Amy Roberts: Happy trails
Red Card Roberts
Park Record columnist
Like many of us, I spent the holiday weekend getting reacquainted with the remarkable trail system offered in this town. Oh Round Valley, how I adore your leash-free labyrinth. Oh Colin and Rob, how I’ve missed your stunning aspens and posted signs warning me I might see a bear. Oh Silver Lake, I’ll come back later when you’re not in such a muddy mood.
No doubt, our trail system is exceptional, and most of us look forward to rediscovering the challenging switchbacks and rewarding climbs we haven’t seen since fall.
So I was pretty bummed out this weekend to notice a number of riders who were annoyed, hostile even, at the realization they did not have the entire trail to themselves. Given the exchanges I witnessed, that definitely seemed to be the expectation.
One such example took place on the Rail Trail, a path I often use as a means to get where I’m going — into town, to connect with a hiking trail or just take the dogs for a walk. A lot of people use that trail; I see them pushing strollers, teaching their kids how to ride a bike, and couples holding hands while on a leisurely stroll. It’s generally not considered training ground for next year’s Tour de France. Though there are some people who could benefit from that reminder.
On Saturday I watched as a man buzzed by families so quickly, I couldn’t help but wonder if his spandex was on fire. He was going far too fast for a multi-use paved trail littered with training wheels and sidewalk chalk projects. Not only was his speed ill-suited for the trail he was on, he also didn’t announce his presence when passing, startling those who had the audacity to be outside when it was clearly his turn to exercise.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior seems to only become more common as more and more people are out on the trails (and the longer Trump is in office).
Most of us live in Park City because we love the outdoor recreational opportunities — I’ve never heard anyone say he or she moved here because he or she loves to sit inside and watch TV. But we all are equally entitled to using the trails we love. On bikes, on foot, with dogs, on skis, on horse, on rollerblades, etc. No one is more entitled to their workout more than anyone else.
The Mountain Trails Foundation has worked tirelessly to educate users on trail etiquette. And from what I saw this weekend, it seems many of us would benefit from a little refresher — civility is the only way we’re going to make it through the summer.
According to Mountain Trails, courteous trail behavior, with my added commentary, includes:
1. Announcing your presence when passing. This is imperative. Unless it’s my mother in front of you. Because that’s the only person I know to have ever had eyes in the back of her head.
2. Slow down. There are no pro scouts secretly watching you from the chairlifts. Care more about the people on the trail than your Strava followers.
3. Bikers never have the right of way. Never. Not when they are climbing, not when they are going downhill, not when they are resting. And especially not on the Rail Trail. As a biker, you are literally on the lowest rung of the right-of-way ladder.
4. Even you were a beginner once. Our trails are used by those just learning to ride, too. Be kind to them. They’re more likely to stick with the sport if they don’t think it’s ruled by the rude.
5. Mud is murder. If it sticks to your heels or your wheels, find another trail.
Here’s hoping that little refresher results in a courteous and collision-free summer.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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