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Topic: Open letter to the man (sic) who yelled at my son on the Greenway
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Open letter to the man [sic] who yelled at my son on the Greenway
on: September 4, 2010, 19:55

The Situation:

My family and I were riding on the Big Creek Greenway this morning, my wife on her comfort bike, followed by my 8-year-old son on his 20″ Schwinn, with me on my GT mountain bike pulling my daughter on a trail-a-bike forming the tail end of our little train. I have been teaching my son how to ride on the greenway for over a year now. While he is not perfect at “holding a line”, he does stay on his side of the path, listen for and react to people coming from behind, and he passes pedestrians safely.

So, as we approached the north end on the trail (we were just starting the section of small, rolling hills near the end) there was a great amount of foot traffic. At one point a woman and her dog started walking past a family with a kid on a tricycle, when all of the sudden, the dog (a pit bull) stopped right next to the family, completely blocking the path. We all stopped on our bikes until the woman was able to get her dog moving again, and then we proceeded past all of them. No big deal – this is how riding on a greenway works.

Shortly after this, we came up behind another family who were walking with their young child on a 12″ bike. At the same time, another group was walking in the opposite direction towards us. Now I had already told my wife and son that if they had room to go by someone, they should go and not wait for an opening big enough for all three of us, so my wife went by the family with the child, and my son began to follow. I knew I would not be able to make it through before the group coming towards us reached the family, so I slowed down. At that point, I heard someone coming up behind me, and two people passed me (with no verbal warning). The first person went by my son just before he began to pass the family (they were moving fairly quickly), at that point someone in the family stepped out just as the group on the other side were parallel to them, completely blocking the path, so my son had to quickly stop.

Unfortunately, the second bike that had passed me was right behind my son and started yelling at him to “move”. In fact his exactly words were “I can’t stop, I’m clipped in!”

Seriously? You come to a greenway full of pedestrians, and you end up yelling at an 8-year old because you don’t know how to unclip your foot in an emergency? Newsflash: everytime I ride on the greenway, I usually have to put my feet down on the path at least once to wait for pedestrians (I have to do it extra carefully because of the trail-a-bike). If you don’t know how to unclip quickly…, scratch that, if unclipping isn’t your natural reacton to an obstruction, then you don’t need to be using clip pedals on the Greenway.

Ignoring the fact that the speed limit on the greenway is 10mph, making clip pedals massive overkill, the funny thing is you were riding a Mountain Bike. Mountain bikes with clip pedals are fairly rare because of the need to be able to put your foot down while riding on trails. Essentially, to have clip pedals on a mountain bike you need to be able to do exactly what you clearly couldn’t do – balance your bike while standing still.

It seems clear that you were either over-sold, or you choose to over-buy when you purchased your bike, probably because you think people will think more of you if you have more expensive equipment. However, as I said as you were yelling at me in the parking lot to teach my son how to ride before bringing him on the greenway (of course, you didn’t say this to the family who blocked the path because they were using the greenway to teach their kid how to ride a bike), you need to learn how to use your equipment before you ride on a greenway packed with kids and pedestrians.

Of course, I suppose it is just as likely that your outburst at an 8-year-old had nothing to do with your “clips”, and had everyting to do with the fact that you were frustrated at being slowed down and embarrased that you clearly misjudged the situation, exposing your lack of riding skills, in front of about a dozen other people. So blaming a kid, and then me, for your novice ability was naturally the logical chocie in the face of such embarrassment. As I said in the parking lot, it takes a real big man to blame a kid for his mistakes.

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Re: Open letter to the man (sic) who yelled at my son on the Greenway
on: September 26, 2010, 20:58

Unfortunately there are a few riders on the trail that act like they are riding in the Tour De France.

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