Sharing the trails with cyclist….Can’t we all just get along?

One of the things I love about the DMV area is all of the amazing trails there are for me to run on. I can be a mere 10 minutes away from the rush hour traffic but still feel totally secluded on the tree lined pathways, jogging around a lake or over the cutest little wooden bridges! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it’s always so cool to see other people out enjoying the trails and getting their daily exercise in too. I have a couple “old faithfuls” that I run on often and see a lot of the same people. All though I’ve never actually talked to them, I feel like we’re friends because we always smile and wave as we pass each other on the trail.


Now I have a confession…every once in a while I have an unpleasant encounter with a cyclist that I’m sharing the trail with that throws off my chi for a few minutes. I JUST had one yesterday while out running on the BWI trail. I was running behind a couple other people and after a few minutes following behind them I decided I wanted to pass them. (Running behind people I don’t know for too long makes me feel like a creepy stalker!) As I was passing them a cyclist turned onto the trail going pretty fast, and I found myself in a game of chicken with him. I tried to adjust my speed to quickly move over…in the meantime the cyclist made no effort to adjust his speed and instead yelled at me to, “Move off the trail!” I tried to apologize and somehow let him know that I was not some jerk who runs down the middle of the trail, I was simply passing. But by the time I turned my head to look back at him, he was “Tokyo Drifting” a corner, middle finger extended fully in the air. I muttered, “Ugh! I hate cyclist!!”


Then I had to take a step back and think about how irrational that statement was. First, HATE is a very strong word and there are very few things in my life that I actually hate. Second, I was making a generalization based on my experience with this ONE cyclist. Why would I dislike someone because they ride a bicycle? That is just silly! I was simply frustrated by the situation. I have had a couple similar situations but in general most of the cyclists that pass me on the trail are VERY friendly, and just trying to stay in shape just like I am. They just choose to do so in a different way. Sure they wear silly matchy matchy spandex outfits when they do it but….Wait! Did I just say that out loud! ๐Ÿ˜‰ In all seriousness, cyclist are pretty cool people too!

It does have me wondering though….is it just me, or is there a little bit of a turf war between cyclist and runners who share the trails? Here are few of my frustrations as a runner with SOME cyclist:

Why do I always have to be the one to move?

I always run as far off on the right side of the trail as possible, and don’t listen to music when I run so I’m pretty aware of my surroundings. ย However, there have been several times when I have had packs of cyclists come up behind me 5 people across and instead of trying to move to a single file…or make some type of adjustment, they’ll just take up the whole trail. I have been ran into the bushes before by cyclist who refuse to budge to make room for me on the trail. ย Once I had a cyclist clip my heel with his tire and make me fall flat on my face. (And nope, he didn’t apologize or stop to see if I was OK) ย I mean come on, since I’m usually running solo, I really don’t take up THAT much space on the trail!

Why do some cyclist get “trail rage”?

This was not the first time I’ve been flipped off by a cyclists. ย I’ve also been yelled at to “Get off the trail!” before and been cussed at too. ย I understand I am MUCH slower than a cyclist is, just like a walker is much slower than I am. ย But I don’t yell at walkers or demand that they get off the trail. ย A simple “On the left” works just fine.

Why do some cyclists disregard trail speed limits?

Not that I carry around a radar gun to officially clock cyclist’s speed, but I have seen some cyclists BLAZING down the trail at speeds that are not safe for other pedestrians who are sharing the trail. ย Talk about scary!



Seriously, don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike cyclist AT ALL! In fact, I do ride from time to time and hope to one day become a much better cyclists. ย I’m just curious, have any other runners had similar experiences/run ins with cyclists? And I’d like to hear the flip-side….for the hardcore cyclists out there, what do runners do that frustrates you? From both sides, do you think there is a bit of a “turf war” between runners and cyclists?

At the end of the day, runners and cyclists actually have a lot in common! And we absolutely can coexist and get along on the trails!




9 thoughts on “Sharing the trails with cyclist….Can’t we all just get along?

