Note: Fred spends a lot of time on his bike during the summer. We are often treated to tales of his encounters along the way and he’s been good enough to provide us all with the following taxonomy.
Wrong Way Wabbits
Proud, serious, usually speedy runners who believe their considerable athletic prowess is too constrained by the pedestrian path and feel that running against one-way bike traffic is somehow a logical and safe alternative. They will play “Chicken” with you and never flinch.
Runners who insist on running on the narrow strip of concrete that in many places buffers the bike path from the surrounding grass. These folks must have been raised by tightrope walkers. They fail to grasp that their flailing arms and elbows tend to invade the bike lanes and that their precarious narrow beat requires their full concentration to avoid stumbling – keeping them from paying adequate attention to fast-moving rolling objects with humans aboard.
Fortunately, a vanishing breed. These typically talented skaters are characterized by moving along the bike path in a serpentine fashion, gliding from one lane to the other almost always lost in a headphone-induced musical trance – and frequently can be seen going backwards. Often unable to hear your, “on your left” verbal warning.
Rare, but extremely dangerous. These are usually pairs of folks carrying a canoe or kayak who pause to determine their best point of water entry while having their craft suspended between them, completely blocking the path in both directions. There is almost no way out when encountering this calamity.
Book Club Babblers
A group of 4-6 almost exclusively women who travel in a pack on the path, blithely and energetically discussing the latest book assignment (or something). These groups are impossible to disperse and should be given a wide berth, as their reaction to any audible warning is entirely unpredictable.
Again, usually a group (sometimes friends or a family) who choose a random spot to stop for a water break. The buffalos themselves tend to make it off the path to rest and rehydrate, but they often leave all or part of their bikes parked on the path. Seriously?
These technical terrorists are really scary. They’ll unexpectedly stop their bike mid-path, straddle it and begin texting. Called Tyrannosaurs because their arm positions while texting makes them look too small for the rest of their body.
This is a wide swath of mouth-breathers (alone, in pairs or groups, carrying coolers, pushing strollers etc.) that are so hypnotized by their ultimate destination that they simply stride onto the path directly in front of speeding bikes. Do not warn them, as they will invariably stop on the path and stare at you like a deer in a car’s headlights.
Hard to blame these folks as it’s not entirely their fault, but beware. Our culture frightens and confuses them. These are people from the ‘burbs who have rolled in to experience the urban landscape and know not of things like bike paths.
The most colorful (and potentially deadly) beasts. This is a gaggle of middle-aged men, tightly stuffed into stretchy Lance Armstrong outfits, riding $3,000 bikes and traveling as a single, organic unit. Kind of looks like a bag of Starburst candies on wheels. Avoid at all costs, as the domino-effect crash that could ensue would be epic.