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Old 03-30-02, 11:59 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Public Enemy #1

Are you "Public Enemy #1?"

When was the last time you scared the hellfire out of someone on the bike? (Maybe they almost p*ssed on you! )

There was the guy out jogging with his stick (to ward off dogs of various sorts, I suspect,) who leaped up and shouted at me, assuming some sort of karate stance before I swooshed by; I apologized humbly as I passed.

Then there was the kid chasing the ball down the hill who didn't see me, who jumped out of his skin as I slipped past at 25 mph.

And the schoolchildren in a driveway, more than one of which gave a startled shout as I passed, though I really thought they
saw me!

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Old 03-31-02, 12:14 AM   #2
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I think I saw your picture last time I was at the Post Office...
I'm more inclined to scare the hell out of animals in the woods.
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Old 03-31-02, 01:00 AM   #3
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What would be more frightening than a crazed moose on a bike!
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Old 03-31-02, 01:10 AM   #4
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It was on a newly opened, almost unused bike path that fronted a freeway. A wonderful downhill slope that was an easy 35 MPH coast, and 40 if you pedal hard at the start. A homeless man was walking down the hill as I came from behind. He was walking and talking, fighting with his own private demons. I came to a stop about 15 feet behind him, and said "hello". No response. I rolled closer, and again said "hello". He stopped walking and looked left, then right. I said "good morning". He looked up at the sky. Then I realized that He could not identify the sounds, or tell the direction my voice was coming from because of the freeway noise. He turned right and staired out across the grassy fields as if to see which rabbit, gopher or snake had learned to send brain signals to him. I released the brakes and rolled past him on the left side of the path. Just as I was passing behind him, he became aware of me and my seven-and-one-half-foot-long-bicycle.
I had never actually seen a person levitate before that moment. But that is the only way I can describe what happened. He went straight up. And how he did it, I haven't a clue. He just rose, with his arms flailing and his head spinning around like that Exorcist thing. He couldn't speak, he only made "awk, awk, awk" noises. And I felt terrible. He was so frightened. I could only mutter "sorry, sorry", and I knew he couldn't uderstand what I was saying because of the noise. All I could do was release the brakes, and roll away. I still feel Bad. He had enough to deal with besides me taking ten years off his life.

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Old 03-31-02, 03:41 AM   #5
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I've got squeaky brakes right now. They are very useful. Let's see, pedestrians that jump out in front of you without looking, dogs that chase you, I could go on...

As I said, sqeaky brakes are very useful at times
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Old 03-31-02, 05:44 AM   #6
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Have to agree on the noisy brakes thing!

Back in the mid-eighties I had my first knobby tire bike, a BMX with (yeah yeah) - hand operated brakes. Crappy 'quality', and composed out of 1001 different pieces. a pain to adjust, let alone for a schoolkid like myself . They stopped me okay, but they also HOWLED, hehe... Just a slight tough of my front brake was enough to have people jump of the sidewalk into the bushes, the noise was more than just loud, it travelled way far!
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Old 03-31-02, 06:18 AM   #7
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I sometimes feel a little sorry for the mothers with young children...
Its not my intention to cause fear when passing pedestrians, but i seem to frighten some people, even when my speed is very low!
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Old 03-31-02, 08:42 AM   #8
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So I'm cruising down the caleche road on Mount Royal, dodging the horse-sh*t [sorry, censors, I don't really know how else to put it], feeling my rear wheel bite into the newly-thawed dirt with each turn... generally feeling good.

I come up behind an older woman at about 30 km/h. She's out for a walk on the mountain, gingerly picking her way through the mud, the horse sh*t [there's that word again] and the remains of the snow. She's dressed Victorian [and I don't mean Victoria's Secret] and looks like she's be the kind of librarian -- if that's what she was -- who'll "SHUSSSSSSSSSH" you every five minutes.

Being the gentleman cyclocrosser that I am, I make my presence known. "A gauche, on your left," I yell as a warning. Startled. the woman jumps to the side -- into a puddle of mud and melted horse sh*t.

