The remarkable upside of the Covid pandemic has been the number of us who have taken up cycling. More riders are turning to their bike for an escape from today’s unreal reality to gain much deserved happiness. Some are seasoned riders who are now going the extra mile, riding the higher mountain, and partnering up (at a comfortable 6 feet distance) with new and old friends & family. Some are newbies to the sport – excited to shred the trails, cruise the neighborhoods or test the roads.
The influx of the number of riders, walkers, hikers, equestrians, and drivers can lead to some challenges as we all navigate our terrain. Here’s some thoughts on maintaining good vibes.
On the mountain trails.
We share most trails with people who aren’t on bikes (odd concept, but diversity is healthy!). We are aware of the triangle: bikers yield to hikers and to horses. Yet there’s a bit more to this concept. Slow down, control your speed and announce your presence. When riding in a group, the lead cyclist can call out an alert to riding companions announcing the presence of others on the trail.
The rider going uphill has the right of way. Stop, then pull off to the side of trail (be careful where you step!) to allow the on-coming rider room to climb. Understand the approaching rider may be learning to skillfully steer their bike as part of this new adventure. Give them a thumbs up and plenty of time to pass.
Horses are a lot bigger than we are. And they can be skittish. See the above recommendation – and give them twice as much room. Ask the equestrian the best way to pass. Then offer thanks and a friendly wave.
We all take a stopping break now and then to grab a bite, enjoy the scenery, or repair a flat. Shift off to the side of the trail when you have stopped. Blocking a trail can be dangerous to on-coming riders who might not see you around the bend or through the trees.
You will be passed. Some riders are just that much faster. Hopefully the rider behind you will offer a cheerful hello and ask to pass. Look for a wide spot on the trail, hang to the right and allow them to safely maneuver around you. It’s ok to call out something to the effect of “there’s a passing spot up ahead”. And passers – avoid riding on their wheel while you wait to pass. Overtake with care and offer a thanks as you ride by.
EBikes are here to stay. And you may choose to ride one someday. Embrace the technology and offer the riders the same courtesy as you would with any other bike.
On the roads.
Be bright. Your feet are the most noticeable part as they pedal round and round. Color them well! Be light. Use a headlight and a taillight. Choose the blinking options. This may seem more safety related – but safety is etiquette, too.
Ride in the biking lane unless there is no lane. Follow the rules of the road. Only ride two abreast if there is ample room to do so without causing cars to have to move into on-coming traffic to avoid you. It’s okay to take the lane when there are multiple riders and you are moving through a tight road spot. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
Ride on the road rather than the sidewalk. Stop at stop signs. Stop when the traffic light turns yellow or is red. You are more predictable when following the traffic rules, which makes riding safer with others or near cars. Be mindful of your surroundings. Watch and listen. Use hand signals to notify other riders of road obstacles, or when slowing and stopping.
No matter what type of ride you are on – always check on a stopped rider to ask if they are okay before continuing your ride. Be a friend.
And if you only take away one thing from this read – Be Nice. We are all riding for enjoyment!