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Outdoor Trails Tell us about your favorite outdoor skating trails.

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Old June 28th, 2011, 05:18 AM   #1
bjvircks
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Default Trail Etiquette ??

Has anyone got a good list of trail etiquette that I might post at our trailhead?

While I realize that our trail is for the enjoyment of all users... I feel some folks either don't understand the problems they cause or they just don't care that they are being pains in the kiester and sometimes downright dangerous.

Tonight I almost bashed into a foursome of runners who apparently didn't feel like allowing me to have 1/2 of the trail. They came at me 4 abreast across the whole trail, which is all the trail can accomodate. As I approached them at about 16 mph they kind of skootched over just a bit which would have given me about 1/3 of my half and would mean I would have to stop pushing completely and become as small as possible in order to stay on the paved trail surface. So I held to the center of my lane, reduced the size of my push and went right at the guy in front of me. He yelped a bit as he dodged out of my way, but that was all I heard from them.

I know that I was confrontational in what I did and that in general this isn't good public relations for our sport. However, I feel that there are times under certain conditions when folks DO need to be confronted.


SO... any good lists of Do's and Don'ts?
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Old July 7th, 2011, 05:09 AM   #2
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OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN!

Tonight I was out in a group of 5 skaters. We were in a pace line when a group of bikers called out 'passing on left'. There was a biker ahead of us dismounted with his bike parked in our lane and there was also some oncoming traffic. We let the overtaking riders know that passing right then wasn't a good idea... and they held off! Good cooperation.

HOWEVER, a second small group from their bunch passed a little later without any announcement or warning of any sort... and they stayed VERY close-up beside us. We almost stuck our wheels in their spokes as they came up on us! I told them that this wasn't very cool and one of them basically said 'kiss off'. Then as they cleared our front skater (I was one back from the leader) they cut back into the lane so sharply and close to our lead skater that she almost paniced and had to chop up her stride or put her skate into his back spokes. For a brief flash of a moment I was looking for a place to fall. This happened with two riders of the second group.

Anyway... at the next crossing they had stopped and we came up on them. I spotted the rider with the foul mouth, came up behind him and held his saddle as he tried to mount up. I let him know that his behavior was dangerous and not good sharing of the trail. He basically maintained that we skaters were in the wrong for being on the trail, skating the way we were.

At the next crossing he was waiting for me to arrive. His friends had continued on. As I approached I did some quick coaching to myself about keeping cool, staying positive, try to be a good ambasador for the sport despite my initital rough handling of the situation. We met, we talked, he said he was going to report me. I said 'GOOD, you do that. This will be a good discussion about trail rules.' I gave him my name and spelled it for him. I got his name too. He asked for me to apologise. I said that I admit to being brusk at the initial encounter but would not apologise for it. After trying to talk about our skating style (he's evidently only seen recreational skaters slowly crawling along) he said he wasn't interested in reporting me anymore. I told him to go ahead anyway! Do It! This kind of trail use issue needs to come to light.

Here is some background and insight into the situation. RAGBRAI is close. Every year RAGBRAI happens, a big bicycle ride across Iowa drawing thousands and thousands of peddlers from all over the country. As the time of the ride draws near local riders flood the trail to shape up. For a lot of riders RAGBRAI is an Iowa wide beer run. Serious riders on our trail are usually courtious. We know them, they know us, we get along. The folks we usually have issues with seem to be the young gun 'party rider packs' looking for something to prove. The group we encountered today seem to be the latter. When RAGBRAI is over our trail gets back to normal.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #3
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I yell early and often "PASSING". Many people don't understand "on your left". Just yell passing.

I apologize to people for yelling at them, but explain I rather yell than crash.

I yell "passing" at every blind curve.

Parents should be aware that little ones are in harms way if a bike or skater collides. They are worst predictable than dogs.

The dogs and kids should be on the outside of the parent when on the trail. The parent will move themselves and the kid off to the right. Otherwise the kid may bolt into traffic.

Dogs should not be on a very long leash. It takes to long to real in.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 06:13 AM   #4
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we seem to have good results calling out "coming up on your left" when we overtake anyone/anything. The exception to this is some people who seem to have a need to turn around and look for us. They turn their head, then their shoulders, then their body TO THE LEFT and then they WALK TO THE LEFT into our path! Anyway... few and far between and usually easy to get by. But just interesting. Have the exact same problem, but more often, when skiing and snowboarding.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #5
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besides all the normal stuff about warning early, etc., i only want to add that you might as well adapt to what fate will throw you. You know that the trails are unusually crowded now for the upcoming event, and it will soon be over.
So do this: Schedule your trail visits so as to maximize your chances of getting the best skate experience in that you can. If you want to do unbridled speed, go at a time of the day when it's least crowded, and in addition, when you find that it is not, just schedule in a workout that emphasizes something that is do-able under the conditions, like long-steady-distance, or drills, or confine your workout to sprints on some isolated section of the trail with good visibility. Also, maybe now would be a good time to get some other training under your belt, and hit the trails hard once the trail-hogs are gone.
Maybe you need to build some diversity into your training anyways, and this temporary trail congestion is just the catalyst you need.
Another little trick is to find a cyclist that is going at a pace you feel comfortable at, and tag along behind him about 10 feet back, just far enough back that you are almost in his draft, but won't make him uncomfortable. Let him do the trail clearing for you, and you will soon discover that people get out of the way for an oncoming bike in a way they won't for a skater. But you need to be careful when and if the cyclist goes around someone at the same time their is an approaching group, or if the cyclist needs to stop, you have to be able to stop without colliding....
I need to schedule my workouts along these kind of considerations almost all the time. So go with the flow, my friend. After doing this for many years, i can tell you that fighting it takes just too much emotional energy, and it's a tough road to go down time after time.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 01:37 PM   #6
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If you want to hammer on a bike trail, a cooperative cyclist is the best. I'm talking a trusted friend that is qualified to brake for you. I've got a few that I skate with and in a jam, I know I can say, "brake me" and they'll know that I'm going to put my hand on their butt for them to slow both of us. It's not a bad idea to practice it if you're going to rely on it. With any exchange of energy, it's a good idea to use your arm as a shock absorber, rather than just slamming into the person ahead of you. Remember: you knock them down, you're going down.
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