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  1. #1
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    The nice thing to do

    When you folks are riding on trails (no need to sneer at me if you never do), do you let someone know when you are going to pass them on the left ?

    I bought a bike for the wife and am working on getting her comfortable on a bike. We went to the B&A trail near where I live - it runs between Annapolis and Glen Burnie in MD.

    Anyway, I have never been passed by so many people who did not even make a squeek until I heard their wheels spinning by.



    My wife is still working on control, and any extra hand movement, pointing, getting a water bottle, etc. still makes her swerve a bit. These macho-jerks flying by could have been taken out by one of those swerves - she never even knew they were there !!! It really disconcerts you as a rookie to suddenly have someone fly by without warning.

    One lady passed between my wife and an oncoming jogger -- literally inches to spare -- without so much as a passing word.

    Whats going on out there ? Not to discriminate - but most of the rude ones were jersey and short equipped roadies riding $1,000 bikes, flying along well past the speed limit. Don't even think for a minute that I am painting all roadies in this light, but if you got all the gear -- it implies some level of seriousness, and I guess I would expect more courtesy and respect from them.

    (come on, what road bike can go as slow as 15 mph with someone hammering on the pedals ).

    Come on guys - if you are so friggin cool, and Lance incarnate - get out on the road and leave us rookies in peace on our sheltered trails.

    Grumble, grumble. Such a shock to spend my time here with such friendly, nice people, then get out on a trail and run into so many damn jerks !!

    Whew, I feel better now.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    It is not only rude to whiz by other bikers and pedestrians, it is dangerous.

    Get a mirror for you and your wife so you can know who is coming up behind you. As a hint, do not get a convex mirror. They are useless.

    Get a bell so you can alert the people you will pass. A nice tinkle-tinkle bell is the best for use on trails. They sound nice and are the right volume for such a purpose.
    Mike

  3. #3
    member Yo MikeOK's Avatar
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    It's a pretty well known thing where I usually ride to yell a "left" when passing someone. The more crowded trails I have ridden are usually very friendly. Most mountain bikers I've been around are pretty cordial people. On group road rides you usually get the same except for the newbies who don't know better. We also do a little finger wag when going by an obstacle like gravel or glass on the road to warn those behind us that something is there. It's an endorphin thing...

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Since I pass lots of people and lots of [other] people pass me, I have perspective from both sides of this issue. If you are a slow-to-mid-speed rider, please stay toward the right, and ride single-file on a narrow path. If you are fast, please warn others that you are passing them.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  5. #5
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    All good advice above.

    Yes, there are plenty of jerks out especially late afternoons and weekends.
    I avoid all bike paths & trails on weekends, road riding is much safer. I am retired so I can pick my times to use the trail.

    We have a great canal towpath here in Ohio (Ohio and Erie Canal- 1827), and being a history buff I cannot force myself to stay away for long.

    I also use a small bell which helps somewhat.

  6. #6
    Grounded Inkwolf's Avatar
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    I thought this was funny--while riding on the Fox River trail, I came up behind a group of pedestrians. There were bikes coming from the other way, making it unsafe to pass, so I just slowed way down and stayed behind the walkers. The pedestrians noticed me there, got out of my way, and complained that I should have rang my bell so they knew to get out off the trail....

  7. #7
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    Yup Inkwolf, I've had similar experiences. It's very frustrating to be doing everything right and still have clueless trail users grumble. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

  8. #8
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    The first thing newbie riders and kids do when hearing either "on your left" or a bell is look behind them to see what is happening, and in the process of looking behind, they ALWAYS pull to the left. Drives me nuts.

    So, I pass them very cautiously, but I am amazed at the number of folks who pass at high speeds - especially passing kids on bikes. Kids are highly unpredictable, and I witnessed one getting mowed down by a rider (passing much faster than I would) while the kid - yes - looked behind him and pulled to the left when he heard a bell. Fortunately no injuries, but one scared kid.

    Okay, Chris L. - you can now put in your standard comment about the uselessness of trails.
    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

  9. #9
    Skin-Pounder Bikes-N-Drums's Avatar
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    Use mirrors to see these unsavory riders coming up on you. Then their, 'on your left' won't be as necessary. It's my best defense against the silent trail speeders. I also use a ring-ring bell on the trail as everyone will know that noise and what it means, whereas someone may not hear my 700th 'on your left' one day.
    We are the musicmakers and we are the dreamers of dreams...

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I always give a "on your left" call when passing pedestrians (Im not usually fast enough to be passing other bikes!), however, alot seem to be wearing headphones, so I'm never really sure if the hear me or not! The ones without headphones generally give a wave and a thanks.

  11. #11
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    I was out on the trail the other day and came up behind an elderly gentleman walking his dog. I slowed down and let him know I was behind him and wanted to pass on the left. Much to my surprise he literally "jumped" off the trail dragging his poor little dog with him. I've never seen someone move so fast and was surprised he didn't fall and hurt himself. I told him I would have waited for him to let me by (that's why I let him know I was coming up behind) and he didn't need to move so quickly. He thanked me and said most of the riders he encounters just whip by without giving him any warning at all. As I apologized for the rudeness of the other riders, it made me a bit angry that some riders would be so inconsiderate. Id rather try and make a positive impression than a negative since the same pedestrians probably drive and don't differentiate between the cyclists they see on the road. I'll never win in a car encounter even if I'm in the right.

