Stay vigilant

The other day, while climbing up a trail, I saw a couple of mountain bikers descending rapidly toward me. Assuming they saw me too, I didn’t stop and pull over to the side of the trail, instead I kept riding up. I figured that the descending cyclists would slow to a stop and pull over to let me pass, but that happened late. They didn’t see me until the last second, resulting in a locking up of brakes and a near miss. Oops. The descending riders were looking ahead and were considerate riders, they just missed seeing me for the instant when we had a clear line of sight between us. Mistakes and errors of judgement happen. No harm, no foul, but it got me thinking.

What’s around the next bend?

I’m getting more practiced at not making assumptions, but I still do it. I had assumed that the other riders saw me coming, but they had not. If I had rung my bell, or given a shout, or a whistle (I can whistle loudly), I bet that would have helped.

For those coming downhill fast, it is extra important to not assume that the way ahead is clear. Scan ahead every chance you get. Look for blind-spots or places where others may be approaching from the other direction. Also, please keep in mind that some people may be using the trails for simple pleasures, like taking a stroll.

Enjoy the trails but share them well.

Some of us are out there for exercise, or for a fix of excitement, but others are on the trails to smell the flowers and listen to the birds and such. Please consider that the next bend in the trail may be hiding a granny, on horseback, leading her grandkids on an outing. Don’t cause an intergenerational rodeo.

Stay vigilant.

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