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  1. #1
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    MUP, Safety, Root River Trails

    I just spend a week biking in MN, Root River Trail system. We stayed in Lanesboro. Sort of the center of the trails. My routine was to do 50 miles Lanesboro to Harmony and back in the AM on a Madone. In the PM do 60 miles Lanesboro to Houston and back on a Tandem. The trail has grades to 10%. That is why that trail is sparsely used. On a given morning I have seen 4 bikers.
    Now the safety issue:
    I go as fast as I can up the hill but limit my speed to not much over 20 MPH down the hill. There are a lot of little critters, an occasional jogger, some sandy patches, some wet patches. On one day there was a mother being pulled by her dog to one side and by her child to the other side effectively straddling the trail. I was able to stop safely and waited for her to get things under control.
    That same day, there was a biker ahead of me, male and under 30, going down the long curvy hill as fast as possible (for him). I met him a little later. He was standing at the side of the trail all bloodied up. Hands, knees, legs. It is amazing what asphalt will do to you at a high speed fall.
    I also shudder at the thought that he would have run into the above mentioned mother, child and dog.
    That MUP is not good for maximum speed biking.

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    What is a MUP? Where I live all we have are public roads.

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    Senior Member Denny Koll's Avatar
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    I think the Mother is being very irresponsible by putting her child at risk. Being a parent isn't easy but rule number one is to keep your child safe...she is acting in a fooilsh way that risks the life of her child. She should read and obey the posted rules of the trail. The cyclist may be going too fast for the conditions too but I think the main issue is the Mother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by card
    What is a MUP? Where I live all we have are public roads.
    Multi-use path, also sometimes called a bike path, but for use of cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers, dog walkers, etc.

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    Mups are For everyone and most users do not think that anyone else is going to use the path. In fact most users do not think that anyone else is allowed to use the paths. Worst out of the lot are users with kids and dogs. They never seem to hear a bike aproaching- no matter how loud your bell- your voice- or how loud you swear at them. As Will knows- You have to take care on these paths for other users as they won't care about you.
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    What's the best way to make your presence known to people on the path? I'm thinking a bell would be nice - people always seem to be startled when you ride up behind them and say hello,"on your left", or whatever.

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    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    I just spend a week biking in MN, Root River Trail system. We stayed in Lanesboro. Sort of the center of the trails. My routine was to do 50 miles Lanesboro to Harmony and back in the AM on a Madone. In the PM do 60 miles Lanesboro to Houston and back on a Tandem. The trail has grades to 10%. That is why that trail is sparsely used. On a given morning I have seen 4 bikers.
    Now the safety issue:
    I go as fast as I can up the hill but limit my speed to not much over 20 MPH down the hill. There are a lot of little critters, an occasional jogger, some sandy patches, some wet patches. On one day there was a mother being pulled by her dog to one side and by her child to the other side effectively straddling the trail. I was able to stop safely and waited for her to get things under control.
    That same day, there was a biker ahead of me, male and under 30, going down the long curvy hill as fast as possible (for him). I met him a little later. He was standing at the side of the trail all bloodied up. Hands, knees, legs. It is amazing what asphalt will do to you at a high speed fall.
    I also shudder at the thought that he would have run into the above mentioned mother, child and dog.
    That MUP is not good for maximum speed biking.

    Up here there are MUP everywhere. I rarely use them because they're too unpredictable. A serious bike ride is next to impossible. The road is much safer. When approaching walkers, joggers, roller bladers, etc. I have come to expect the unexpected. Small children are especially challenging since you can't expect them to walk in a straight line. I have actually seen a guy get clothes-lined by a dog leash. The owner holding the leash was on one side of the trail, and the dog bolted across the trail after some critter he saw. What a bloody mess.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
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  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richjac
    What's the best way to make your presence known to people on the path? I'm thinking a bell would be nice - people always seem to be startled when you ride up behind them and say hello,"on your left", or whatever.
    On our Mup's, a bell is usefull. You keep it in your pocket and throw it at them when they Will not hear you coming no matter what you do.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Will,

    From the Root River Trail maps, it looks like there are several miles on each side of Lanesboro before one runs into the steep grades. Do you have an estimate as to how many miles there are between those sections? Also, in the flatter sections, what are the worst grades?

