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Old 04-27-10, 11:07 PM   #1
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To the guy I berated on the Chester Creek trail today...

..after you flew by me on the Hillcrest hill, I'm sorry. I said my piece and you apologized, but then I just kept on laying into you instead of accepting your apology. Between the adrenaline rush from having the crap scared out of me and the frustration/indignation from being on the receiving end of some seriously poor trail etiquette (from a fellow cyclist, no less), I couldn't let it go when I should've. Here, in a much calmer manner, is why I was upset.

I've bombed that hill many times, and I know how much fun it is. When it's empty I like to open 'er up and fly down it, too. But it is terribly inconsiderate to pass other trail users at 25 or 30 MPH, or whatever speed you were going. Plus, yelling "on your left" as you pass someone is absolutely useless, and downright unnerving when your passing at a high rate of speed on a well tuned bike that is pretty much silent. Thanks to the Doppler effect, I can't hear your pawls when you're coming on that fast (or if you're pedaling) as well as you can hear them; and while it might be loud to you, I can't hear the wind in your ears.

If you must pass people at a high rate of speed, please get a bell. A bell is effective from a lot further back than your voice is (unless you're bellowing, which makes you sound like an adrenaline addled @ss). Even at reasonable speeds, people seems to respond better (and more predictably, as many pedestrians have no idea what "on your left" means) to a bell than to a voice. In my experience, at least.

As a year round trail user and year round cyclist, the annual awakening of the roadies from their winter hibernation is kind of a pet peeve of mine. The multi-use paths are no place for high speed cycling, and every walker/runner/folfer/skater/whomever that you terrorize or anger engenders a bad attitude towards all cyclists, even those of use who ride considerately. If you must go as fast as possible, the road is most certainly a better, less frustrating option that the Chester Creek trail. Or maybe try the Coastal trail between Point Woronzof and Kincaid, especially early in the morning or late in the evening. But try not to run anyone off of the trail. And watch out for moose.
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Old 04-27-10, 11:11 PM   #2
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I'm not the guy; however, I'm going to get a bell and the hell with saying "on your left."
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Old 04-27-10, 11:12 PM   #3
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Very cool. Cool indeed.
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Old 04-27-10, 11:16 PM   #4
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I have a bell and honestly, it's an opinion that others understand the meaning. At times, peds will turn to look and step into my path. I do use it froma distance though, knowing that some don't understand it's meaning. They have a chance to look first and make corrections.

At times I will say onyerleft and I am most of the time thanked graciously by others for doing so.

So really, neither is incorrect or correct, maybe not to your liking but that is only your opinion, maybe a few others.
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Old 04-27-10, 11:34 PM   #5
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I stopped saying "on your left" years ago, because peds would frequently move left. If I use a verbal warning, which I do when I pass people slowly (5 MPH or less), I just say "passing" or "mind if I pass?". The latter I use mostly when I encounter groups spread out across the path. Sometimes I just say "hi", or "nice day, eh?", or "how's it going?". "Cute dog" works too, if they have one. I got a laugh out of a young couple the other day when I told them that they had a "nice wiener". Dog.

What I like about the bell is that its tone carries farther than my polite voice. In order to give vocal warning as far ahead as the bell I have to holler, which sounds angry/aggressive. So if I don't want to slow to just above walking pace, I ring the bell and watch what people do. After I've established trajectories, I proceed. I don't ring the bell when close to people, because it's a bit loud. But it's invaluable if I'm passing peds on a sidewalk next to a busy road, since I don't want to roar at them. At an elevated volume, "on your left" just sounds like "get out of my way".
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Old 04-27-10, 11:42 PM   #6
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I've said "on your left" and that is exactly the direction they move. I've given up on that and just said behind you or not bothered. I try to be nice about it at least.
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Old 04-28-10, 12:04 AM   #7
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I've had other riders get upset because I ring the bell, no lie! Surprised me but it happens!
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Old 04-28-10, 02:10 AM   #8
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I've said "on your left" and that is exactly the direction they move. I've given up on that and just said behind you or not bothered. I try to be nice about it at least.
As I said in another thread, where somebody else had the same problem; tell them "Break right." Then, you can make fighter plane noises as you pass them, if you want to.
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Old 04-28-10, 03:43 AM   #9
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An "on your left" from me often garners a glance over the left shoulder from the person I'm about to pass along with inadvertently veering left while doing so. That's why I sometimes wait until I'm closer to the person before I warn them. I think it helps minimize my chances of a startled Fred sideswiping.
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Old 04-28-10, 04:23 PM   #10
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When I'm riding studded tires on pavement in the winter, I never have this problem no matter how crowded the path is. People hear me coming and stay out of my way, without even having to be bothered to turn around and look - they just know where I am.