  12. #12
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    .........If you are fast, please warn others that you are passing them.
    JohnE, not hitting on you at all, but to anyone..

    IF YOUR FAST, GET OFF THE PATHS AND ON THE STREET WHERE YOU CAN DICE IT UP WITH THE BIG BOYS!!!!

    These paths are not racetracks, not if there are newbies, children, strollers, bladers, walkers and radio listeners on them. Its just like some hotrodder changing lanes and driving reckless on the street...it is just not the place to play LANCE ARMSTRONG or JEFF GORDAN or whomever.

    If I want to teach my granddaughter the joy of riding, I won't do it on the street, can't do it in the yard or drive way, so there we are with a little pink bike with training wheels on the path...
    I can't ride and Frown!

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Sorry!. And I do mean that. This is the one place where I tend to be rude and sometimes forget. I do yell 80% of the time but...well no excuse. Sorry!

  14. #14
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    You can ignore whats below if by 'trails' you mean double lane paths. If you are talking single track or fireroad please read on. Reading through this thread confused me a bit because there are major differences in protocol.

    Originally posted by 1oldRoadie

    IF YOUR FAST, GET OFF THE PATHS AND ON THE STREET WHERE YOU CAN DICE IT UP WITH THE BIG BOYS!!!!
    Whatever. Road racing speed and single track speed are 75 different things. I believe this was about trails. Jeez




    These paths are not racetracks, not if there are newbies, children, strollers, bladers, walkers and radio listeners on them. Its just like some hotrodder changing lanes and driving reckless on the street...it is just not the place to play LANCE ARMSTRONG or JEFF GORDAN or whomever.
    I stay at one speed on large 'groomed' paths and that is generally slow (not casual slow but definately slow) but on single track and fire trails if there are slow people I still go fast. I try to yell out 'on your left' but I like speed. Technical speed. Not roadie style.

  15. #15
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RollingGeek
    When you folks are riding on trails (no need to sneer at me if you never do), do you let someone know when you are going to pass them on the left ?

    One lady passed between my wife and an oncoming jogger -- literally inches to spare -- without so much as a passing word.
    I wouldn't sneer at you, RollingGeek, or try to make you feel foolish for riding where you are told it is safe to ride.

    But I would sneer at govenment bicycle facility planners who create such dangerous situations. For years, planners separated cyclists from pedestrians. Recently they have begun to separate cyclists from motorists in an effort to "streamline" motor traffic. Cyclists are now being told to ride with pedestrians, a very unsafe situation, no matter how you cut it. All it takes is one pedestrian to make a false move, and you are laying on the pavement with your friends calling 911.

    Learn how to ride bikes on a quiet neighborhood street using basic motor vehicle-style principles. You drive a car everyday. Riding a bike is not much different.
    Next in line

  16. #16
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    IF YOUR FAST, GET OFF THE PATHS AND ON THE STREET WHERE YOU CAN DICE IT UP WITH THE BIG BOYS!!!!
    My point exactly. Otherwise, be courteous and let people know you are coming.

  17. #17
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    You can ignore whats below if by 'trails' you mean double lane paths. If you are talking single track or fireroad please read on. Reading through this thread confused me a bit because there are major differences in protocol.......
    I get to ignore it
    I am defintely talking about only PAVED paths....on single track and fireroads, I believe that anyone out there is already "dicing it up with the big boys" and should be completely aware of his/her surroundings and a single toot, whistle or dingaling is ample warning.
    I can't ride and Frown!

  18. #18
    Junior Member filark's Avatar
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    Hey all,
    I've passed people who are strung out and letting them know I'm passing and they yell ahead to warn the next rider in their group. I dislike being labeled as someone who is rude, crude and hard to deal with. I'm from Lubbock, Tx and one of the sayings they have there is to "drive friendly". It applies to every type of transportation.
    Sometimes, it is hard to know if someone heard you when they are wearing headphones. If waiting for oncoming bikes to pass so I can pass, I try to let people know that they are ok. I don't want anyone going off trail on my account. I don't want to be the person responsible for their falling.
    Have a great ride!!
    Filark

  19. #19
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Good idea. I find a rectangular mirror gives you the big picture. Listen and look back ofter.. I for one always loudly say, passing on left.. One problem I have experienced on bike paths, the person you are passing are not listening.. Or maybe they have a radio with earphones on. They are impossible.. Another problem, walkers/ joggers off the path entering the path and don't look.
    They did not indicate their intentions but quickly walked out into my pathway. I have had to swerve for a couple of them or we both would have been hurt.. Some time pedesterians are just know to walk out in front of cars and don't look first..
    Another problem I sensed today.. The Oceanside bike path is elevated above a river plain.. Today, I really sensed some one was out in the brush shooting. Not sure, but felt some object was projecting ahead of me. Thought I sensed a movement of air ahead of me... If this actually happened, I suspected it might have been like a bb gun.. Hope my senses were way off base.. We have lots of weirdo's about..Maybe I should call the police. We do also have some homeless living in this flood plain..
    If the case, just something more to worry about..

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