I have two options if I want to ride my bike to work -- go straight up a hill through the cemetery or head down the Springwater trail and go through downtown. Seeing as my muscles just don't wake up as quickly as they once did, I usually take the longer route through downtown so my legs don't explode when I get to the hill.
It's a nice ride down the trail in the morning -- some joggers, a few bikes in the other direction and an occasional bike to pass in the same direction. I can look at the wetlands, maybe see the eagles circling, and basically just ride.
Not so when I take the same route on a Saturday morning.
Let's start with the marathon trainers. Apparently the way to train for a marathon is to join a group... a BIG group. I'm talking 20-30 people running in an amoebic mass, chatting with each other, and not really aware that there might be 230 lbs. of man and steel hurtling towards them. Only thing worse than one of these blobs is two blobs going in both directions -- it's like sheep blocking an Irish road, only without the charm.
Then we've got the weekend warrior riders who fall into two categories of danger at the same time -- too fast and too slow. I'm not in any kind of decent riding shape, but I know what my pace is, and while I hate someone being ahead of me who I can't quite catch, if I pass them, they stay passed. But there are these pseudo-hotshots on the trail who push past me, and then slow down. I have to wonder if these are the same guys who do that to me in their cars...
Of course the other too slow category isn't people who just ride slower than me, it's people who meander all over the trail. It's bad enough when I come up behind them and ring my bell a dozen times but then I have to yell "On your left! Um... your right... Never mind, right between the two of you..." But the people coming in the other direction, riding side by side, sort of, and looking everywhere but the direction they're going are just asking for a head-on collision.
I have to say for the record that don't mind the families with the tykes on bykes that much. Sure, it's annoying for me to have slow down, but it's nice to see a family out doing something together. I don't like seeing Dad without a helmet, but I always slow down, ring my bell, pass carefully and say "excuse me" as I go by.
It's not their fault I'm riding like a maniac on a Saturday...
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John Bissell: Re: Riding the commute route on Saturday
I rarely will ride the trail on weekends. You've named the reasons. It's often safer to play in traffic.