Trail Etiquette (or How to Treat the Enemy).
Beware those not on wheels. Common Name Pedestrianus Precarious. You’ll find a lot of these getting under your tyres at one time or another. They tend to gather in flocks, wobbling on sticks with rucksacks, bovver boots and faded football socks. When (if) they see you approaching they do nothing until you make contact with the first one who shrieks “why don’t you use your bell”, after you did exactly that on the approach. Another one, with it’s back to you, squeals “I wish they wouldn’t ring their bells like that, I nearly died” Pity, then.
Another one uses it’s dog on the opposite side of the trail to lay a trip wire across your path, tightening it just as you arrive between them and their invisible, deadly trap. A pair or threesome may challenge you to guess which side of the trail they’ll lounge over to – usually both sides, leaving a tiny gap between.
The real Humdingers (aka bastards) will not move at all, risking their safety and yours because of some strange stubbornness and unwillingness to avoid conflict. Meet the Fokkers. My advice is to accidentally mow them down, ride over their dogs and tie them all to the nearest in-use railway tracks with their own tripwires. Come on, train!
Beware those on live transport. Common Name Hors Rideus. These cretins (some of them wearing lovely jodhpurs – I’ve nothing against jodhpurs, and unfortunately never have had) don’t hear you because you use Silent Approach to avoid spooking their very nervous animals. However, the very nervous animals DO hear you, and get spooked anyway, because they’re stupid, useless Belgian meat dishes, not a proper means of transport at all. Only Cowboys have the skill to control these things. The limphead just thrown off then gets pretty irate at your being on Her/His Bridleway.
My advice is to summon your backup landrover and get it to mow the whole lot down and sell the remains to the nearest abattoir. Alternatively, pack in this dangerous biking mullarkey and join the nearest jodhpur jaunt!
Beware those partially on wheels. Common Name Parentus Patheticus. These usually consist of a She and He partnership with a Little Jimmy or Jemima on a mini bmx bike with stabilisers. They see you coming, fair enough, then proceed to allow Small Thing(s) to teeter towards you, precariously, turning the way you didn’t want them to at the last minute, right into your path. Although you’ve slowed almost to a standstill, the light contact your front wheel makes with the midget’s face causes it to scream violently and the He and She to attack you fiercely, verbally and physically. You can’t win with these tw*ts.
My advice is to dismount, kneel facing West, and pray for a lightning strike when you’re at a safe distance.
Beware those innocently walking their doggy friends in places where they don’t need to care. Common Name Poopus Nonscoopus You’ll be almost on top of them when the useless mut (no, the dog) decides to turn the opposite way (sound familiar?) to the way you expected (that is, until you are a veteran of TWO bike rides, then you’ll expect this). This usually results in at best a near miss and a speed wobble, or an agonisingly painful trip into the nearest ditch or Hawthorn bush. While the mut and, of course, it’s idiot guardians, walk away muttering obscenities about us irresponsible bikers.
Or the other type whose animal, with that one famous instruction issued by it’s owner, “Sit”, proceeds to remain blissfully unaware of its meaning, ignores the lunatic instruction and bounds into your (expensive) front wheel, untruing it severely. I can tell you now without fear of contradiction that no canine ever born understands the word “sit” and is more than likely to hear “sh!t” instead, hence their favourite habit.
My advice is, on your way into the ditch/Hawthorn bush/some other obstacle, lash out with both feet and make sure you kick the thing square in the jaw. Humans look ridiculous with missing teeth. Dogs look effing hilarious!
(part one of a series entitled “The Loon on Hoops”)