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Road rage on the MUPs

Old 06-22-16, 06:00 PM
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Road rage on the MUPs

I was on a trail I had ridden many times. The trail I was on merges with another trail. They run along side each other with my trail about 8 inches lower than the other for about 30 yards (meters) before my trail narrows and ramps up to merge with the other trail. When I got to where they start to run along side each other I looked back up the other trail to see if anyone was coming. There was no one back to the corner about 50 yards back, so I focused my attention on the people in front of me. I figured anyone coming fast from behind me on the other trail should be able to see that I had no place else to go but merge onto their trail and they would have time to deal.


About 50 yards after the merge I heard a rider announce he was passing me. When he was by me he looked back with murder in his eyes that made me flinch. He then slowed down obviously to force me to pass him back and I knew I was in trouble. I eased up next to him to let him have his say and he yelled at me that I merged right in front of him. I apologized, said I looked back when the trails became parallel and didn't see anyone, apologized again and finished passing him. He then passed me back, yelling at me more as he went by and I apologized again.


He continued to yo-yo me. Passing me, then slowing way down to force me to pass him back and yelling at me each time. He was extremely dramatic about it, saying things like I almost killed him, he almost was paralyzed for life, I almost wrecked his bike, I would have just left him to bleed to death in the wreckage of his bike... The first few times I apologized. Then I tried to ignore him. A few times I yelled back things like "I already apologized several times. What more do you want from me?" "You should have seen I was going to merge. It wasn't entirely my fault." and finally "If someone merging onto a bike trail ahead of you is the worst thing that's ever happened to you, you must have had a dang good life so far!". After about 3 miles of this I latched onto the back of a group of very slow elderly riders. He started to yell at me some more as he passed me again, but the other riders looked at him and he shut up and continued on ahead. I stayed with the slow group for a good long while to let this guy get a long way ahead of me before speeding back up to my normal pace.


The next mile I didn't see any sign of my new buddy. I stopped at a red light and there were several other riders there. Just as the light turned green he pulled up along side and a little behind me. Across the road the trail splits with one going to the right and one going straight. Everyone else went right. I went straight with my BFF right along side me yelling in my ear. Saying I am a menace and shouldn't be riding a bike, I almost killed him... After a few more blocks of me ignoring him he turned around and rode off.
I've ridden 1000s of miles on these trail over the years. Cyclists, runners, walkers, dogs and even an occasional free range chicken popping onto the trail right in front of me happens all the time. Other than a reflexive "whoops" or "watch it" on a few close calls I've never thought about yelling at anyone for that, let alone hound them for 6 miles.


I'm thinking the MUPs might not be the best riding environment for this guy's temperament.
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Old 06-22-16, 06:18 PM
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You are a better man than me. No way I could have taken all of that. It would have been on...
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Old 06-22-16, 06:26 PM
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I think you showed remarkable restraint, and I may not have been able to show that much restraint.

Maybe my thread title would've been "Rumble on the MUP"
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Old 06-22-16, 06:29 PM
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That guy sounds familiar. I think he just got banned from SS/FG -- was he riding a single-speed?
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Old 06-22-16, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
That guy sounds familiar. I think he just got banned from SS/FG -- was he riding a single-speed?


He was riding what looked like a custom painted CF aero bike.
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Old 06-22-16, 06:41 PM
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Just to clarify - In my last paragraph where I state "I almost killed him" That is what he was telling me I did, not what I wanted to do.
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Old 06-22-16, 06:54 PM
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He was an idiot. Dont think anything more about him.
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Old 06-22-16, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by OmegaWolf
He was riding what looked like a custom painted CF aero bike.
In full kit riding like he was training for the tour?

