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Old 06-05-09, 08:48 PM   #1
Tom Bombadil
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It's a plane, it's a bird, it's Rail Trail Scout

After posting some experiences of assisting people on trails in the past, I've been called a Scout. Today it was just another ride for Rail Trail Scout.

It was a beautiful, partly sunny, high 70s day. There were more people out on the rail trails than I've ever seen on a weekday. Still not crowded by any means, but on my 34-mile ride, I saw nearly 30 other trail users. Most of them were traveling in pair, so it averaged out that I saw another trail user about every 2.3 miles, which is much higher than usual.

My Rail Trail Scout adventurers today included:

1) Assisting a 60 yo rider in finding the best place to exit the trail to get to where he wanted to go in Madison.

2) Adjusting the rear brake on a woman's bike. It was rubbing the rim and her husband didn't have any tools with him, and they were about 6 miles from their car. Don't know if she had already ridden the 6 miles with the brake rubbing.

3) Assisting another rider through the old trail tunnel. She didn't have a light on her bike. Tunnel is pitch black in the middle.

4) Warning two 50+ couples who were parking their vehicles in a small field next to the trail and getting ready to unload their bikes, that this particular lot was private property, even though it kinda looked like a trail parking lot.

5) Assisting another 50+ couple by informing them where they could purchase trail passes.

I guess I have all of these encounters because I engage everyone I meet on the trail, and if they look like they need help, I ask them if there's anything I can do for them.

My treat for today was riding to the famous M&M Cafe in Monticello, WI and having a piece of cranberry-raspberry pie. I almost went for their famous Amish Creme pie, which is wonderful. But I love pie with raspberries ... just raspberries or mixed with apples, peaches or cranberries. It was wonderful.

Beautiful 34 mile ride through the countryside with flowers blooming everywhere, assisting some nice people, and having a great slice of pie. Now that's a nice day.
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Old 06-06-09, 04:19 AM   #2
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It's nice to have a minimum of tools with you so you can help others on the trail. So many of them start out on bicycle ride without any idea about how their going to get back to the car if broken. Beyond that, it's just plain friendly to say "good morning" or "hello".

Even during my almost rant of last week, I had to keep telling myself that all those pedestrians on their nature hunt were helping to fund "my" trail.

Do you get a funny hat with a coonskin tail for being a scout?
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Old 06-06-09, 04:34 AM   #3
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You're just further proof that cycling can be a rewarding experience on many different levels.

Trail Passes? You mean one just can't get on the trails and ride? I didn't know that. Is there a fee? I have often daydreamed of bringing a bike to Wi. sometime during a visit with our daughter to ride some of the trails. Whoa, I could have gotten into trouble?
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Old 06-06-09, 05:16 AM   #4
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Remember at all times the Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the scout law;
To help other people at all times
to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake,
and morally straight.
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Old 06-06-09, 05:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
My treat for today was riding to the famous M&M Cafe in Monticello, WI and having a piece of cranberry-raspberry pie. I almost went for their famous Amish Creme pie, which is wonderful. But I love pie with raspberries ... just raspberries or mixed with apples, peaches or cranberries. It was wonderful.
It's really too bad that a piece of pie can't be sent as an email attachment.
You would be performing a Really Good Deed if you could send me a piece of that cranberry-raspberry pie.
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Old 06-06-09, 05:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
Today it was just another ride for Rail Trail Scout.

5) Assisting another 50+ couple by informing them where they could purchase trail passes.

Now that's a nice day.
You represented 50+ people in a class fashion. Well done, TB.

I'm curious. Sounds like this is a "toll trial". Is that correct?
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Old 06-06-09, 06:10 AM   #7
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It's really too bad that a piece of pie can't be sent as an email attachment.
You would be performing a Really Good Deed if you could send me a piece of that cranberry-raspberry pie.
1+

I do wish someone would open a nice restaurant on the Silver Comet trail just so I could use that as an excuse for pie. hmmmm.....

trail passes? not something we have here yet. hope not. and as for the number of people you saw on the trail.... lord that's a scant few for a 30+ trip. I'd see that many in my first 5 minutes or less on the Silver Comet. Maybe if I started 25-30 miles outside of the city areas? will have to consider that next ride. it does get crowded on the Comet.
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Old 06-06-09, 03:47 PM   #8
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The MUPs in most cities are fee free. But the Wisconsin DNR is forced to charge fees for use of the the 700+ mile rail trail system. They need the money for trail maintenance. Fee is $4 for a day or $20 for a year. One pass works across the entire system.

I just pays me $20 each spring and forgets about it. I usually ride the trails about 40 times a year, so its only about 50 cents a ride. It was $15/yr until last year. It would be nice if the state government would cover the full cost, but as they have a $6B budget deficit, that is unlikely.

I've had a pass for 3 years and have never once been stopped by a trail monitor. I've heard of people who have been checked.

OTOH, I rode the Cannon Valley Trail out of Red Wing, MN one time and during a 40 mile ride, was stopped twice and asked to display my trail pass. Which I had purchased before starting my ride.
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Old 06-06-09, 03:48 PM   #9
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It's really too bad that a piece of pie can't be sent as an email attachment.
You would be performing a Really Good Deed if you could send me a piece of that cranberry-raspberry pie.
I might go and get you a piece, but doubt I have the willpower to refrain from eating it.
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Old 06-06-09, 04:26 PM   #10
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I might go and get you a piece, but doubt I have the willpower to refrain from eating it.
It's the thought that counts, I suppose.
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Old 06-09-09, 12:35 PM   #11
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Sounds like an opportunity for other Samaritans to keep an eye out on their rail trails too.
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Old 06-09-09, 12:53 PM   #12
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Sounds like an opportunity for other Samaritans to keep an eye out on their rail trails too.

Consider it done!

I ran across some poor sould on the MUP near me yesterday morning whos bike was disabled. He had thrown his chain while shifting into high gear jamming his chain between his chain stay and his freewheel! After stopping to see if he needed a hand (with his bike standing upside down it was painfully obvious that he did) he asked me for a "C" wrench. I think he was asking me for a Crescent Wrench for his Bolt on wheel. Long story short I held his frame and he pulled his chain free by hand.

We had a nice discussion about my SWB recumbent and then went our seperate ways.
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Old 06-09-09, 07:13 PM   #13
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Sounds like you are a combination researcher and "trail angel". Did someone say pie?
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