Signs Of Spring

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.


3 thoughts on “Signs Of Spring

  1. There is a school of thought which holds that dog walkers with extensible leads on roads or path should be taken away and locked up. It is a school of thought to which I subscribe. Shared use paths are difficult. Your view of pedestrians is as nothing compared to pedestrians’ views of cyclists. Cyclists can no more expect to whizz along shared paths at full speed than joggers can expect to run along crowded pavements flat out. You rather sneered at a reference to Holland that I made before but the fact is that traffic arrangements there are made by people who cycle as well as drive and the results reflect this.

    • My apologies for sneering. It’s in my nature and although I work hard to suppress it, occasionally it works its way to the surface! It is my oservation that most pedestrians view cyclists in the same manner that cyclists view cars: fast moving and largely uncaring vehicles that can cause them great injury. I try hard to not be that sort of cyclist, which only adds to my frustration when the foot-bound travelers do not have even a modicum of concern for others.

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