srsly though, I always thought that I was mostly responsible for what happened in front of me on road or the MUP in the sense that I have eyes in the front of my head and can anticipate the moves of the other users.
Clearly this guy saw you and could see the paths were merging. He could have lightly tapped his brakes then gone around you with a friendly hand wave.
Given he didn't means he has issues.
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Old 06-22-16, 07:11 PM
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I look at it like motor vehicles. He's responsible for everything in front of him. If he can't stop in a pinch he's out of control. The way you describe it, it's not like you darted out of the woods like a deer at 90 deg., which actually does happen here. I'll allow him having been mildly annoyed to slow down, but any incident would have been be totally on him. By mildly annoyed I mean grin and bear it, or a simple 'hey that was close' and move on down the path. Anyone that rides on a MUP and expects not to come across dogs, straying children, slow riders, generally distracted pedestrians, and the aforementioned deer is delusional to start. And frankly, I don't have issue with anything in that list myself. The way MUPs are laid out here I perceive them more as shared public park spaces for relaxation, than roadways or Olympic training venues. If I want to go fast I take my chances in the street.
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Old 06-22-16, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by OmegaWolf
saying things like I almost killed him, he almost was paralyzed for life, I almost wrecked his bike,
I'd just tell him "Almost means didn't."
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Old 06-22-16, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyril
In full kit riding like he was training for the tour?
Its "Pro tour wannabe."

I was thinking the same thing.


-Tim-
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Old 06-22-16, 08:33 PM
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The guy has obvious issues. It sounds like you handled your new BF well. You should have invited him on your next ride.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:13 PM
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First, congrats on your restraint and allowing the situation to diffuse, albeit slowly. Second, this is a case where a helmet camera would have helped. Then you could say, there's no need to repeat yourself, I've got it all recorded right here. And perhaps knowing he's being recorded would stop him. On the other hand, it may just set him off further. When encountering people so beligerent and off the chart I often what their family life is like, if they even have one. Another option would be to offer to call the police to "report yourself" being sure to give them a full account of your multiple encounters. But, all in all, I feel you did the right thing, and admirable so.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:32 PM
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Remarkable restraint indeed. I don't think I would have handled it as well.

Stupidity should be painful.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:57 PM
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You cut him off dangerously, and it took him 50 yards to catch up. Either it wasn't all that close at all, or he seriously needs to do some training. In your shoes, I might have said something to that effect, though my general approach to idiots like that is to either apologize to make them go away, or just ignore them entirely
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Old 06-22-16, 10:10 PM
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Closest I've seen to that on the local MUP wasn't quite as bad. A couple of weeks ago a young lady on a road bike and ordinary kit (not geared up like a pro tour wannabe) was riding just ahead of me. I was actually holding back because, while she was riding slower than my preferred pace, around 12-15 mph at best, and I figured she'd soon speed up so I didn't bother to pass her (I'm 58, only 9 months back into cycling, and riding a heavy comfort hybrid, so I don't pass many folks).

While I was riding about 20-30 yards behind her -- far enough back to not be drafting, pacing or stalking -- I noticed she'd holler "ON YOUR LEFT" much louder than necessary. I figured she wanted to be heard over the usual music piped in via ear buds.

As she approached a couple walking side by side (along a wider paved section of the MUP where it's not really necessary to walk or jog single file), she hollered "ON YOUR LEFT" again very loudly, then hissed "B!TCH!" as she passed the couple. The young man walking hollered his own bit of cussing at the passing cyclist.

I was so puzzled I stopped to chat with the couple. They were actually quite friendly and both were also cyclists. They didn't understand why the young lady cyclist had cussed at them, because they'd moved as far right as possible. Perhaps the cyclist was miffed because they weren't single file. Whatever the issue, the cyclist was wrong, in my opinion.

Now, personally, I've pretty much given up on calling "On your left" since it causes more problems than it solves. Either people turn into me, or are startled. I felt sorry for the joggers, moms pushing strollers, older folks on canes, etc., jumping out of their skin when I'd call "On your left". Instead I'll flap the brake levers to make that distinctive clacking sound. Usually works. So now the only time I say "Passing on your left" is after I've slowed to a walking pace, and am close enough to speak in a normal tone of voice. If the pedestrians don't acknowledge me or move over, I simply pedal slowly until I can pass them safely. If I can pass safely on the grass or move over to the adjacent gravel path, I'll do that. If they do move over a bit I'll thank them and pass slowly until I'm clear before speeding up.