I wish I could get a bell or something that made that same noise, in the same way that lets them track where I am without even looking in my direction. I've had the same issues as everyone else - yelling "on your left" sometimes causes them to move left, a bell sometimes does the same thing but mostly it's annoying to them because they have to turn and look, etc.
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Old 04-28-10, 10:06 PM   #11
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I have a bell but...5 MPH or less?
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Old 04-29-10, 01:17 AM   #12
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When I'm riding studded tires on pavement in the winter, I never have this problem no matter how crowded the path is. People hear me coming and stay out of my way, without even having to be bothered to turn around and look - they just know where I am.
Same here, except more in the spring than in the winter. Our paths are ski trails in the winter, and as such are groomed and covered in packed snow and ice, not plowed down to asphalt. But come spring, when it's that delicious mix of pavement and standing water on ice, then people hear my studs popping along. It's the only nice thing about riding studs on pavement.

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I wish I could get a bell or something that made that same noise, in the same way that lets them track where I am without even looking in my direction.
Stop lubing your chain.

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I have a bell but...5 MPH or less?
Yes, 5 MPH. Sometimes, situation depending, I slow waaaaay down as I pass people. Say, barely above walking pace. When I do, I'll just give a verbal warning, like "Hello". I'll roll this slow when passing kids, people walking dogs, or when the trail is so crowded that I can't in good conscience go any faster. I don't want to run over anyone's child, I don't like getting hung up in extendo-leashes, and I don't want to run anyone off the trail.

Do you just bomb through at 10 MPH, dinging away regardless of changing trail traffic?
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Old 04-29-10, 05:41 AM   #13
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Baseball cards and a clothespin works, too. Not so good if you have low spoke-count wheels, though.
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Old 04-29-10, 05:58 AM   #14
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A simple "BIKE PASSING" or "[X] BIKES PASSING" has worked for me for many years...if I decide to say anything at all.

If this guy passing you gave you such a scare, I gotta point out that part of the problem was your own. Just because you're riding on a MUP is no excuse to have your head in la-la land and not be aware of what is going on around you. Don't depend on everyone else following the "rules" for your safety, you gotta be proactive and plan for Murphy.
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Old 04-29-10, 06:34 AM   #15
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Do you just bomb through at 10 MPH, dinging away regardless of changing trail traffic?
10 mph is bombing?

I ride one MUP as part of an occasional ride I take -- it just avoids a crappy stetch of divided 4way shopping center trash road. If there is almost nobody on it (cold/windy) I'll ride along at 18 or 20 mph. In that situation if I have to pass someone I can see them a long way ahead, and get an idea what they are doing. If they're a rider/skater/runner out for some exercise and appear to be holding a line I'll move the the far side of the path, giving them a good 8 feet of room at least, and probably just ride on by. I will slow down a bit and cover the brakes as I approach, but slowing to 5mph doesnt' seem needed.

If the path is busy, I generally am not topping 12 or so. When I have to pass someone in that situation, my speed and tactics still depend on whether they appear erratic or appear to have some general sense of the space around them. For kids, slow to a crawl and give as much space as possible. Same for bad dog owners with extendible leashes. Same for clueless women walking four or five abreast (sorry ladies, guys don't seem to do this) with no sense for the fact they are occupying the entire path. But I usually avoid the MUP at busy times anyway. Unless I want to enjoy the scenery.

