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How about enjoying the MUP

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How about enjoying the MUP

Old 06-14-20, 04:09 AM
  #26  
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An MUP path is barely one step above a wide open mega-store parking lot (pick a brand, Wally, Home Depot, Lowes etc) when it comes to people's behavior & predictability. Drivers who generally follow the rules of the road and don't perform risky maneuvers will suddenly drive their car like it was a jet ski on a lake as if no one else exists. Bike paths/MUPs are a lot like that. That said, I believe having a place for fledgling cyclists is a great idea but lumping in runners, walkers, pets and even horses into the same 12'-14' corridor is nothing but a a recipe for disaster. Personally, I avoid them because I don't want to slow down to a walking pace so I can tap a walker/runner on the shoulder who has earphones in or deal with 3-4 walkers walking side by side blocking the entire path talking and are completely oblivious to the fact that someone else is on the planet. As mentioned, pets on long completely extended leashes are another hazard. About the only way I'll use the MUP is when weather conditions (rain, cold etc) keep 99.9% of people off them; even then, I make sure it's a week day.

The only real knock I have with MUPs is when a path exists within a linear mile of where I'm riding on the road, car drivers feel the obligation to scream out the window that I should be on the bike path. In the end, I guess my beef is with stupid people and not MUPs.

That's all I got.
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Old 06-14-20, 07:34 AM
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The fact is MUPs are fantastic, as long as you dont look at them as your PERSONAL race track.
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Old 06-14-20, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Rider_1
I'm not sure if I was clear but when I said "wrong direction", I meant into oncoming traffic, like a head on collision, not on the right side of the path (as opposed to the left). If that is what you meant by safer, no way is it safer. No safer then anyone else also doing the same. It's also against the bylaws where I've read them.
Correct. The rationale behind the laws actually requiring pedestrians to proceed against traffic on roadways doesn’t apply to paths.
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Old 06-14-20, 08:33 PM
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Absolutely! We have a great trail system around most of town with a spur out to the river trail system that spans the state. It sees a lot of use.

Locals use it for fun, fitness and so on. Some people I know live here because we have the trails. Lots of people travel here to ride the river trail.

I ride some bit of it more days than not for about 10 1/2 months a year until it gets covered in snow, ice and mud. Then I switch to roads only until the thaw, partly because it seems safer and partly to cut the trail surface some slack when it’s soft.

Sure there are some pedestrians and cyclists who make it more “interesting” at times than it needs to be, but most of us regulars look out for one another and wave and cut the newbies some slack.

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Old 06-15-20, 09:02 AM
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I ride the local MUPs once in a while. There is one in particular which connects towns, which from my door to the end and back is 52 miles, a nice ride. It stinks riding it until you get about 3 miles south of town. You have to attempt to get people to move aside who are walking (if the pace of a zombie is walking) 5 abreast. You have to skirt dogs, children (usually worse than navigating dogs) and people who cannot ride a straight line on a bicycle. After that it is great, maybe 5 riders per mile who are pretty curteous.
For the most part I am good with highways and streets. I may be slightly safer on the MUP, I certainly have much less stress on the road.
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Old 06-15-20, 10:05 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rydabent
The fact is MUPs are fantastic, as long as you dont look at them as your PERSONAL race track.

Depends on the MUP. I know some that aren't pleasant to ride at even the slowest speeds (really crowded walk paths that merely tolerate bikes), and others where I might as well be on my PERSONAL race track because I'll go many miles without seeing a single other person.

If you're smart about matching the MUP you chose with the type of riding you like to do, there really isn't anything better. If it's a bad fit, ride the road or go somewhere else.
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Old 06-15-20, 10:08 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Correct. The rationale behind the laws actually requiring pedestrians to proceed against traffic on roadways doesn’t apply to paths.

Guess you've never ridden a MUP in Rhode Island. Bikes and pedestrians opposite is the rule. Bikes take the lane to their right, pedestrians to their left.