MUPs have always evolved to accommodate the slowest pedestrians, cyclists and folks with kids and dogs, older or disabled folks on canes, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. Always been that way, always will be. No amount of rules, unwritten policies or vocal outbursts will change the way MUPs evolve as they become more popular in any area. It's just the nature of the beast.

Cyclists are responsible for doing everything possible to avoid colliding with slower, more vulnerable folks on foot. Faster cyclists are responsible for doing everything possible to avoid colliding with slower cyclists.

Frankly, wannabe roadies don't belong on MUPs. Get out on the road and ride in real tour-like conditions, with at least a little traffic, pavement in mixed condition, and all the challenges and hazards that go with road racing. That's what I did when I was younger and participated in local crits, TTs, and faster long distance group rides. MUPs were for joggers, walkers, skaters and families.

If wannabe roadies prefer a safe, sequestered, smooth, flat path all to themselves and their pace line buddies, free of motor vehicles and pedestrians, they need to petition the local government or private organizations to build such a route, and figure out a way to fund it. (ProTip: This will never happen. Find a local large abandoned industrial park or other commercial property that's already paved, get permission to use it, waive liability for property owners, and set up your own crits and TTs. Or get permission to reserve public recreational properties for your club for weekends. That's what the cycling clubs I participated with in the 1970s did in the Wash DC area and SoCal.)

Last edited by canklecat; 06-22-16 at 10:14 PM. Reason: Clarify
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Old 06-22-16, 10:16 PM
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The guys a loser... We all take calculated risks when riding. I do a lot more MTB than road riding. This guy would have a heart attack with all close calls I have seen on single track. Yet no one every got mad at each other. Its a risk you take when you step out side.
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Old 06-22-16, 10:24 PM
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He was probably trying to beat a Strava KOM time by 2 seconds, and your simply being on the trail cost him the title.

I wouldn't have played his game of hopscotch.

I can usually lay down a bit of heat, at least for short distances. If I really wanted out of the situation, I'd try to get far enough ahead to take a corner out of sight, and let him try to catch someone who isn't there.

Or, when he is leading, let him take a corner, then quickly turn around and go the other direction for a couple of miles before resuming my ride in peace.
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Old 06-23-16, 05:22 AM
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You Missed an Opportunity...

Originally Posted by OmegaWolf
I was on a trail I had ridden many times. The trail I was on merges with another trail. They run along side each other with my trail about 8 inches lower than the other for about 30 yards (meters) before my trail narrows and ramps up to merge with the other trail. When I got to where they start to run along side each other I looked back up the other trail to see if anyone was coming. There was no one back to the corner about 50 yards back, so I focused my attention on the people in front of me. I figured anyone coming fast from behind me on the other trail should be able to see that I had no place else to go but merge onto their trail and they would have time to deal.


About 50 yards after the merge I heard a rider announce he was passing me. When he was by me he looked back with murder in his eyes that made me flinch. He then slowed down obviously to force me to pass him back and I knew I was in trouble. I eased up next to him to let him have his say and he yelled at me that I merged right in front of him. I apologized, said I looked back when the trails became parallel and didn't see anyone, apologized again and finished passing him. He then passed me back, yelling at me more as he went by and I apologized again.


He continued to yo-yo me. Passing me, then slowing way down to force me to pass him back and yelling at me each time. He was extremely dramatic about it, saying things like I almost killed him, he almost was paralyzed for life, I almost wrecked his bike, I would have just left him to bleed to death in the wreckage of his bike... The first few times I apologized. Then I tried to ignore him. A few times I yelled back things like "I already apologized several times. What more do you want from me?" "You should have seen I was going to merge. It wasn't entirely my fault." and finally "If someone merging onto a bike trail ahead of you is the worst thing that's ever happened to you, you must have had a dang good life so far!". After about 3 miles of this I latched onto the back of a group of very slow elderly riders. He started to yell at me some more as he passed me again, but the other riders looked at him and he shut up and continued on ahead. I stayed with the slow group for a good long while to let this guy get a long way ahead of me before speeding back up to my normal pace.