I'd rather have a rider just pass me without any particular notice, as long as they do it quickly and give me as wide a berth as possible. But then...I look over my shoulder before changing my path of travel, or doing a u-turn on the path. I am teaching my kids to do the same...my greatest fear on the MUP with them is that they do a u-turn into the path of an oncoming rider.
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Old 04-29-10, 06:36 AM   #16
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..after you flew by me on the Hillcrest hill, I'm sorry. I said my piece and you apologized, but then I just kept on laying into you instead of accepting your apology. Between the adrenaline rush from having the crap scared out of me and the frustration/indignation from being on the receiving end of some seriously poor trail etiquette (from a fellow cyclist, no less), I couldn't let it go when I should've. Here, in a much calmer manner, is why I was upset.

I've bombed that hill many times, and I know how much fun it is. When it's empty I like to open 'er up and fly down it, too. But it is terribly inconsiderate to pass other trail users at 25 or 30 MPH, or whatever speed you were going. Plus, yelling "on your left" as you pass someone is absolutely useless, and downright unnerving when your passing at a high rate of speed on a well tuned bike that is pretty much silent. Thanks to the Doppler effect, I can't hear your pawls when you're coming on that fast (or if you're pedaling) as well as you can hear them; and while it might be loud to you, I can't hear the wind in your ears.

If you must pass people at a high rate of speed, please get a bell. A bell is effective from a lot further back than your voice is (unless you're bellowing, which makes you sound like an adrenaline addled @ss). Even at reasonable speeds, people seems to respond better (and more predictably, as many pedestrians have no idea what "on your left" means) to a bell than to a voice. In my experience, at least.

As a year round trail user and year round cyclist, the annual awakening of the roadies from their winter hibernation is kind of a pet peeve of mine. The multi-use paths are no place for high speed cycling, and every walker/runner/folfer/skater/whomever that you terrorize or anger engenders a bad attitude towards all cyclists, even those of use who ride considerately. If you must go as fast as possible, the road is most certainly a better, less frustrating option that the Chester Creek trail. Or maybe try the Coastal trail between Point Woronzof and Kincaid, especially early in the morning or late in the evening. But try not to run anyone off of the trail. And watch out for moose.
So if I have this correct this guy passed you and he must have been one of the unwashed roadies who you don't care for? You got a chance to vent on him and he not only didn't pop you in the nose but apologized? You must have parted seeming to accept his apology. But you didn't really accept his apology because you still werenít through but decided to air your outrage on line so you could relive the altercation and let everyone of us hear about this miscreantís mistake? I sure hope you didnít have a dog at home waiting for you to come home. And a bell works better for people that canít understand on your left? You are sure people will not mistake it for the timer on the microwave and assume their sandwich is ready?
I am not saying you donít have a point but you might want to have your blood pressure checked more often if you canít let some things go.
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Old 04-29-10, 07:31 AM   #17
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I quess I "bomb" through at 10 mph on occasion...but I have a bell If you have someones attention 10+ mph is fine and what Billy said.

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Old 04-29-10, 08:46 AM   #18
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A simple "BIKE PASSING"...
Hmm, interesting. I'll have to try that.

I've never liked "On Your Left" because of the reasons listed above - people sometimes move left, sometimes they hear "On Your Left", sometimes they hear "...Left" and think you want them to move left.

"Bike Passing" is either heard as "Bike Passing" or "...Passing".

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Old 04-29-10, 09:13 AM   #19
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I think one of those compressed air boat horns would work well. It would fit in a water bottle holder and put out about 100 DBs or so. Then you could blast at more than 5 MPH.
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Old 04-29-10, 09:39 AM   #20
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Hmm, interesting. I'll have to try that.

I've never liked "On Your Left" because of the reasons listed above - people sometimes move left, sometimes they hear "On Your Left", sometimes they hear "...Left" and think you want them to move left.

