Your other left, fools!

— Mt. Vernon Trail News Flash —

This just off the wires: If you are walking on the Mt. Vernon trail, please stay to the right side of the trail. Better yet, walk on the grass next to the trail, but what ever you do, do not cross the yellow line down the middle of the trail unless you’ve looked around to make sure the trail is clear. Best of all, do not, under any circumstances, block the entire trail, especially a narrow section with trees on both sides, while oblivious to the world.

See, when you do that, swinging your teenage boyfriend out to the other side of the trail, a busy, narrow section at 6:45 pm on a Thursday, he’s gonna get hit. And not by some slow-moving jogger. No, by a very competitive triathlete who, unlike your idiot self, is focused on improving himself, and will be approaching you on a very expensive racing bicycle at very high speeds.

This triathlete will not be happy. In fact, he’ll be screaming pissed and once he untangles himself from his bike and the bushes he flipped into, will come after your stupid-ass boyfriend with his bent wheel rim. You’ll have to run away, dragging your boyfriend behind you because the crazed triathlete will be looking to bend your man’s head and then steal his wallet.

Racing bike wheels do not grow on trees, unlike that fool you think is the love of your life. They take detailed craftsmanship to make and $200 to procure. More importantly, by wrecking his wheel, you’ve ended his training for the day, when he was only a third the way through. Also because he, unlike you, has a full and busy life, he’ll not be able to fix his wheel till Saturday noon, missing out on the all important DC TriClub morning brick workout.

So feel lucky that all you got was a good tongue lashing. That triathlete, he’s still pissed that your man wasn’t permanently scared or at least temporarily maimed by the pointy aerobars on his bicycle. The bars you’re man’s fat back bent back. Oh yeah, and if he ever sees you again, he’ll be sure to beat that $200 out of you with his water bottles.

18 Comments so far

  1. Greg McElhatton (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 10:20 am

    Dude, that totally sucks. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been participating in the AIDS Marathon program for five years now (training on the W&OD Trail) and the coaches have always been extremely firm: stay to the right of the trail, never more than two-abreast, and if you have to pass someone else make sure there’s no one coming before doing so single file.

    You’d think this would all be common sense, and yet… and yet… not in the slightest. Gah! Stupid, stupid people.

    I do promise that when I move into the Arlington Court House area next month and am contemplating running along the Mount Vernon Trail, though, I will stay very much to the right! :)

  2. Lite (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 10:21 am

    in the words of the immortal Sgt. Hulka “Lighten up, Francis”

  3. Kris (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 10:56 am

    Very tragic. Terrible.

    Damn that picture is funny. The expression on your face says it all. A dejected, baffled acceptance of the stupidity of your fellow man. You look like you are about to calmly beat the idiot to death with your own wheel.

    I want to burn books now. Why is that?

  4. wayan (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    Thanks Greg. As a runner as well as a cyclist, I’m happy to stay to the right when I run, its only curtsey and common sense. Common sense that is apparently not so common.

    Now that I think about it, I saw the foolish girlfriend running along the trail earlier, when I was headed the other way. She was running along the left side of a narrow wooden bridge, in a flailing/giggly kinda way, oblivious to the fact that she was creating a serious danger to everyone around her.

    And yes, Kris, had I caught them, I would’ve bent what was left of my wheel around the kids’ heads.

  5. darpino (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 1:36 pm

    It sounds to me like you were just as self-absorbed and “oblivious to the world” as these teens. Only where they are “in love’ with each other, you are in love with yourself.

    These expensive bikes you ride aren’t equipped with brakes? Or is it too much to ask to train with your eyes open?

    Apparently love blinds us all.

  6. Road_rules (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    Unfortunately for you, the trails aren’t exclusively for triathlete training. Maybe they should, for triathletes like yourself, mandate a time for you so you can train and if anyone gets in your way, you wouldn’t have to worry about running them over b/c they had no right to be there in the first place.

    But since this is not a perfect world, you have to share the trail and maybe add $10 to your repair bill and get a blowhorn for your bike. Those things are awesome and will surely get some attention when you are cruising at 40 miles an hour.

    Good luck on your training, dude.

  7. HeardAndNotSeen (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 6:13 pm

    Some harsh comments for a guy who came around a blind curve to find the entire width a bike/running trail overtaken by strolling “lovebirds.” When the teenage mind reverts to the egocentrism of a toddler (it’s a developmental fact — look it up if you don’t believe it) it’s a good lesson to learn that there are other people in the world besides onesself and the flavor of the month beside you. If that lesson comes in the form of a bike tire — tough cookies for the self-absorbed teen but even tougher for the other people that bear the brunt of your learning in physical and monetary measures. Would you all be singing the same “share the road” anthems if these 2 lovebirds were dangerously and obliviously leaning out into the street when you were driving by, only seeing them at the last second when it was already too late to compensate? Same difference.

  8. maisnon (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 6:57 pm

    I’ll accept that walkers should be on the right, and certainly not over the yellow line. But on the grass? I think that’s a bit much.

    I’ve racewalked two marathons, and I’ve trained on the Mt. Vernon for both of them. I stick as close as possible to the right of the trail, unless I’m passing someone.

    And here’s a suggestion, when bikers yell “on your left” – how about doing it at a time where I can at least try and get closer to the right, instead of as you breeze within millimeters of me?

  9. foraker (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 7:17 pm

    aw, poor yuppie bikie tire went all splodie! geez. you’d think after all the travelling you’d done you wouldn’t be so self-absorbed…but no. we climbers endure objective hazards all the time and don’t whine about them. they’re part of the whole package. is there a short bus for triathletes or something?

