KingMidget's Ramblings

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This Could Be Me…

Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupting, Fimmvörðuháls area, Iceland, 7th of April 2010

Or maybe this …

exploding headBecause, yeah, I’m about to go off.

About stupid people.

Who think they own the world.

And the rest of us should just get out of their way.

I’ve picked up running again.  And I’ve also decided to take up bicycling again.  So, three or four days a week, I go for a three or four mile run and once each weekend I head to the American River Bike Trail for a 25-30 mile bike ride.  Last weekend was the fifth weekend in a row I’ve managed the bike ride and my running has been where I want it to be at.  So, things are great.  Why am I about to explode?

The bike trail is a ribbon of asphalt that stretches 32 miles from downtown Sacramento to Folsom Lake.  There is a nice yellow line down the middle of it that separates the left side from the right side.  The paved trail is probably about 8 – 10 feet wide.  Almost the entire distance, there are also dirt shoulders on both sides.  The shoulders probably vary from 5 – 10 feet wide in most places.  The trail is used by walkers, joggers, and cyclists.  Most walkers and joggers use the dirt shoulder, but not all.

All the people using the trail go at different speeds.  It makes for a place that can be dangerous.  You know, when your cycling along and a jogger crosses the trail right in front of you without checking, that could be a problem.  When two joggers are jogging next to each other rather than single file and rather than using the dirt shoulder they are taking the entire right side of the paved trail and force an oncoming cyclist into the left side without regard for whether there is oncoming traffic, that could be a problem.  When the speedsters — the cyclists with the matching outfits and the expensive wheels — come whizzing past you, without warning, whether there is traffic or not, that could be a problem.

That last one is the one that bothers me the most.  I get it that they are fast and they are working out and they want to maintain their pace and their rhythm.  But there are some basic rules of etiquette — you let people know you’re coming up behind them.   “On your left.”  “Bike back.”  “Right behind you.”  “Hello.”  Something, anything — instead of just bursting past while oncoming traffic is dead ahead.  You don’t pass in heavy traffic.  A few times, these speedsters haven’t even bothered to move over into the left lane — even when there isn’t any oncoming traffic.  They just whiz by mere inches from me, without a word, without anything.  One of them even held his hand out as though he would keep me away from him by that mere gesture as he crowded me towards the shoulder without warning.

I just really don’t get this.  The fundamental lack of respect for others on the trail and the lack of recognition that they are putting us all at danger with what they are doing.

But tonight, during a run, I saw something that topped it all.  At times, after work, I stop at a park for a run before I head home.  It’s a well-shaded park with a dirt track that spans the outside edge of the park.  There are typically several dozen walkers and joggers using the dirt track every evening.  In all, one time around the park is a little over a mile.  I run three or four laps and I’m good for the evening.  Tonight, as I wound around the park for my final lap, I passed two women walking together in the other direction.  One of them was pushing a stroller. and both had dogs.  At least the dogs were on leashes.

The dirt track is about 8-10 feet wide.  I passed them a second time as I finished my run and then watched them while I leaned against my car and caught my breath.  The entire time they were walking together, they walked side by side, with their dogs stretched out on their leashes to both sides, essentially covering the entire width of the path and not one single time did they do anything to get out of the way of oncoming walkers or joggers or those that were coming up on them from behind.  It looked like they believed they were the only people on the trail, they were so oblivious.  Oh, and that stroller one of the women was pushing?  I thought it was for a baby.  No, it wasn’t.  It was for one of these little yappy monsters…

little yappy dogAt one point, two runners running side by side and running in the opposite direction I was, approached me.  They were basically taking up about 7 of the 8 feet of the path.  Neither one of them moved an inch to give me room to get by them as we passed each other.

I don’t get it.  Really, seriously don’t understand how people can be like this.  View the world as though they are king (or queen) and wherever they are, it’s everybody else’s responsibility to get out of their way.

So, yeah, this could be me some day real soon on a bike trail or running trail near you …



10 responses to “This Could Be Me…

  1. Amy Reese September 2, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Oh, I always try to follow the path rules and run on the left and usually go to the side dirt path if a biker comes toward me. I get why you’re mad. People should be more respectful! Well said!

    • kingmidget September 3, 2015 at 6:21 am

      Most runners and walkers follow the rules. Just every once in awhile, one of them does something that causes my jaw to drop. The biggest, most prevalent problem comes from the speedy bicyclists, who won’t slow down for anything.

  2. Pamela Beckford September 3, 2015 at 4:15 am

    It is just a reflection of our ‘me’ society

  3. sknicholls September 3, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Yeah, I get it. We have city problems that are similar, maybe even exclusive to Florida. I bike, and walk. When I bike, I’m on the side of the street in our nice, quiet, little neighborhood. The streets are narrow, but there are two lanes. Yet, people on your right side will crowd you off the road against the curb or a parked car, even when there is no traffic in the other lane and no oncoming cars. It’s like they simply resent bikers. And the sidewalks for walking. By ordinance, If you have extra cars in your driveway, you aren’t supposed to obscure the sidewalk, but they do. With their keep off the grass signs, they obscure the sidewalks, so you have to walk around them. Worse, are the Bougainvillea and shrub palms, with their thorns, that are planted so they hang far out over the sidewalk. Accidently push one back with your hand or brush it with your shoulder and ouch. And no street lights at night. And that’s my list. Petty as it may be.

    • kingmidget September 3, 2015 at 6:24 am

      Yes … there are those drivers who won’t move an inch to avoid bicyclists or walkers, too. Problem is that bicyclists can be their own worst enemy. When I drive through our downtown and midtown sections, far too many bicyclists think they rule the road and expect all drivers to stop for them.

  4. John Callaghan September 3, 2015 at 6:51 am

    If you have a stroller for your dog then you have way more money than brains.

  5. Carrie Rubin September 3, 2015 at 9:02 am

    I don’t blame you. I’d feel the same way. Not only is it frustrating, but as you point out, it’s dangerous. The Golden Rule is a simple concept. Why is it so difficult for people to follow it?

  6. Kevin Brennan September 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Totally with you. We run into this kind of thing all the time, but all we can do is look at each other and shake our heads. Oh, and sometimes mumble, “Nice one, f*%&kface.”

    I wish there were a way to administer electric shocks to offenders without getting into trouble…

  7. Trent Lewin September 5, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Yes, people are wankers… I don’t get this behavior either, it’s just totally puzzling. The outdoors is pretty big – can’t we share it???

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