Now, I didn't mean to cause her trouble, worry or hardship, and I do try to be a good citizen when sharing the parks, but I have to admit that was pretty satisfying [in an infantile, juvenile sort of way ].
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Old 03-31-02, 10:48 AM   #9
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An unexpected human voice coming out of nowhere startles most people - I have a bell for exactly this reason. A ringing bicycle bell gets attention without scaring anyone - and the sound carries a surprisingly long way.

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Old 03-31-02, 11:28 AM   #10
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You're right, there is a place for the lowly bell! They seem like a "Fred" accessory, but in situations like that are just the thing.

I've got one on my commuter, it's small and inconspicuous, not like the big old chrome ones we had on our kids' bikes.

I've found that a lot of pedestrians are confused by the "on your left/right", because they're not up on the jargon of cyclists, skiers etc.
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Old 03-31-02, 11:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by velocipedio
.

Being the gentleman cyclocrosser that I am, I make my presence known. "A gauche, on your left," I yell as a warning. Startled. the woman jumps to the side -- into a puddle of mud and melted horse sh*t.

].
You should have tried "Achtung, scheisse"
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Old 03-31-02, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Harry
You should have tried "Achtung, scheisse"
No... I don't think that would have worked.

As for bells... I've seen pedestrians ignore bells in the past. I'd rather startle them with my voice than run them over with my bell tinkling along...

On the Mountain today, I was climbing up the caleche road at a respectable 18 km/h crawl. It was a beautiful day -- downright mudlucious and puddlewonderful -- with the temp just below 10C, and the melt from the recent snow [we had 40 cm last week] had turned the road into a cyclocross paradise.

This is what a flatter section of the caleche road looks like in the autumn:



I pass a guy on the left, moving about 18 km/h uphill. with about a metre and a half between us; I'm not kicking up much muck at that speed -- certainly not enough to jump the distance. The guy is in a cowboy hat, an ankle-length leather coat and [as I noted later] matching leather pants and white snakeskin cowboy boots [ideal clothes for a walk on a muddy dirt road in the spring]. Like I said, I came around this guy wide, and I can't imagine that I hit him with any muck. But that didn't stop him, he yells: "Hey, you f***ing ***hole, the leather, watch the leather!"

I look back, and the guy is red faced, yelling at me and flipping me the bird.

It almost ruined what had been -- aside from the unusually large number of people in the park [it was Easter, after all] -- a wonderful ride. I was pretty steamed; if I really HAD mucked him, that would be one thing, but this guy just had attitude to spare.

So... on my way back down the caleche road [I climbed and descended a couple of times], I happen to see Mr. Coat in the distance, verbally abusing someone else. I also noted that, given our respective velocities, we would meet just where there happened to be a nice big puddle. Needless to say, that's where we passed each other, much closer this time... In fact, I even managed a rear wheel brake skid at just the right moment.

As I rode off, with him yelling behind me, I pointed to my butt and yelled "Hey, the lycra, watch the lycra!"

Good ride today.
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Old 03-31-02, 03:53 PM   #13
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I like your response. The only better one I can come up with would be, "Happy Easter."

In contrast, I had a pleasant encounter with a jogger this morning. On the return leg of my 40km round trip to Lake Hodges, a jogger actually moved out of the bicycle lane and onto the sidewalk when he saw me approaching. I waved and wished him a Happy Easter, and felt pretty genuine about doing so.
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Old 03-31-02, 04:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by cycletourist
An unexpected human voice coming out of nowhere startles most people...
If by that you mean that they jump, scream and grab their chest,
I would have to agree.



I guess a bell would be an inconspicuous, yet effective way of being prepared for the sudden appearance of a pedestrian.

I have sighted pedestrians in several places in my area, so I do not consider myself a novice at identifying them, though I consider them rare. That brings up another issue: if I scare one of them to death, could I get in some sort of trouble for harming an endangered species?

