It’s probably not in my best interest to write anything about the local bike path, or, as we like to call it, “our” bike path. After it first opened, we used to have it almost to ourselves, see? Now the word is out and lots of people—lots—are using it. This is what it was intended for, of course. It demonstrates everything that is right about government and community involvement. Whoever designed and executed the plan did a great job. That’s the good news and the bad news.
We used to be able to sail around that thing with hardly another soul in sight. Now, having been extensively trained in bicycling courtesy, we call out, “We’ll pass on your left” many many times in the course of a ride. Most folks are grateful that we give them a heads-up we’re about to go around them. They hunker all the way over to the right side of the path, we protest that we don’t need all that room, they smile, we smile, we all exchange pleasantries and go on our respective ways. Very civilized.
Some people are confused, thinking we expect them to move to their left. So they do. Right into the passing lane which is where we are. A little less pleasant, a little less civilized, but rarely resulting in bicycling turning into a contact sport.
Other people don’t hear us. These are the people with two ear buds installed who couldn’t hear the Second Coming over the tunes of Imagine Dragons and the dude with the weird hat, Pharrell Williams.
Most of the two-ear-bud-crowd are runners and you can’t begrudge them their music. Before my knees went totally to pot I used to run once in a while. Okay, twice. It was so awful I swore never to run again unless I was being chased by something much larger and much hungrier than myself. We all know runners who are addicted to the sport. They run through the pain and feel the burn and live for that rush of endorphins and every other cliché you can think of. The following true story clearly illustrates how running is a sickness.
I have a friend who wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She had to turn in a certain time to be accepted into the field. Now right here, something is badly wrong. She had to torture herself to qualify to torture herself. Anyway, she was right on track for making her time. Then she had to go to the bathroom. How in the world she had any excess liquid in her body after running twenty miles is beyond me, but there you go. And there she did go. She couldn’t stop to go, if you get my drift, because that would have ruined her chances at qualifying. So she finished the remaining miles in a state of, shall we say, extreme dishevelment.
Name me one other sport where behavior like this is even a remote possibility. You don’t see football players dousing the line of scrimmage. Baseball players spit all their moisture away. Sure, you get the infrequent incident of ear-chewing in boxing and soccer but those two sports are so messy anyway, what’s a little ear cartilage between friends?
And speaking of messy, can some bike path expert recommend an effective goose repellant? Geese are dumb. Really dumb. They will sit alongside the bike path and watch you approach and three seconds before you would have ridden by them, they will get to their little webbed feet and ponderously waddle across the path because apparently there is something of vital interest to geese on the other side. Waddling on the bike path is the least offensive thing they do on it.
Crazed, ear-budded runners, incontinent geese, and the occasional “Oh he won’t hurt you” dog off its leash aside, the bike path gets better and better. Once the bridge across the river is completed (and thank you very much to the donors), cyclists will be able to ride from northern Miami County to Dayton without being exposed to car traffic. We’ll be right there with them. On your left.