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Friday, April 20, 2012

If You Were Riding the Bicycle #6 - Handling The Oblivious

First off, let me once again apologize for my relative absence on the blog lately. I have a new and if I may say so, rather novel excuse. Believe it or not, I've been spending my non-working hours developing a Toy Idea. It's true. When my top secret invention has been adopted by a huge toy company and I'm all set to collect my millions in royalties, you can bet I'll flog the product on these pages. Until then, the best idea anyone ever had will have to remain a mystery and this blog will suffer a little. Now, to bicycle business:


Sometimes you need to overtake somebody who is completely oblivious to your presence...




I have no interest in ridiculing the young man who didn't know I was there. I was young once, and in hindsight I know that I often acted like a bit of an idiot. Sometimes, a full-on idiot. At other times, a completely annoying ****head. I like to think I'm a good guy, so it wouldn't be fair to get all cranky about this kid now, after I have learned a great many lessons largely by being stupid. I guess my point, if I must come to one, is that there will always be people who appear to be oblivious to their surroundings including me (and you too, I bet) sometimes.

The question, my friends, is what you would have done (really have done), if you were riding the bicycle. Hindsight, as previously mentioned, can be pretty handy. Next time I think I'll swing wide on the grass. Trouble is, you don't know somebody is clueless until you're slow and close enough to find out, so the grass becomes a minor pain on a skinny tired fixed gear. Oh, the dilemmas faced by a blessed man. How completely awful they are. I really don't know how I bear it all.

Tune Out the Bad,
R A N T W I C K

PS - Can I tell you how much I like the new youtube upload interface? It is, in my opinion, WAY better now. Because I know you really wanted to know what I thought about that. Otherwise you wouldn't be here. Right? Right?

11 comments:

anniebikes said...

This happens to me all the time. I scare someone almost every day. And frankly, I'm still not sure what to do. Anyone with earbuds in is at a distinct disadvantage. They can't hear a blessed thing!

fred_dot_u said...

earbuds mean open season! An AirZound horn comes to mind here.

Skyers said...

I would have tried to warn him earlier, like when he came to the fork in the road. I would have yelled "bike" loudly with the hope that he could just glance to his right and see that I was back there. If there was no reaction from him at that time I would do my best to miss him as I passed him before the oncoming cyclist, as he was way over to his right at that time...
I figure you can scare them while your still behind them or you can scare them as you fly past them. Kind of a no win situation if they have the earplugs in.

John Romeo Alpha said...

I would have used the Zen Bike Path Combat Alert Technique in rapid escalation mode.

RANTWICK said...

Skyers - I think I am a little too timid with the shouting at greater distance. It's stupid, but I don't want to seem self-important. Thankfully I now have a new tool to use, the Zen Bike Path Combat Alert Technique! What an eye-opener that was!

Steve A said...

Don't you hear me yell down here in Texas up there in Ontario? Maybe you need to get your hearing checked. Yell further back - it gives the yellee more time to react appropriately and maintain composure. Be loud, but nice.

christopheru said...

Use the bike bell (;p) and yell - and do it from far back - I find it is the best way to alert people without freaking them out. If they are an ipod zombie though, well, take as much care as possible since odds are they won't hear you anyway even if you are right behind them and shouting (been there, done that to the great amusement of other trail users who watched me try to pass some goofball zombie with an ipod weaving back and forth on a snowy MUP for almost three minutes one day a couple of winters back). In your case, I would likely have gone on the grass and passed slowly and would likely have not worried about startling the other rider as much. There is only so much you can do to make your pesence known and if the other person has deliberately made themselves oblivious, the only real option is to use as much care as possible and leave as much room as possible.

Kenny said...

I concur with Christopher U's recommendation of a bike bell. Most people recognize the sound of a bike bell, and if the headphones aren't up too loud, the ding ding sound carries its distinctive note through music and other ambient noises.

It's tough to make people aware of your presence and not startle them to some degree, and my experience is that the bike bell startles them in a good way. They jump because they hear something, and turn around quickly to see what's up, then they usually smile and/or laugh as I pass by.

And I always say thank you to them. And good morning/afternoon.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I use a bike bell too. Works great and it is surprising how far back I ring and still get a wave of acknowledgment or the person moves slightly right. I ring anyway even if they got the buds in. I don't listen to music when I'm riding and consider it a safety issue to do so so I don't feel bad about overtaking and surprising those who do chose to listen.

RANTWICK said...

Lotsa votes for the good old bell. I used to have one, on a bike that was stolen years ago... perhaps it is time to get another!

Ian Brett Cooper said...

I'd have done the same thing. But I try to avoid bike paths, in part because of their tendency to be populated by people who don't know how to use them safely.

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