Saturday I rode the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Harwich to Wellfleet and back. I started much later than usual as I drove down Saturday morning at 6AM and had breakfast with my family in Harwich before setting out. I was riding my time trial bike. This was to be a gentle ride for the first leg (to Wellfleet) to warm-up and get (more) used to this bike. I got 5 hours sleep Friday night and had a beer late Friday night (for me) before dinner. I kept all this in mind as I wanted to train through this ride and have something left for a Sunday ride.
I enjoyed my warm-up leg, and I was plenty warm before I got to Wellfleet. I was able to push it for the last third of the Trail. If there's one thing the trail is not, it's not flat (much.) I enjoyed the sensation of pushing this bike faster and going faster still. When I got to Wellfleet, I checked out the General Store and the (ever expanding) bike shop adjacent to it. I stopped for a GU and thought about all the times I've pulled into this strip in car and now on bike. I started back with plans to push it more when it was safe to do so.
I usually get out on this route closer to 7AM. I try to get the first leg done while there's no one on the trail (or only other serious/delirious) cyclists out early. I'll turn around in Wellfleet around 8:15 or so or jump on Route 6 and ride to and around Race Point and then Provincetown to make it a 100-mile ride. I don't need all those miles right now. When I do ride to Provincetown, I make it a point to stop at Far Land for a coffee, water and food. The coffee is great, and so is the food. Friendly people, too.
This trip, I was on my way back and around 35 miles into my ride. I was passing a slow moving cyclist who was passing a walker when I heard "Asshole." directed at my back. That got my attention. I turned around and rode back to the cyclist. I said "What did you say?" He said "Asshole. Don't you know the laws of the road?" I said "You mean 'On your left.' I said it. I always say it." He said "No you didn't." OK - Maybe it's not the law of the road, but I do say it all the time, including this time. I looked closer at this guy: wearing think corduroy shorts bunched up and 3-4 layers of shirts. He had earbuds in. I said "You've got earbuds on. You didn't hear me." He said "I can hear you." He then looked ME over and said "Take your wannabe clothes and go home." (I was wearing my vintage Doug MacKenzie apparel: yellow Descente jersey and black Assos knickers.) You can call me an asshole but call me a poser too!? I had one sentence left in me (which is better left untyped) and I rode off.
He kept me thinking though: I ride very conservatively in crowds, around children and dogs, and when there's a possibility of whacking someone when I pass. I also offer help when I see cyclists stopped and fiddling with their bikes. I DO notice that fewer and fewer people on any trail know what "On your left." means and/or pay attention when I say it. I try to stay off trails during peak times (and use them then only for slow recovery miles.) I rode much of The Charles River bike trail this afternoon for some mostly slow easy miles, and almost no one responded to my "On your left." and "On your right." That's a reminder that I really don't belong out there at that time. I saw the same thing on the Cape Cod Rail Trail Saturday, especially with families on rental bikes and on my return leg. (Don't the rental companies tell riders this stuff!?) I don't see "the laws" on trail-side signs, either.