"Bike Passing" is either heard as "Bike Passing" or "...Passing".
The 'bike(s)' is optional...sometimes it helps tho, usually when I have my wife on my wheel. Folks seem to easily equate 'passing' with being passed on their left, but of course not always. The key is to remember that it is OUR (the passer) responsibility to pass safely, which means we need to slow down and expect the person(s) we are passing to do the stupidest thing possible.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:36 AM   #21
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The 'bike(s)' is optional...sometimes it helps tho, usually when I have my wife on my wheel. Folks seem to easily equate 'passing' with being passed on their left, but of course not always. The key is to remember that it is OUR (the passer) responsibility to pass safely, which means we need to slow down and expect the person(s) we are passing to do the stupidest thing possible.
Yeah, that's why I like it - a lot of times they don't hear the first word, "bike" isn't necessary.

Whoa, whoa, whoa....you're Chipcom. And I agree with what you wrote...I gotta check weather.com, what's the zip code for hell? ;-)
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Old 04-29-10, 11:26 AM   #22
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Yeah, that's why I like it - a lot of times they don't hear the first word, "bike" isn't necessary.

Whoa, whoa, whoa....you're Chipcom. And I agree with what you wrote...I gotta check weather.com, what's the zip code for hell? ;-)
even you get to be right once in a while.
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Old 04-29-10, 11:30 AM   #23
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As long as I give a warning, I figure they should be happy, bell or vocal. If the walkers and joggers wanted a perfect world, I wouldn't have two in the left lane and two in the right lane heading towards me at the same time...They'de be on the correct side as well. This happens too many times, so if they expect consideration in return, I'm giving them more than enough.
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Old 04-29-10, 12:05 PM   #24
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10 mph is bombing?
No, I was exaggerating. 10 mph is easily a reasonable passing speed when people are aware of you, or if you can predict their paths and give them room.

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I ride one MUP as part of an occasional ride I take -- it just avoids a crappy stetch of divided 4way shopping center trash road. If there is almost nobody on it (cold/windy) I'll ride along at 18 or 20 mph. In that situation if I have to pass someone I can see them a long way ahead, and get an idea what they are doing. If they're a rider/skater/runner out for some exercise and appear to be holding a line I'll move the the far side of the path, giving them a good 8 feet of room at least, and probably just ride on by. I will slow down a bit and cover the brakes as I approach, but slowing to 5mph doesnt' seem needed.

If the path is busy, I generally am not topping 12 or so. When I have to pass someone in that situation, my speed and tactics still depend on whether they appear erratic or appear to have some general sense of the space around them. For kids, slow to a crawl and give as much space as possible. Same for bad dog owners with extendible leashes. Same for clueless women walking four or five abreast (sorry ladies, guys don't seem to do this) with no sense for the fact they are occupying the entire path. But I usually avoid the MUP at busy times anyway. Unless I want to enjoy the scenery.
You obviously don't ride through the Westchester disc golf course. Seriously, though, how you ride is how it should be done, altering speed as the situation requires and being ready to stop or evade if people move unpredictably.

I never said that cyclists need to slow to 5 MPH when passing, I said that when I'm forced to pass that slowly then I don't bother with the bell. I don't bother with the bell when pass single walkers and runners where I can give them loads of room, and I don't bother with the bell when passing moose (because they don't care). It is remarkably useful for large groups strung across the trail, though.

I'm also not saying that everyone should get a bell. But if you're going to pass people doing 20+, it seems to me to be much more polite to ring than to shout. If you're going fast then a polite tone of voice won't be heard unless you say it as you pass someone, which is pretty ineffective. If you need to shout to make yourself heard in time, then you're riding like an ass twice over. Once for speeding by people, and once more for screaming at them as you do. The guy who passed me combined the ineffectiveness of telling someone that he's passing as he passed with the rudeness of yelling. Basically, he yelled in my ear.

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So if I have this correct this guy passed you and he must have been one of the unwashed roadies who you don't care for? You got a chance to vent on him and he not only didn't pop you in the nose but apologized? You must have parted seeming to accept his apology. But you didn't really accept his apology because you still weren’t through but decided to air your outrage on line so you could relive the altercation and let everyone of us hear about this miscreant’s mistake? I sure hope you didn’t have a dog at home waiting for you to come home. And a bell works better for people that can’t understand on your left? You are sure people will not mistake it for the timer on the microwave and assume their sandwich is ready?
I am not saying you don’t have a point but you might want to have your blood pressure checked more often if you can’t let some things go.
Wow, you have such a deep misunderstanding of both the event and my motivations, it's almost as though you weren't there and you aren't me! And hey, nothing says reasonable discourse like accusing a complete stranger of animal abuse, am I right?

