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Old 06-15-14, 09:17 PM   #1
Crash_N_Carry
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How not to behave on a bike path (or: my fathers day ride at Colt State Park today)

Being Father's Day, I went to Colt State Park in Bristol, RI with my mom and dad to enjoy the day, and we decided to ride our bikes on the bike path that runs along the ocean. If you've ever rode this path on a weekend in the summer you know one thing: it's heavily trafficked. There's a lot of foot traffic as well as casual weekend cyclists who don't always follow the rules, go as fast as you want, or do what you expect. Yes it can be annoying and frustration (and something I can attest to first hand), however that's life and it's something you accept when you make the decision to ride on a heavily trafficked bike path.

While I was riding with my folks I had managed to get ahead of them on the main path. Now I'll admit that I made a mistake here: I should have pulled off the path and looked back, but instead I had turned my head left, and I inadvertently steered into the left lane (which was clear of oncoming traffic).

What I didn't know was that there was someone on a road bike coming up extremely fast, and without announcing that he was there, was trying to pass me. We didn't collide or anything like that, however I apologized profusely since even though it was unintentional I was in the wrong and I knew it.

Instead of accepting my apology and moving on, the individual becomes unhinged and starts YELLING AT ME, calling me obscenities and what-not, and barking orders at me. I apologized about five times more and then proceeded to give him a "yes sir" at his commands (I mean, what else could I say at that point?).

At that point the individual tries to escalate the situation to a physical one. He stops and proceeds to tell me that he's going to physically assault me and throw my bike into the woods (cursing at me the entire time mind you). Instead of letting the situation escalate any further I do my best to defuse it. In the end I managed to calm him down slightly; I apologized for a seventh time, proceeded to wish him a good day and wished him a good ride, and he carried on.

The moral of this story? Two wrongs definitely don't make a right. It can also be a very fine line between being right and being a jerk. When the individual is *TRYING* to be respectful and courteous to you and you threatening to physically assault them, depending on the individual it can backfire tragically . Thankfully these days I'm a lot more mellow and level headed than I used to be, and although I'm very capable of defending myself, I'd rather avoid a physical altercation if I can. It also would have been a really embarrassing situation for him since I could have easily subdued him and since I'm a Clyde I would have sat on him while I waited for the local police to arrest him for assault.

As luck would have it my parents pulled up behind me just as the individual left (of course they were questioning what just happened). All I have to say is thank God the situation happened between the individual and myself and not with my parents. Both my parents are senior citizens and my mom in particular has a bad habit of swinging into the left lane, and chances are I wouldn't have been as nice as I was if he threatened my parents.

Shame the guy was such an a-hole; he had a pretty sweet Mavic wheelset and his carbon bike was rather nice too....
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Old 06-15-14, 09:44 PM   #2
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If you're account is true then the guy was a total *******. Sorry to hear your tale of woe. Other than the wrong turn that incited the incident you seem to have behaved masterfully.
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Old 06-15-14, 09:59 PM   #3
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I know it's technically my word against his and that none of you have any reason to believe me, but I really am telling the truth. Of course the one time I don't have my GoPro attached to my bike this happens too... The reason I decided to post this wasn't for me to vent really; it was because periodically I see people complaining and getting angry about people on bike paths. I've had incidents happen too but this is the first time I've had someone who clearly should know better act this way though. In a way I was more insulted that a fellow cyclist would act that way than I was with the threat of being physically assaulted.

I used to be extremely high strung so when someone is behaving that way I know that there's usually an underlying element that's causing it (bad boss, trouble at home, money situation, etc). Don't get me wrong, I know that there's people who are genuinely out to pick fights and whatnot, but in my experience it's either a misunderstanding or something else causing the behavior. I tend to look past the behavior and focus on the situation at hand only as calmly with a person as I can. It usually works.
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Old 06-16-14, 04:00 AM   #4
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Shame the guy was such an a-hole; he had a pretty sweet Mavic wheelset and his carbon bike was rather nice too....
Huh?
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Old 06-16-14, 09:05 AM   #5
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Huh?
I would have loved to have talked shop with him. Ironically I have a similar wheelset on my road bike too (I was riding my mountain bike at the time though).
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Old 06-16-14, 09:48 AM   #6
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He really shouldn't be riding on a shared path if he reacts like that. It sounds like (unless you really moved a lot) he was going to pass you too close anyway. Some guys do that to "make a point". If it happens to me I always try to catch, pass and give them a cheery good morning.
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Old 06-16-14, 09:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for sharing this.
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Old 06-16-14, 12:54 PM   #8
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Why was he riding like that on a bike path in the first place? There are some fine riding roads in the East Bay. Even 114 isn't that bad. Guy sounds like a total poseur.
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Old 06-16-14, 01:03 PM   #9
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Despite the fact that a lot of trail users are clueless as to the meaning of "on your left" or "passing left", the other guy should have announced his presence. Passing at high speed in complete stealth mode will get you and/or others hurt (hopefully only that guy when he finally crashes ).
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Old 06-16-14, 02:05 PM   #10
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since I'm a Clyde I would have sat on him while I waited for the local police to arrest him for assault.
Would be interesting

