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! 🙂 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! 😉 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. 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. 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) 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. I’ve also been yelled at to “Get off the trail!” before and been cussed at too. I understand I am MUCH slower than a cyclist is, just like a walker is much slower than I am. But I don’t yell at walkers or demand that they get off the trail. 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. 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. 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!