Thursday, June 23, 2011

Assholes and the right of way

I'm the first to admit, I sometimes run like I own the road.  This is a horrible habit based largely on the fact that for the most part, I run in lonely areas where I'm not likely to be messed with, or on trails where running, walking, or biking is the only option.  One such trail is the Monterey Coastal, which is so gorgeous I don't mind running the same route repeatedly, waving at the harbor seals and weaving in and out of the tourists walking to Fisherman's Wharf.  It's kind of quirky, with certain areas where walkers and bikers are meant to share the same downsized roadway and other segments where the pavement is bikers only with runners asked to basically ride the shoulder.

In principle, I don't have an issue with this.  It kind of makes sense despite not always being practical.  The one thing I do have an issue with however is some bicyclists taking this ad absurdum and treating this very busy, tourist-laden trail as some kind of bicycle autobahn.  Some of these idiots blaze through Cannery Row like they own the place, weaving through kids heading to the aquarium like they were trying to set a land speed record.  I say all this as a former biker myself; I know all too well how little thought many cars or pedestrians give to bicyclists and I remember riding defensively, resigned to this truth.

Today though, I was reminded that some of these clowns feel it necessary to take it upon themselves to educate those of us they deem stupid, ignorant or both.

As I made the turnaround at the 5 mile mark of my run, I made the mistake of drifting to the right of the bike path.  The "walking shoulder" was really busy today with tourists pushing strollers, small children and all kinds of commotion.  I sort of absent mindedly decided to stay on the bike path for the two miles back to Cannery Row as opposed to weaving in and out of little kids.  This decision apparently did not sit well with the 40-something fat-ass that rode past me, paused briefly at my speed, and literally screamed "BIIIIIIKE!!!" (or something, I really don't know) about two inches from my ear, no exaggeration.  To be honest, the guy was lucky he didn't initiate some kind of combat related stress reaction and get the business end of a right cross; the guy seriously made my hair stand on end he screamed so loud.  Let me be clear, I guess the guy was right in principle.  But christ, is that really the way to achieve your educational goals?  I mean, had the guy slowed up next to me and had a conversation with me, I might have felt a bit sheepish and stupid.  As it was, I felt defensive and defiant.  To say nothing of wanting to hunt that bastard down and throw the nearest, non-soft thing I could find at him.

By Marcus with 4 comments


I feel your pain. Was thinking the same thing a few days ago when i was out on the trail. You're a better man than me, as i might have tried to run him down and put a stick in his wheel!

Actually, it sounds like you're a self-entitled dick... who has some belief that because he's running on a bike path and some "fat" guy on a bike is riding - that he's still in the moral right.

@Anon, mm, I don't believe so. As I said, I wasn't right in principle. I fully admit that. My issue was with how the guy handled himself; the only thing that might have required the type of aggression he displayed was me backhanding an old lady.

I have similar issues going both ways. Some days I'm the runner getting buzzed by bikes who think they own the trail, while on other days I'm the biker getting irritated by all the slow runners in my way. And I too catch myself periodically zoning out and running a little more to the left onthe trail than I probably should. So I can see the biker's point and yours. It's just one of those situations that will happen when different groups interact. Not really any thing to get bent out of shape over (for either you or the biker), but definitely a good discussion to make us all aware of the need to be alert and courteous when sharing trails. I finally put a happy little bell on my bike ($9 at REI) to prevent any irritation in my voice from my tainting my interaction with the runners. Now if the runners would just take off their iPods so they could hear it. :)

And remember, I you're getting angry during your ride/run, then you are not doing it right.

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