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Despite the fact that a lot of trail users are clueless as to the meaning of "on your left" or "passing left"
In perhaps 95+% cases such "warnings" were nothing but a faint whispering to themselves while already passing me, and I came to realize what they were saying, and to whom (me), after seeing they have just passed me closely without a companion to whom they could have been talking to. What's wrong with using a bell?
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Old 06-16-14, 07:37 PM   #11
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Only a total asshat would choose to make a high-speed ride on that path, on a beautiful Father's Day, knowing that a lot of dads and kids would be riding. You want to do fast intervals, do them somewhere else.
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Old 06-16-14, 09:55 PM   #12
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Only a total asshat would choose to make a high-speed ride on that path, on a beautiful Father's Day, knowing that a lot of dads and kids would be riding. You want to do fast intervals, do them somewhere else.
Thank you! That's I guess that's essentially the point I was trying to get at in the end. To be honest I didn't see how fast he was approaching me so I can't say how reckless he was up until our chance meeting. I did see him ride off fairly fast though (I estimate between 15-20mph).
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Old 06-16-14, 11:03 PM   #13
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Why was he riding like that on a bike path in the first place? There are some fine riding roads in the East Bay. Even 114 isn't that bad. Guy sounds like a total poseur.
I wouldn't go so far to say that he was a poseur or inexperienced; he definitely knew enough to scold and berate me about my momentary excursion into the left lane. Thinking back at the whole thing, my gut is telling me that it maybe was someone having a really bad day (maybe because it was father's day and it was tied into that?) whatever was on his mind was eating away at him, and I happened to bump into him (figuratively) at the wrong time and he took out his frustrations on me.

If he had hit me it'd be a different story but words don't bug me. We all have a bad day every now and then and we're allowed a mulligan here and there too.
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Old 06-17-14, 06:24 AM   #14
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You should have called the police.
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Old 06-17-14, 10:21 AM   #15
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You have a lot of self control. I would have beaten him senseless with his own bike.
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Old 06-17-14, 01:37 PM   #16
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I wouldn't go so far to say that he was a poseur or inexperienced; he definitely knew enough to scold and berate me about my momentary excursion into the left lane. Thinking back at the whole thing, my gut is telling me that it maybe was someone having a really bad day (maybe because it was father's day and it was tied into that?) whatever was on his mind was eating away at him, and I happened to bump into him (figuratively) at the wrong time and he took out his frustrations on me.

If he had hit me it'd be a different story but words don't bug me. We all have a bad day every now and then and we're allowed a mulligan here and there too.
A poseur to me is a guy wearing a full pro kit, riding expensive carbon with a sweet Mavic wheelset, at 20 mph or more on a bike path. The only thing that would be even more telling is if he had aero bars and was riding on them.

I ride pretty seriously, but bike paths are for fun riding on days I want to take it easy, and be sociable. I save my training for the roads. I may open it up a bit when I get to a pretty deserted section of a trail, but I wouldn't expect to find many areas like that on Father's Day, on a 75 degree sunny day, on the EBBT.

And the EBBT has way too many cross streets for a serious training ride anyway.
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Old 06-18-14, 10:01 PM   #17
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You should have called the police.
It crossed my mind but since I didn't get his name and I didn't get him either on tape or on video threatening me, it'd have been hard to press charges. :/ RI happens to be a single party consent state too so I could have done it and not had to disclose that I was recording.
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Old 06-18-14, 10:11 PM   #18
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I wouldn't go so far to say that he was a poseur or inexperienced; he definitely knew enough to scold and berate me about my momentary excursion into the left lane. Thinking back at the whole thing, my gut is telling me that it maybe was someone having a really bad day (maybe because it was father's day and it was tied into that?) whatever was on his mind was eating away at him, and I happened to bump into him (figuratively) at the wrong time and he took out his frustrations on me.

If he had hit me it'd be a different story but words don't bug me. We all have a bad day every now and then and we're allowed a mulligan here and there too.

I'm thinking you scared the hell out of him. For a lot of people acting the fool after a scare is par for the course.

That said, they should weld a bell onto every set of handle bars or something. Bells are magical like that.
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Old 06-18-14, 10:27 PM   #19
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As you said earlier, "however that's life and " BTW you seem to have exceptional self control. Well done IMO
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Old 06-23-14, 08:06 PM   #20
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I've been trying to rationalize the whole "hammering on the bike path" mentality for years, and the one excuse I can make for people who do is that they just don't get to really "open up" on their fast, super lightweight bicycles often enough.

Imagine if you saved up and bought a Ferrari or some other fast race car and you lived hundreds of miles from an expressway. You'd probably end up flooring the pedal on a 40mph turnpike whenever you thought you could get away with it, just to see if it really could go that fast.

I'm not defending that kind of behavior on a bike path like the East Bay (which I've driven from New York to ride several times), but I don't know if it's fair to brand the guy as a certain type of "bicyclist." The same type of reckless curiosity creeps into things like *** ownership, where a young, hot-headed teenager feels the cold steel trigger of the piece he just bought illegally from his high school friend and just can't wait to experience what it feels like to pull that trigger. If he could take it legally to a firing range and get the curiosity out of his system, he might not have to shoot someone to scratch his itch.

Perhaps if we incorporated safer and more practical bike lanes into our roadways, those with road bikes and the desire for speed wouldn't have to startle the rest of us so often when we are cruising with our families on quiet bike paths.
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