At the top are the cars. Next in line are the cyclists, who run the gauntlet of being side-swiped by road-enraged motorists. At the bottom of the pile are us bipeds.
To cyclists hikers are human traffic cones, particularly when walking along shared pathways. Just as cyclists are fair game for car drivers, so walkers have a target on their backs when they share a trail with pedaling predators, also known as cyclepaths (from now on).
Here are some of the worst offenders.
The racers. These cyclists think they’re competing in the Tour de France. The most dangerous types zoom past you in their skin-tight, aerodynamic outfits designed by NASA. Hikers should expect a loud boom as these speedsters break the sound barrier.
The path hogs. They often ride two or three abreast blissfully unaware that the columns of flesh and blood they are hurtling towards are people who prefer flat terrain to the grassy bank (just like them). Tricyclists who take up most of the path also fall into this category. A sporty pennant affixed to the back of their machines signals the superiority of their mode of transportation.
The limbo riders. Riders that walk the dog while cycling. The animal typically runs a few feet away from the machine thus stretching the leash across the path, forcing hikers to limbo dance underneath the line. It’s a great game that is sure to put a few hiker backs out of alignment.
The stalkers. Skilled at riding as silently as possible up close to an unwary hiker, these cyclists will suddenly speed past the shocked individual. Particularly effective with walkers who have heart conditions or who are naturally skittish.
The ringers. If you have a loud bell, flaunt it. Ringers like to usher you out of the way with repeated, loud rings of bells mounted on their handle bars. Some have signature tunes that probably match their cell phone call tones.
Are there any creatures lower than us walkers in the transportation chain? Well, the next time I see an earthworm crossing the path in front of me it had better get out of the way fast.