Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bike trail etiquette...

There's a way to do these things.

When a bike is approaching you from behind, the rider is supposed to shout "On your left" or something about "left" short of "I loved the Left Behind Series" if he's passing on the left. Same goes for the right, except they should use the word "right". But yesterday, when a few bicyclists were passing me, all I got was, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!" All of them shouted simultaneously and literally weaved around like they were drunk once they were past. When my turn came to do things the right way, I shouted to a rider in front of me, "On your left"... and he moved to his left... oy.

It's probably not proper etiquette to stare at female joggers as you ride by, something I still have to learn.

One thing I love about biking is the level of friendliness riders have, which is all over the map. Some riders wave and say, "Good morning!" I'm too busy thinking, "Don't have a heart attack. Don't have a stroke." to reply. I usually give a single head nod, which is probably indiscernable since my weary head is already bobbing-a'plenty and might explain why some people give me an odd look and ride by. Others avoid you, caught in their fear of being alone on a river trail rumored to house muggers, murderers, rapists, and Episcopalians. Lighten up, folks.

Recently, I started riding before work. I'm up to about 16 miles each morning or so but, to do that, I have to leave at 5:am. It's still dark at that time of the morning and it remains dark until I hit the farthest point of my ride, where I head back home. Then, the diffused sunlight, itself appearing too weary to be up - who in their right mind would be? - slowly begins to bring relief to the east. I stop. I step off the bike. I think about my life, count my blessings, and try to set a positive attitude for the day. Up until then, the only signs of humanity are individual headlights coming towards me on the trail in the darkness. After, there are bikes a'plenty, bunny rabbits, egrets, a few cute jogger chicks, a congregation of life using the river and I am just one. My iPod keeps my legs pumping. I count streets until my exit. And I nod at those I pass.

Once in a while, I catch sight of someone less fortunate than myself, a guy who sleeps on a bench in one of the picnic areas or another with a bike so loaded up you think it won't work but it does. It reminds me that there's more to this life than riding alongside a scampering rabbit or waving at the jogger chicks doing their stretches and that I am enjoying a priviledge. Keeping that in mind is my bike trail etiquette.

1 comment:

Jenn from WA said...

On bike etiquette...can you ask your fellow bikers to holler "on your left" BEFORE they're actually ON YOUR LEFT? I've noticed walking on trails that are walker/biker friendly that all too often a stupid biker doesn't say anything until the last minute...dorks!