Our community is very biker and runner friendly. Tons of triathletes… maybe its a ‘birds of a feather’ thing directly inspired by Ironman that has rolled through town every year since 2003, maybe not. Either way, we’re fortunate to have some really great trails that get pretty significant use by all of those folks training (including yours truly), especially when the sun finally decides to shine.
Spend as much time as I do running and biking on these roads and trails and you’ll see a lot. Obviously, there are a lot of people out and about – many of whom have headphones in. Runners are weaving back and forth, trying to avoid the walkers who inevitably come with zigzagging dogs who are sometimes on those leashes that seemingly have no end (or zigzagging dogs who have no leash as all), and trying to avoid what often comes with dogs who have irresponsible owners (roadside poo). Long boarders and skate boarders are trying to avoid the runners and the walkers and the dogs. And bikers, trying to keep their pace and their cadence up and get through the traffic and into the clear just as fast as possible, are zooming through the traffic with their fingers crossed, “no whammies, no whammies, no whammies!” Eeek- Scary.
I’ve seen a few things over the past few weeks already that I thought I’d share here while they’re fresh in my mind (and I’ll add to this list as I think of things):
– Obviously, respect all users.
– If you have earbuds or headphones, keep one ear free so you can hear what’s going on around you.
– Give everyone their space. Overestimate how much space they need and how much space you need.
– If you want to, pass. But slow down, make sure you’re clear of oncoming traffic and pass safely – don’t be a ninja and especially don’t be a ninja on a bike. Let people know you’re coming – I prefer a simple “passing please” as I approach folks I need to pass. (I find this is easier than “On your left” because for some funny reason this phrase seems to confuse people. People freak out and forget which way to move and end up moving directly into your path. I imagine if I could see their face as they hear “On your left”, they’d resemble a deer in the head lights, eyes as wide as saucers. What is this nonsense?) If you’re somewhere super congested, avoid the congested areas or buy a bell.
– If you have a dog (and for the record I do – we have 2 actually), keep him or her on a leash close to your side and know what his or her reaction to runners and strangers biking will be before you go out. And please, please pick up after your dog. Nobody likes those warm squishy stinky surprises left on the side of the road, not even other dog owners. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us dog owners and trail users. Please and thank you!
Anyhoo… off my soapbox for now…
PS- watch out for mountain goats.