Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pedestrians on Bike Paths

I was riding my bike down the Warner/Shepard bike path yesterday, leaving my home around 8PM figuring I could get a quick 12/15 miles in before dark to work off the great burger I just enjoyed at the Lowertown Bulldog.

As I was riding down the path and as always there are some pedestrians to watch out for, kind of a common thing along that path. Its never been terrible minus durning the RNC last year, tonight was no exception small slow down right as I got on the path and then home free.

It was a beautiful night for a ride, about the right temperature, about a 5/7 mile an hour wind that I was pushing with a little gusting here and there. I was pushing pretty hard keeping about a 18/19 mph average on the path which has never been an issue as there is for the most part two paths one for pedestrians and one for cyclists. These paths are clearly marked and you can always tell the people who have spent any amount of time on the path as they tend to stay on the correct path on the trail, unlike the Phalen path which is a free for all mess most of the time, a major reason I like this trail better than most.

As I was riding along the path I came upon a younger couple maybe early 20's walking along the path at a pace that could only be expressed as dragging their feet. They were walking on the wrong path when I came across them but got out of my way without issue and I kept on riding.

As I reached the end of the first leg of my ride I decided it would be nice to ride back with the wind on my back instead of getting off on the trail on the other side of the river, which at dusk can be a great deal darker than one is comfortable riding at higher speeds through and I would not have the wind to help me improve my speed. So I turned around and went straight back the way I came instead of turning and heading south across the bridge a little way back down the path.

As I was riding pushing even harder than when I was riding against the wind now keeping a 20+ mile per hour pace, I started coming up on the two people who were dragging themselves down the path again, both still walking in the bike path so I let out a good yell when I knew I was in ear shot and the couple turned back and took noticed of me. As I drew closer they both stepped off to the left hand of the path to let me by I briefly made eye contact with the female of the duo, then the unexpected happened. She raised her arms to her chest and she shoved her male counterpart directly in front of me.

I reacted as quickly as I could to the situation and made a quick course correction aiming to shoot the now growing gap between the couple. This could of been a workable situation but the woman who had already proven herself to be lacking in the ability to make a sound decisions made another poor decision. Feeling that I was now coming closer to her than made her comfortable she decide to step forward towards her stumbling male counterpart directly into my newly adjusted path of travel. Again I corrected my course as quickly as I could to attempt to go around the outside of her.

In the short amount of time that passed from her shoving what can only be described as a 250lb plus giant of a man into my path I managed to miss him, and I managed to miss this devil of a women in a bright red oversized hoodie with some silly lanyard slung around the back of her neck. Leaving only one option to clip the big rock I couldn't see in the grass. This caused me to lose control of my bike and wipe out. Luckily in all of this I had managed to grab onto both of my brake leavers removing some of the excess speed that I had been traveling but still didn't save me from taking a quick spill to the ground scuffing my bike on the pavement and rubbing a little grass and dirt onto my my clothes and myself.

I quickly picked myself off the ground and removed one of my ear buds from my ear to try and gather a bearing on the situation to discovered that the couple who all evening couldn't walk faster than a tortoise had suddenly discovered the ability to turn around and run while holding a middle finger in the air facing back at me and yelling obscenities.

The surprises I found after picking up my bike were the need for new bar tape, my pedal being scuffed up, my rear wheel being out of true, a big hole in the tire its self and of course a flat tube to go with it.

After getting myself sorted out, wiping the dirt off of my bike and myself I started walking down the path to the now almost completely set sun. I myself managed to come away without much of an issue myself, little bit of a sore knee and a bit of a pinch in my hip, yes I am getting old. I proceeded to walk the 4/5 miles the rest of the way home, this time my bike riding me. Made it home and after a couple Advil and pulling my bike apart I decided it would be a good time to go to sleep. No worse for the wear, knowing I now have another excuse to spend more money on my already expensive bike addiction.