  10. JohnnyNVA (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 10:26 pm

    I agree with the other post, that slower moving traffic should keep to the right, this is common courtsey after all. But your entire attitude that walkers/runners/pedestrians should walk on the grass just goes to show how immature you are when it comes to sharing yourself.

    Sorry about your tire, and be happy that whomever you hit did not call the police.

  11. Samantha (unregistered) on August 13th, 2005 @ 9:38 am

    Haven’t you people ever heard of venting? Sheesh, lay off. I’d be pissed, too.

  12. Don (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 3:23 pm

    Personally I’d be happy if the crazed triathlete simply lost his love affair with the third person and did a little boning up on the difference between your and you’re.

  13. Reality_check (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 2:26 pm

    In response to Samantha:

    Sure, Wayan has every right to vent but when he vents in a public forum like this blog, he is fair game, as far as getting or not getting sympathy from the audience. If you don’t want to be critiqued, keep your venting to yourself and your friends, but don’t expect that everyone to feel sorry.

    Now, Samantha, go back to your Eden.

  14. wayan (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

    You’re right, Reality, I do open my self up for commentary, hence the whole comments section of this blog. The good and bad of blogging.

    Now play nice and keep to the right.

  15. Walk on left (unregistered) on September 4th, 2005 @ 10:46 am

    Walkers should walk on the left side of the trail, not the right. Isn’t it common sense to walk on the left side of the road where there is no sidewalk with cars going by at 25+mph? Bikes commonly go 20-25mph on the MV trail yet they don’t give any warning. It is considerably safer for everyone involved if the walker is walking against the flow so that everyone can see who is coming against who, even if no warning is given. Additionally, the walker can even move to single file when a biker or runner is coming towards them.

    I’m a much more avid biker than walker. When I’m biking, I appreciate having that eye contact with the person that’s walking on my side of the trail so that we know exactly what’s happening and where I’m going. I know they’re not going to cross the trail in front of me because they’ve seen me at that point. This reduces the risk of the aforementioned accidents by raising the awareness of what’s around. If those same teenagers were at least facing you as you come into them, they would at least be able to move out of the way if they had to.

    I’m all for safety out there and I don’t feel as safe with a biker buzzing by me within inches when I don’t even know they’re coming and can’t do a thing. I’ll stick to the left side, so I can avoid getting hit, any day.

    Just because the common thing is that people walk on the right side of the trail doesn’t mean that it’s the safest, especially for the walker.

  16. wayan (unregistered) on September 4th, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    What? Are you crazy?

    If people walk against the flow, they will see a bike coming a then panic. While they’re thinking “To the left or to the right? Which way should I move?” wham! they’ll get hit by the cyclist trying to avoid them.

    I see this every day when cyclists who don’t know better, try to ride on the sidewalks of DC and wind up having more trouble than if they stayed in the street, where we belong.

    Its much better for walkers to stay to the right, and as cyclists approach and pass, call out “on your left”. Cyclists are very aware of where walkers are, and focus on them as they pass with much more fear than you realize.

    What might be a bump on your arm as a walker can be a handlebar-twisting, crash-inducing hit to a cyclist.

  17. Walk on left (unregistered) on September 4th, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    When you’re walking on a road on the left side (the commonly accepted ‘safe’ side), is there any question what way you’re going to go? I don’t know about you, but I hug the edge of the road and ‘dive’ that way when there’s any question of my safety. Why is this any different when there’s a bicycle coming? The bicycle is still expected to yield to slower traffic and this gives them the opportunity to negotiate passing through visual contact.

    With how many people (bikers, joggers AND walkers) are wearing headphones now, it doesn’t make sense to simply ‘ring a bell’ — they don’t respond or even know you’re coming. Mind you, I haven’t seen too many of them with their eyes closed as I’ve ridden past them. Unfortunately, the growing number of bicyclists, joggers and walkers wearing headphones now (scary how many bicyclists have them, even on roads!) brought on by the digital music era demands that we have a change in how people use our trails — one based on sight AND sound.

    Keep in mind that I am primarily a cyclist and I appreciate it when I’m on my bicycle and someone is walking towards me on ‘my’ side of the road. It eliminates any doubt in my head that they know I’m there. I know the scariness of passing a person firsthand as I’ve had many close calls. Children, rollerbladers, dogs, people walking three (OR MORE!) abreast, etc. Even joggers turning around with headphones on! Children are especially scary and erratic from a bicyclists perspective. However, by having the walkers on the opposite side, we’d actually reduce the stress of passing walkers considerably and the parents with children would actually see the bike bearing down on them giving them time to corral their child, if necessary.

    Additionally, here is an interesting tidbit taken from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, IL website ( )

    Rules of the Trail

    *Ride single file, keeping to the right of the trail.
    *Stay in your own lane.
    *Give warning before passing other trail users.
    *Obey all stop signs.
    *WALK all bicycles down overpasses where designated.

    *The trail is designed for a moderate *recreational speed of 8 mph.

    *(Speed radar monitored.) Violaters will be ticketed.

    *Use the left side of the trail, facing on-coming bicycle traffic.

  18. Samantha (unregistered) on September 4th, 2005 @ 10:43 pm

    “Now, Samantha, go back to your Eden.”

    Just saw this…was that really necessary? So you’re saying I can post, as long as I’m criticizing and not supporting. Um, okay, that makes sense. And you can criticize people but I can’t criticize your criticism.


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