    I'm thinking about going over there this fall, but have no desire to ride 9%-10% grades. If there are about 40-50 miles between the steep sections, then that would give me a good place to ride.
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    Sounds to me like a cyclist learned a lesson the hard way Will. I travel very fast on our Rails to Trails MUP because I can see ahead long distances. On our curvey MUP, I travel quite slow, probably about 10 MPH. I'm not sure because I'm always checking the trail. Just common sense.
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    I rode a local MUP quite a bit last year and had both of my crashes on it. Given the variety of users, walkers, runners, families with kiddies, cyclists, people with dogs, there's a lot of opportunity for problems. I haven't used the MUP at all this year. I suppose they're OK if, as another has said, you maintain speed at 10 mph or less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Denny Koll
    I think the Mother is being very irresponsible by putting her child at risk. Being a parent isn't easy but rule number one is to keep your child safe...she is acting in a fooilsh way that risks the life of her child. She should read and obey the posted rules of the trail. The cyclist may be going too fast for the conditions too but I think the main issue is the Mother.
    I think that the general attitude is in favor of a mother and child. That mother was challenged with also handling an unruly dog. The scary part was that this was on a very lonely path where it was easy not to pay too much attention. I really do not think we will educate these mothers.
    I agree that MUP's are a challenge but most of my cycling buddies have accidents on roads. (car to bike)
    I do bike very fast. It is rare (I say never) that someone passes on a long distance challenge. However, I draw the line where I cannot see the path/road and I am very careful downhill. I have been doing this for over 15 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richjac
    What's the best way to make your presence known to people on the path? I'm thinking a bell would be nice - people always seem to be startled when you ride up behind them and say hello,"on your left", or whatever.
    I have a little story for you:
    On my XC tour we biked a MUP on the Pacific coast somewhere north of San Diego. A was going with a guy from Germany. There was a severely ******** young man in a wheelchair in the middle of the MUP. This German biker announced his arrival and expected this young man to move. He got all excited that the young man did not move.
    I spend considerable effort to educate this German visitor as to our rules here unless he wants to visit some American jail.
    He did not like me much after that talk.
    Too bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Will,

    From the Root River Trail maps, it looks like there are several miles on each side of Lanesboro before one runs into the steep grades. Do you have an estimate as to how many miles there are between those sections? Also, in the flatter sections, what are the worst grades?

    I'm thinking about going over there this fall, but have no desire to ride 9%-10% grades. If there are about 40-50 miles between the steep sections, then that would give me a good place to ride.
    Tom- Lanesboro to Rushford is flat for 20 miles and another 7 miles down river from there. There is a fairly steep hill 5 miles from Houston (up the river toward Rushford).
    Lanesboro to Preston is flat for 12 miles and up the river for another 5 or so toward Harmony. Before Harmony, about 8-10 miles it gets very steep. Well over 7% and up to 10% in places.
    Lanesboro to Fountain Head goes steady up for 10 miles. I think around 5% and perhaps 7% at the top.
    I recommend this area very much. I will go there again this season. It is 4 hours from my home but it is worth it. We often do a week vacation there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j
    I rode a local MUP quite a bit last year and had both of my crashes on it. Given the variety of users, walkers, runners, families with kiddies, cyclists, people with dogs, there's a lot of opportunity for problems. I haven't used the MUP at all this year. I suppose they're OK if, as another has said, you maintain speed at 10 mph or less.
    I do not want to make a blanked statement. There are MUP's in Ohio where you can see a mile and go like hell. Ditto Wisconsin and I found some in Florida.
    My standard training is the Sugar River, WI R to T. I did it today. All out speed for 50 miles. I think I have seen 5 bikers and no walkers. It was over F90. That keeps folks off the trails. (but not me)

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    Senior Member Denny Koll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    I think that the general attitude is in favor of a mother and child. That mother was challenged with also handling an unruly dog. The scary part was that this was on a very lonely path where it was easy not to pay too much attention. I really do not think we will educate these mothers.
    I agree that MUP's are a challenge but most of my cycling buddies have accidents on roads. (car to bike)
    I do bike very fast. It is rare (I say never) that someone passes on a long distance challenge. However, I draw the line where I cannot see the path/road and I am very careful downhill. I have been doing this for over 15 years.

    My feeling is the Mom needs to leave the dog at home and concentrate on her child. All of us with kids struggle with how to get out and spend active time with them. I cut them a lot of slack...I love kids...but she had too much to handle with the dog.