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Old 03-31-02, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by cycletourist
An unexpected human voice coming out of nowhere startles most people - I have a bell for exactly this reason. A ringing bicycle bell gets attention without scaring anyone - and the sound carries a surprisingly long way.
I have found that people around here habitually ignore bells and human voices (one of the reasons I avoid bike paths religiously), but squeaky brakes seem to get their attention pretty well.
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Old 03-31-02, 08:19 PM   #16
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It works for ME. I'm one of those people who is sensitive to certain noises, like styrofoam rubbing, or high-pitched drilling. Squeaky brakes are one of those noises that make both my eyes go into the same socket and give me goose pimples.

I will yell loudly WATCH IT! at kids- not because I hate them but I often see kids running right out into the street without looking, or rollerblading or scootering right out into the street without even LOOKING to see if anyone is coming. I can tell it startles them but it's a lot better than if I had to swerve or screeeeeecch to a halt and do the Flying Nun over the handelbars. Sorry if it bothers you kid, but I'm not breaking a collarbone for you.
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Old 03-31-02, 09:07 PM   #17
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I only use "on your left" when passing other cyclists, rare in itself! For passing joggers, or kids, i usualy yell "coming through!" 3 - 5 secconds before passing, this gives them enought time to get out of the way, right or left, and let me pass. When they do let me pass without issues, i usualy reward them with a thank you.
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Old 03-31-02, 09:42 PM   #18
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Weigh the situation. Sometimes it is better to seem rude and say nothing than to risk scaring the bejeesus out of someone, especially if there is no risk of collision anyway.
I was going past an elderly neighbor lady's house and noticed she was out in her garden near her grape arbor. Thinking she had seen me I gave her a big shout "Hulloooo!", which usually gets a smile and a similar response. This time, tho, she bent over right when I passed and had her butt towards me, and when she heard me holler she snapped upwards and around and smacked her head on the grape trellis.
I couldn't help but giggle (she was ok) and because of it I am sure there is a hot little cell in hell with my name on it.
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Old 04-01-02, 10:44 AM   #19
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I usually yell "on your left/right" when I pass, but I've had some people who get upset by this. Usually older people. So when I pass old people on the bike/ped path, I usually just steer way left and leave it at that.

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Old 04-01-02, 11:48 AM   #20
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If I were going to ride daily on a bike path (which I don't) I think I would just hang a cow-bell off the front of my handlebar. Most everyone would hear me coming from half-a-mile away.
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Old 04-01-02, 02:01 PM   #21
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I was riding the other night and saw what appeared to be a cat coming form the curb. As it approached realized it didn't see me. Cats are not usually that dumb. About the time I realized we were on a slow motion collision course I saw it was a possum. At that point I was going about two miles an hour. He did not see me until my left pedal was about to come down on him. His head and butt pretty much just exchanged places and he waddled in panic to the storm sewer. My tire missed him by about two inches. I freaked out because I thought he was going to run right up my leg. Unlike pedestrians at least he had an excuse for acting half blind and deaf.
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Old 04-01-02, 03:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Gardner
I only use "on your left" when passing other cyclists, rare in itself! For passing joggers, or kids, i usualy yell "coming through!" 3 - 5 secconds before passing, this gives them enought time to get out of the way, right or left, and let me pass. When they do let me pass without issues, i usualy reward them with a thank you.
After a day of riding on an organized tour last year, I was walking down the sidewalk on the university campus where we were staying. The walk was crowded with pedestrians going both directions. A voice behind me yelled "On your left!" When I'm riding, I know how to react when I hear those words. When I'm walking--on a sidewalk no less--it's the last thing I expect. I turned to see what the yelling was, stepped into the path of the oncoming bike, and we both went down.

When I pass pedestrians, I do it slowly. I don't yell anything. I start talking and braking well in advance. I say things like "Hi. I'm going to pass over here on your left side. Thanks. Nice day, isn't it?"
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