stoke? What a playa!
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Old 11-18-10, 03:43 PM   #19
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Even though few of my miles are on MUPS these days, I dislike the term muppet applied to MUP riders. Demeaning others is just poison for mind and soul.
+1
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Old 11-18-10, 07:37 PM   #20
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But I like the Muppets.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-19-10, 07:08 AM   #21
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Can I call myself a "vehicular muppet"?

Inquiring minds want to know.
I'd prefer "MUPular cyclist".
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Old 11-19-10, 07:30 AM   #22
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Even though few of my miles are on MUPS these days, I dislike the term muppet applied to MUP riders. Demeaning others is just poison for mind and soul.
Just trying to make a joke. Someday, the constitution will be amended such that those who ride on MUPs will be a protected class. Until then, I will use the term. Nothing wrong with riding on a MUP. And nothing wrong with being a little snarky. What exactly is so offensive about the term anyway? Is Muppet any worse than Roadie or Clydesdale?

I just wanted to give my viewpoint on my limited experience on this particular section. Overall the SRT is an awesome resource for the area. It is well over 100 miles and in most places a nice ride with courteous users. I also wanted it to be a warning that even though the perception is that a MUP is safer than a street, it really isn't. I can ride hundreds of miles some of which is in rush hour traffic in the dark and still don't have the number of near misses I had in about 30 minutes on this section of MUP.

I have ridden sections of this MUP on occasion for the past 30 years or so. Few riders on this planet have never ridden on a MUP at some point in their life. So really, we are all Muppets on some level.
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Old 11-19-10, 09:05 AM   #23
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I didn't even see it as snarky.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-19-10, 09:10 AM   #24
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I always have a low baseline level of endogenous snarkiness.
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Old 11-19-10, 09:28 AM   #25
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I want to be Fozzy!

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What hottie did elmo pick up to stoke? What a playa!
Clearly you don't have kids around you now ...

... Elmo is not in the photo.

If you don't have children yet, you'll get a full dose whenever you take the plunge.

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