  17. #17
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    My standard training is the Sugar River, WI R to T. I did it today. All out speed for 50 miles. I think I have seen 5 bikers and no walkers. It was over F90. That keeps folks off the trails. (but not me)
    On Thursday I passed about 20 bikers and 6 walkers on the Sugar River.

    Have you taken the new trail north out of Monticello yet? It's only about 4 miles up to the tunnel from there. The trail isn't as hard as the SGT and has more gravel on it, so I doubt you'll be able to go as fast. Further north it gets a little worse, the contractors who worked on it weren't consistent. In some places the gravel is too large, in others it is too deep. Probably not unusual for a new trail.

    If you ride it up to where it ends, you'll be within a mile of my house.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    On Thursday I passed about 20 bikers and 6 walkers on the Sugar River.

    Have you taken the new trail north out of Monticello yet? It's only about 4 miles up to the tunnel from there. The trail isn't as hard as the SGT and has more gravel on it, so I doubt you'll be able to go as fast. Further north it gets a little worse, the contractors who worked on it weren't consistent. In some places the gravel is too large, in others it is too deep. Probably not unusual for a new trail.

    If you ride it up to where it ends, you'll be within a mile of my house.
    I hear that trail officially opens tomorrow.

    I have no problem going flat out as fast as I can go on the Root River Trail at most times. Sure I haven't done over 35 but that's all my engine will do on those mild of grades.

    Will, you've been lucky to just see a few people on the trail there. I rode the trail around Memorial day and there were so many people on the trail that 8 mph was about all I could manage in many areas. I'll probably ride that trail tomorrow, even if it does reach the 95 they're calling for.
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  19. #19
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    So that's what an MUP is. Last weekend we rode on one where most of the other people were walkers. Everyone was courteous. There was a situation that I've gone over in my head several times since and would do differently next time. I was in front and came upon a man walking in front of us in the same direction. A couple (also walking) was approaching from the other direction on the other side of the path. As I got closer to the man, I could see that the gap between him and the couple was closing and I should either stop and wait for them to pass each other and then pass the man, or I should try to maneuver through them. I decided there was enough room to pass, so I did. The man stepped aside for me, but I made a clumsy attempt to pass and almost fell into the couple. I decided that next time I would just do the sensible thing and wait.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    On our Mup's, a bell is usefull. You keep it in your pocket and throw it at them when they Will not hear you coming no matter what you do.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    So that's what an MUP is. Last weekend we rode on one where most of the other people were walkers. Everyone was courteous. There was a situation that I've gone over in my head several times since and would do differently next time. I was in front and came upon a man walking in front of us in the same direction. A couple (also walking) was approaching from the other direction on the other side of the path. As I got closer to the man, I could see that the gap between him and the couple was closing and I should either stop and wait for them to pass each other and then pass the man, or I should try to maneuver through them. I decided there was enough room to pass, so I did. The man stepped aside for me, but I made a clumsy attempt to pass and almost fell into the couple. I decided that next time I would just do the sensible thing and wait.
    I've seen that happen more than once. I always wait. That's exactly why many people don't ride MUPs.
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  22. #22
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    On our Mup's, a bell is usefull. You keep it in your pocket and throw it at them when they Will not hear you coming no matter what you do.

    Yeah, that's about it here too. I've got an Airzound, but I haven't mounted it yet. I hear it'll scare the livin' daylights out of just about anyone.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
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  23. #23
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megaman
    I hear that trail officially opens tomorrow.
    Yep. They are holding a grand opening celebration in Belleville from 10AM - 2PM. That's my destination for my 16 mile rec ride, Belleville is 8 miles from my house via bike, about 7 via car.

    Unfortunately, I can't make it. Supposed to be 96 anyway. But I would have liked to have been there.

    http://www.badger-trail.com/grandopening.htm
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by megaman
    Yeah, that's about it here too. I've got an Airzound, but I haven't mounted it yet. I hear it'll scare the livin' daylights out of just about anyone.
    I've wanted one but I already carry enough junk. One _major_
    obstacle on some MUPs here in CO are horses. I'm told that
    the last thing you want to do is scare one of them. I've
    really wanted to though. I seem to get caught behind
    three people on horseback who take up the whole trail for
    a quarter mile or more and go slow enough that if I were a
    pedestrian they would be in the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    ........................................................................

    If you ride it up to where it ends, you'll be within a mile of my house.
    Do you have pie?

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