We had lots of rain this week, coupled with a busier than normal personal life. This meant I was off the bike until Friday. On Friday, I left work early so I turned what was originally scheduled as “The Last Night Ride Until Fall” into “The First Daylight Ride After Work.” I only got in 16 miles (because my bathroom isn’t going to remodel itself), but I still had an opportunity to meet many folks who are coming outside after a long Winter.
Almost without exception, they were annoying.
The first encounter was with a couple walking their dog. The dog was on one of those leashes that can lengthen/shorten to the owner’s desire. The man had given the dog about ten feet of leash and didn’t seem concerned at my approach. Clearly, this was a well-trained animal that I need not be concerned with. Wrong. The dog lunged at me as I passed and the woman merely said, “Now, Buddy…” Great job.
I then met two ladies jogging in such a manner that they took up the entire path. It didn’t seem to occur to them that someone might wish to pass by. When I slowed to 4 mph and announced myself, they quickly moved over to let me pass. I thought maybe this little encounter would cause them to modify their behavior. Wrong. When I came upon these two on my way home, they were still hogging the entire path. Again I slowed, announced myself, and they quickly moved out of my way. I guess there is some solace in that…
Finally, I met another bloke walking his dog. This guy was stopped in a crosswalk, chatting idly with a friend in a car who was ALSO stopped in the crosswalk and almost completely blocking the mixed use pathway. Apparently, it’s ok to sit in a roadway during rush hour and block a crosswalk as long as you’re talking with a friend. Fortunately, there was about two feet of clearance between the edge of the road and the pathway, so I was able to negotiate the obstacle and continue my journey.
Cyclists often complain about sharing the road with cars. This is understandable because a car can kill a cyclist pretty quickly. Despite this, I find I have far more challenges with walkers/joggers than I do with motorists. My wife asks why I often ride on the road and not on pathways when they are available. My answer is simple: I don’t need the hassle.
And to the lady who was jogging alone, well to the side of the trail and not using headphones, I say thank you. You have given us all reason to hope.