The little I've done it, I found it works very well.
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Old 06-15-20, 12:54 PM
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As someone pretty familiar with the OP's town, when I think of the paved roads there, they are generally 4 lanes with 45-55mph speed limits, and shoulders have rumble strips and lots of debris. For a road cyclist, it's not a very welcoming environment. Coming from the Boston area where a lot of suburban roads are limited to 35mph, riding on the road here is (in my view) less daunting than riding on Nebraska roads. I can see why someone would want to ride for fitness on the MUPs in Lincoln. While it isn't far to go to gravel roads, not everyone is equipped for gravel riding, plus the gravel roads there are reeeeaallly rolling (as I experienced 12k ft of climbing over 150miles of Nebraska gravel) so not exactly great for steady workouts. My go to ride following my gravel event was a flat gravel MUP near my in-laws'

I guess a side effect of using cycling to exercise is that you get to a point where you have to go faster as a baseline because anything under the baseline barely registers as exercise. I do my workouts at home in the basement (90-120mins), but lately after I do I've taken my 9 y/o to local paths and do another 2hrs at 10mph, which for me is a total recovery ride and I could probably do all day. So I'd have to be in the 16-17mph range to have it actually start qualifying as "exercise" on a flat path. When the average path user is probably at 10mph and below, I can see how that may appear to be like "racing" but it's not. While there are behaviors I personally wouldn't do (passing in the middle between traffic) I think more fitness driven types and more casual folks can coexist without having this whole us vs them stuff that OP likes to perpetuate here
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Old 06-15-20, 01:21 PM
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Yeah, I need to go about 18 mph just to get to reasonable aerobic level on level ground and 20-21 mph if I’m up for intervals.

Our MUPs have in-town areas with more foot traffic and the areas farther out have less, so it works to regard the former as warmup and cool down and hit it harder in the remote parts.

Also, when there is a passing situation that requires me to slow way down, I just stand back up and accelerate briskly after I pass and that is some good strength work. Not a problem!

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Old 06-15-20, 01:30 PM
  #35  
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The shade can definitely be nice. Yesterday wasn't hot, but after an hour and half out on wide road shoulders and dealing with disrespect in sharrows on the way down from Northampton, MA getting on the Columbia Greenway section of the Farmington Canal Trail in Westfield felt wonderful almost even to the point of feeling cold.

Surprisingly light usage for what was really a perfect Sunday afternoon for cycling helped, too.

Returned early evening across different roads and then the virtual tree tunnel of the Manhan rail trail, encountering almost no one.

Have been thinking about doing a Century that way including the road gaps vs repeating part of the trail as I did last year. The key will be timing it so that I do the busy road portions early on the outbound, and the unshaded ones late enough on the return not to bake, but not so late that last portion on the forested rail trail is a visbility challenge. Maybe I can find some local roads for the last portion, if so I'd be able to do long rides later in the summer than in the past where my slow speed means I started to run into day length limitations.
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Old 06-15-20, 02:40 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by hubcyclist
As someone pretty familiar with the OP's town, when I think of the paved roads there, they are generally 4 lanes with 45-55mph speed limits, and shoulders have rumble strips and lots of debris. For a road cyclist, it's not a very welcoming environment. Coming from the Boston area where a lot of suburban roads are limited to 35mph, riding on the road here is (in my view) less daunting than riding on Nebraska roads. I can see why someone would want to ride for fitness on the MUPs in Lincoln. While it isn't far to go to gravel roads, not everyone is equipped for gravel riding, plus the gravel roads there are reeeeaallly rolling (as I experienced 12k ft of climbing over 150miles of Nebraska gravel) so not exactly great for steady workouts. My go to ride following my gravel event was a flat gravel MUP near my in-laws'

I guess a side effect of using cycling to exercise is that you get to a point where you have to go faster as a baseline because anything under the baseline barely registers as exercise. I do my workouts at home in the basement (90-120mins), but lately after I do I've taken my 9 y/o to local paths and do another 2hrs at 10mph, which for me is a total recovery ride and I could probably do all day. So I'd have to be in the 16-17mph range to have it actually start qualifying as "exercise" on a flat path. When the average path user is probably at 10mph and below, I can see how that may appear to be like "racing" but it's not. While there are behaviors I personally wouldn't do (passing in the middle between traffic) I think more fitness driven types and more casual folks can coexist without having this whole us vs them stuff that OP likes to perpetuate here
Mass. has all sorts of paths throughout the state where speeds in the mid-20s aren't a safety issue.

MUPs vary almost as much as roads. The us vs. them stuff often seems to stem from people thinking that their image of a MUP is the only kind that exists.
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Old 06-15-20, 02:43 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by UniChris
The shade can definitely be nice. Yesterday wasn't hot, but after an hour and half out on wide road shoulders and dealing with disrespect in sharrows on the way down from Northampton, MA getting on the Columbia Greenway section of the Farmington Canal Trail in Westfield felt wonderful almost even to the point of feeling cold.

