One day while vacationing on Maine's Mount Desert Island, I went out bicycling in Acadia National Park. Along with miles of paved roads, the park also has a network of carriage trails which wound throughout the island. The trails were built in the 1800's but now are used only by hikers, bicyclists, and carriages pulled by horses. I've visited Acadia National Park for many years to enjoy the views, to be at one with the world, and to bike where there were fewer chances of getting buzzed by motorists.
It all began innocently enough on a cool, overcast day. I started out dressed in the average brightly-colored jersey with a whistle pinned to it (for my safety or in an emergency) black spandex shorts, navy blue socks, black cycling shoes, and a medium blue helmet. Strapped to my back was a hydrapak unit with a large, red safety light which I turned off when I got to the nearest trailhead. This would be just another day of bicycling in the park. Or so I thought.
After riding about twenty miles or so of mountainous trails, the temperature dropped and it began to rain. At a junction in the trail, I decided to double back and stop at the Jordan Pond House where I could rest, eat, and change my outfit. With this in mind, I pedaled on with a positive mental attitude despite the fact I grew steadily colder.
The Jordan Pond House is a place in the middle of the island where every road and trail lead to. There was a restaurant there but doesn't let in people who come in off the trails. It did, however, have a gift shop which sold hot drinks and snack foods. There was also a public restroom. I changed into a dry, yellow jersey, black spandex pants, and a lime-green jacket to which I transfered the whistle. In the gift shop, I bought crackers and a large cup of coffee. While there, I noted that some of the other people around me came from other states and still others who from outside the USA. With my helmet still on, I sat down outside the shop with my purchases and what must have been a serious look on my face.
And then the strangest thing happened. As people left both the restaurant and the gift shop, they stopped or walked by me in a manner of respect. Fascinated, I sat and watched this for quite a while. Eventually, a woman walked out of the Jordan Pond House and said, "Excuse me, sir, but are you bicycle security?" "No, Ma'am," I said, "I'm a visitor here like you are." In an effort to cut costs and be more effecient, the park police had lately dispatched rangers to patrol the trails on bicycles. Their outfits were far different from what I wore but someone unaware of this difference might confuse me as one of them. After I finished explaining myself to a number of other people, I rode back to Bar Harbor where a hot shower, dry clothes, a hot meal, and a place to stay was available to me.
Whatever you do, please don't try to look like a police officer unless that's your employment. Doing so otherwise can result in great embarrassment at the very least.