I see people acting selfishly on the trail year round, but I never say anything. The only reason that I talked to the guy was because he scared the crap out of me, and I caught up to him in the tunnel at the bottom of the hill where he was weaving through a stroller jam. I didn't yell, but I did scold. He said he was sorry, but I spoke right over his apology and continued to scold for about a minute until I turned off towards my destination. So no, he is not under the impression that I accepted his apology, and I felt bad about it.

I also feel bad about having scolded a full grown adult as though they were some teenaged hooligan, even though I do think he was riding like one. So I posted an apology and explanation on the two bicycle forums that I frequent, this one and my local forum, just in case (and this is a long shot) someone knows a guy in Anch who might be a bit steamed about being berated by some safety dork on the MUP the other day.
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Old 04-29-10, 02:39 PM   #25
Robert Foster
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Originally Posted by GriddleCakes View Post
No, I was exaggerating. 10 mph is easily a reasonable passing speed when people are aware of you, or if you can predict their paths and give them room.



You obviously don't ride through the Westchester disc golf course. Seriously, though, how you ride is how it should be done, altering speed as the situation requires and being ready to stop or evade if people move unpredictably.

I never said that cyclists need to slow to 5 MPH when passing, I said that when I'm forced to pass that slowly then I don't bother with the bell. I don't bother with the bell when pass single walkers and runners where I can give them loads of room, and I don't bother with the bell when passing moose (because they don't care). It is remarkably useful for large groups strung across the trail, though.

I'm also not saying that everyone should get a bell. But if you're going to pass people doing 20+, it seems to me to be much more polite to ring than to shout. If you're going fast then a polite tone of voice won't be heard unless you say it as you pass someone, which is pretty ineffective. If you need to shout to make yourself heard in time, then you're riding like an ass twice over. Once for speeding by people, and once more for screaming at them as you do. The guy who passed me combined the ineffectiveness of telling someone that he's passing as he passed with the rudeness of yelling. Basically, he yelled in my ear.



Wow, you have such a deep misunderstanding of both the event and my motivations, it's almost as though you weren't there and you aren't me! And hey, nothing says reasonable discourse like accusing a complete stranger of animal abuse, am I right?

I see people acting selfishly on the trail year round, but I never say anything. The only reason that I talked to the guy was because he scared the crap out of me, and I caught up to him in the tunnel at the bottom of the hill where he was weaving through a stroller jam. I didn't yell, but I did scold. He said he was sorry, but I spoke right over his apology and continued to scold for about a minute until I turned off towards my destination. So no, he is not under the impression that I accepted his apology, and I felt bad about it.

I also feel bad about having scolded a full grown adult as though they were some teenaged hooligan, even though I do think he was riding like one. So I posted an apology and explanation on the two bicycle forums that I frequent, this one and my local forum, just in case (and this is a long shot) someone knows a guy in Anch who might be a bit steamed about being berated by some safety dork on the MUP the other day.
You know you are still ranting right? Telling several generations of cyclists that yelling on you left is worthless and a bell is a better choice sounds like you are scolding some of the rest of us as well. You may be telling us you wanted to explain to this person but under it all you are still telling him off. There comes a time when you have to chill out and let it go. I spend time in other forums as well and I hear the other side complaining about people that can't seem to understand the warning, "on your left" even when it has been used by experienced cyclist for years.

There are times I travel MUPs and often find it safe to exceed 10 MPH and pass other walkers and bikes. But then maybe the area I ride in people understand "on your left"

But if you want to contiue to stew over this problem that is your choice. I wouldn't dream of trying to tell another experienced cyclist how to ride.

And I clearly understand how you feel about Roadies. You don't like them.
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