The next mile I didn't see any sign of my new buddy. I stopped at a red light and there were several other riders there. Just as the light turned green he pulled up along side and a little behind me. Across the road the trail splits with one going to the right and one going straight. Everyone else went right. I went straight with my BFF right along side me yelling in my ear. Saying I am a menace and shouldn't be riding a bike, I almost killed him... After a few more blocks of me ignoring him he turned around and rode off.
I've ridden 1000s of miles on these trail over the years. Cyclists, runners, walkers, dogs and even an occasional free range chicken popping onto the trail right in front of me happens all the time. Other than a reflexive "whoops" or "watch it" on a few close calls I've never thought about yelling at anyone for that, let alone hound them for 6 miles.


I'm thinking the MUPs might not be the best riding environment for this guy's temperament.


...to invite him to join Bike Forums. He'd have fit in well here.
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Old 06-23-16, 06:17 AM
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I've noticed that "people with issues" tend to go 'overboard' on any pastime they take up; if they do cycling, they either go full-kit on the MUT, or else they go fixie-bro-goon style. It's basically a version of cosplay for venting their frustrations of life. You can usually spot these borderline sociopaths from a mile away (although in this case, the angle of approach seems to have been working against you). Carry pepper spray; it can be VERY useful in situations like this....
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Old 06-23-16, 06:56 AM
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He would have been off in the bushes after the first time. Asshats on the trail are intolerable.
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Old 06-23-16, 07:38 AM
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You will not have that issue in the middle of the winter, keep riding .

the others will do something else when the weather is cold and rainy.
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Old 06-23-16, 07:42 AM
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Kudos to OP @OmegaWolf for your restraint. I'd have lost my temper.

My motto is "don't engage the crazies" but sometimes you can't avoid them. I had an incident with a confrontational pedestrian a couple of years ago, who tricked me with a polite "excuse me Sir" - I thought he needed help with something so I stopped. Since then I sometimes carry pepper spray, velcro under the top tube. Never been tempted to use it, but I've practiced with it and it's nice to know it can probably gain enough time to get away when someone seems intent on assault like that.

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Old 06-23-16, 08:17 AM
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I played the yo-yo game with a dad and a daughter on the MUP a few weeks back. Annoying as F*. Blow by, no warning, they hit a wall almost immediately in front of me and stop pedaling, forcing me to go around them. Do it again a few hundred yards down the trail. Do it a third time, this time on a narrow connector to another trail with the girl barreling halfway through a bush to get around me (and lucky that I heard her arm in the bush on my left, as I was starting to swerve left to avoid a patch of gravel on the path), and me letting out a few choice words on passing etiquette. Thankfully our paths diverged at that point.

Hot heads are everywhere. Many of the same people that complain the loudest about cars not giving them berth are the same ones expecting everyone look behind them to open them clear path on the MUP. I don't understand it, it really isn't that hard to not act like an a-hole and pick your way through traffic with little loss in time. Then again, I'm not pounding out KOMs, either.

That said, bells or "on your left!"?

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Old 06-23-16, 08:24 AM
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Generally I find the cyclists, runners and walkers on the MUPs to be courteous and well humored. However, you can run into jerks anywhere. My biggest problems on MUPs are: cyclists who pass others too closely at high speed with no bells or words of warning; groups of walkers, cyclists and runners who block the entire trail with total disregard for people trying to pass from either direction; runners and walkers who decide to make a 180-degree turn in the trail without looking back or signaling.

The most comical incident was a roller-blader that I encountered on one of the local greenways. He was moving along fairly quickly but I was traveling at a higher average speed and wanted to pass him. He was wearing headphones and apparently oblivious to the fact that others might need to pass, while zig-zagging back and fort across the entire width of the trail. I rang my bell and he didn't respond, so I called out "on your left" several times. He still didn't respond, so I waited until he had zigged to the right and quickly passed him, while pointing to my ears in reference to his headphones. The guy then got very angry and swore at me yelling, "You're not my mother!" That was so ridiculous that it made me laugh.
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