  1. Hey Kristine!! Hope you’re having a great week!! Happy Friday to ya and sorry about your unpleasant encounter!! Definitely doesn’t sound fun! BTW, LOVE the last picture. Such a sweet one! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Personally, the negative encounters I’ve had while running have been cars driving waaaay too fast and runners not waving/smiling back.
    Cyclist have always been very courteous to me. I’m usually the one that feels bad because I panic (when I see a cyclist coming). I usually end up confusing them by playing which way are you going to go game and have almost caused a few cyclist to wreck. I need to start picking a side and sticking to it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I definitely love the cyclist in my area and tend to feel bad for them, especially when I see cars disrespecting them (throwing stuff at them, etc.) and runners, like me confusing them. Oops! I guess running with a bad to the bone cyclist (a.k.a. my husband) and hearing his perspective about this whole thing has given me great insight. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a fab Friday!!! I hope you have THE BEST weekend!!! XOXO!!

    • Kristin, thank you for your comment! That is exactly what I was looking for, another perspective. It’s awesome that you’re able to get that from your husband! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree with you, MOST of the cyclist I encounter are extremely friendly and courteous. I’ve only had a handful of negative encounters. I’ve had WAY more issues with cars as well…driving too fast, not paying attention, honking, or being flat out rude. People (Runners and cyclist a like) are just trying to get their workouts in! Obviously the positive way out weighs any negatives, which is why I usually just brush the negatives off and continue to enjoy my running! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope you are having a great week and that you have a fabulous weekend as well! Good luck on your half! You’re going to do great!

      • Kristine, THANK YOU!! Ohh I’m a bit nervous but surprisingly not near as nervous as my last one!! I have my moments, but feel pretty relaxed. I figure whatever is meant to happen will. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Yeah, I totally agree with you about cars and definitely think that that cyclist should have treated you with respect!! Ugh, that’s terrible how he made you feel! Not cool! I just feel like some of the cyclists where I run are probably a bit scared of me because of the way I panic. Marc has literally pushed me over to one side before to save me from myself (getting hit). I definitely understand what you’re saying, though! Definitely! I wish you many stress-free runs, you deserve it!! XOXO!! Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. I’m with you! I don’t know why some of em can be such d-holes. There’s a few at the lake I run at who ALWAYS are yelling at runners. Cursing us out. Elbowing us as they pass. Etc. What’s the deal!?! The majority are nice, but for sure there’s a small group of cyclists who think they own the world.

    • Yes – the small group of “d-hole” cyclist out there can be major pains…the bright side is they are the minority. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around why they think they own the road. Luckily I usually just brush it off…I’ve never had it ruin a run. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I like to bike and run on the B&A trail (although I don’t do either particularly fast). I think the bicyclists (me included) need to be the most careful. We tend to be going fast and we are capable of really hurting someone if we hit them. I just read an article about 2 pedestrians dying in Central Park after getting hit by bikes. I would hate to hurt someone out walking/running the trail. I also think that some bikers ignore the speed limits. I always worn people I am coming up behind them with a “on your left” and try to follow it up with a “good morning” to be friendly.
    As a runner on the trail I stay far to the right as possible (because I don’t trust the cyclists with my safety). On the rare times I listen to my I-pod I leave one ear bud out.
    I get annoyed when either group goes more than 2 abreast. We have to share.
    If both groups just put safety first we could all get along a little better. No workout or joy ride is worth hurting someone else.

    • The b&a trail is one of my favorites for sure! And it can be scary when a cyclist comes flying by…especially if you are not paying attention and don’t hear the coming. I’m good with the “on the left” ,runners staying as far to the right and so possible, and no more than 2 across (that’s another pet peeve! Lol)….I’m almost positive all of that is standard trail etiquette! Now on the road, I get out of cyclists way, even if it means having to jump into bushes because the last thing I want to do is to force a cyclist into the road! I think it’s a good thing for everyone to be aware of each other, polite, and conscious of others safety. It’s the best thing for everyone out trying to enjoy some fresh air and get their workout on!

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