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Day: March 12, 2006

workout log: 12 march 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Washington, DC > Forest Glen & Kensington, MD
Distance: 26.5 miles
Duration: 1:43
Weather: mostly cloudy, 69 degrees
Avg HR: 150 (max: 170)
Type: aerobic

Another great day to ride. I rode up the MD on Beach Drive, through Rock Creek Park. Again, I didn’t try to speed, doing more fat-burn than aerobic base building. I only went in workout mode to mile 22.5, after which I had to joust with inane joggers and cyclists on the multi-use trail – read my rant about that here.

rant: multi-use trail etiquette

Today I went on a beautiful bicyle ride, taking advantage of the nice spring weather (I guess it’s technically going to be “indian summer weather,” as temperatures will dip below freezing again later this coming week).

However, toward the end of the ride, I finished my route on the Rock Creek multi-use trail, a paved path that parallels Beach Drive and is used by walkers, joggers, inline skaters, cyclists and horseback riders (though you seldom see the horses on the paved trail). I quikly realized why I tend to take my chances on the main roadway with the cars, and would like to point out some things that every user of such trails should keep in mind.

  1. If you listen to an iPod, radio or similar device with headphones, keep the volume down at a level where you can hear your surroundings. At more than one point along the trail, I encountered walkers and joggers who had their iPods turned up so high, that even my yelling “on your left” at top volume didn’t get through. I was riding slowly (10 mph – below the speed limit for the trail), but they didn’t tune in until I passed them.
  2. Walk or ride in single file. This is a rule that I have issues with on my Potomac Pedalers rides, as well, but becomes much more dangerous on narrow trails like the Rock Creek multi-use trail. And I encountered it in a way today where I almost had a big crash: two cyclists oncoming (we made eye contact at over 200 yards away, on a straight section of the trail) kept yammering away, taking up the entire width of the trail (about 6 feet). I approached, maintaining eye contact, and they wouldn’t budge. I asked them (at volume, after the iPod incidents) to “please ride single file.” No response. I then used a hand signal, urging them to ride single file, and implored them again to ride single file. Their reaction: a terse “whatever.”

    At this point I was within 10 feet of them, with a closing speed of at least 20 mph. (my 10, plus their 10), so I bailed off the trail into loose, sandy soil, where my road bike tires knifed in. I kept control, skidded to a stop, looked back, and yelled “remember the rules, and fuck you, too.” They looked back and said again, “whatever.” It’s people like this who give all cyclists a bad name. I quickly brushed it off, got back on the trail, and kept going. A jogger said to me “you were damn lucky,” and that the two cyclists “are always that way, the jerks.” I laughed and said thank you to the jogger.

  3. If you ride or skate, wear a helmet! Today the National Park Service police were handing out citations to all non-helmeted cyclists, both adults and kids, and I applaud them for it. At one point, a young girl who was still getting used to riding without training wheels veered right into my path, and while I saw it coming and was able to avoid it, it was too close a call. The same thing happened yesterday, too, along MacArthur Boulevard in Potomac. In both cases, the kids were wearing helmets, but the adults weren’t. I’ve known many people who have been saved by their bike helmets, and know of quite a few riders who have suffered debilitating brain injuries after crashing without a helmet. So buck up, parents, and walk the walk as well as talking the talk. Any and all arguments against wearing a helmet are bunk (e.g. they’re too hot, uncomfortable, unfashionable, etc.) – just wear ’em!

I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy the ride – I really did, in fact. But a few bad apples, especially at the end of a ride, can leave a bad taste.

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