Surprisingly light usage for what was really a perfect Sunday afternoon for cycling helped, too.

Returned early evening across different roads and then the virtual tree tunnel of the Manhan rail trail, encountering almost no one.

Have been thinking about doing a Century that way including the road gaps vs repeating part of the trail as I did last year. The key will be timing it so that I do the busy road portions early on the outbound, and the unshaded ones late enough on the return not to bake, but not so late that last portion on the forested rail trail is a visbility challenge. Maybe I can find some local roads for the last portion, if so I'd be able to do long rides later in the summer than in the past where my slow speed means I started to run into day length limitations.

The path from Amherst to Northampton is fantastic! I've been on it a few times, and I've never seen it crowded.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
The path from Amherst to Northampton is fantastic! I've been on it a few times, and I've never seen it crowded.
It is indeed quite nice, though perhaps the busiest I've ridden.

Generally it has a very aware and cooperative user community with an appreciation for the trail and a sense of how to properly use it very pervasive through the community. Though crossing the not all that wide bridge over the Connecticut River at sunset last night meant dealing with some people who were slow to remember that it's a corridor more than a spot for family picture taking. Returning a few minutes later found it empty.

I forget which of the three trails it was on, but had one issue where a pedestrian who thought he was in Rhode Island and not Massachusetts (ie, walking opposite cycle traffic rather than with it in accordance with local law) set up a conflicting chain reaction among several other trail users. Nobody was going very fast so it all worked out without actual incident but it does show what a problem doing your own thing with disregard for rules and norms can be. People deviating from their lane on the S curve descent approaching the tunnel under rt 9 can be a little hair-raising, too.

One of these days I need to go ride all the way to the end in Belchertown, have been exploring past the ends of the other trails but haven't actually reached the end of that longest of the three paths yet.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-15-20 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:12 PM
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The MUP that I ride follows the river, I always take it south through the open area, lot less people than through the city. This one runs beneath all the roads so I rarely use my brakes. Some of it is under repair but I used to do a 40 mile back and out ride.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:44 PM
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We used to have lots of roads like that around here - not so much any more! Darn it!
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Old 06-15-20, 04:36 PM
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Over half the roads in Vermont are unpaved, so they act like MUPs plus cars and farm machinery
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Old 06-15-20, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by GeneO
Get a light and do it at night
As Mick Jagger says in the closing seconds of the song "
":

"If you're riding your bike at night---wear white!"

Last edited by Trakhak; 06-15-20 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:15 PM
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I'm a newer rider and have been riding the MUP near me. My only real issue are the people (peds and bikers) who stop and block the path. This weekend, there were a couple of ladies standing on the narrow path, looking in the direction of oncoming traffic. As I rolled towards them, I expected them to move but no, they just stood there. Even as I got to within about 8 ft of them, they didn't move an inch. It was like they didn't know how paths work.

There were also several other groups of people/families stopped in the middle of the paths.
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Old 06-17-20, 04:59 AM
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The MUPs around my area aren't bad. They get a little congested on the weekends and especially if the weather is nice, but it's tolerable. Since I typically ride to commute, I'm not offended to slow down to navigate clusters of people or other riders. In fact, with my cargo bike, there's times where I'm the one taking up the most space so I've learned to look in my mirror frequently to watch for racers coming up behind me and slow down on blind corners. Little kids are usually my only problem if there is one. They're fascinated by my big bike and crazy bright mohawk on my helmet, and they'll stop which means mom/dad stop. Thankfully I've only had to bail in the grass once. I guess it was my fault for paying attention to the stopped family and didn't see the head down racer bombing down the trail...…..
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Old 06-17-20, 05:34 AM
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I love reading how delightful MUPs are. I don't subscribe to the theory, but obviously if nobody liked them they wouldn't exist.
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Old 06-17-20, 08:28 AM
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I love our local MUP, but just like just about anything else in life, timing is everything. I avoid the weekends, early mornings are the spandex peloton crowd, later is everybody else, and their cousins within a 5 mil radius. Weekdays between 8:30 and 11:30 are the best, afternoons are OK, forget the evenings. Neat thing about our MUP is in winter, it becomes a snowmobile trail. I can Supposedly only go 15mph in the spring, summer, and fall on my bike, but come winter I can go 75mph on a snowmobile, quite the rush.
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