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  1. #1
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    Appoaching hikers from behind?

    While riding some nice wooded singletrack, I often find myself aproaching hikers from behind. It seems that no matter what I do, I startle them. If I shout out from a distance, they jump. If I wait until I am almost up to them and speak in a normal tone of voice, they jump. If I grab big handfuls of brake and make them squeal like a pig, the hikers really jump.

    It seems that the hiker species is a bit.......jumpy. Or at the very least skittish. So, how do I make these fragile creatures aware of my aproach without startling them? I know that if this keep happening that I will end up as the poster child for trail closure.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  2. #2
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    Cough

    When I am still a bit away I fake a few coughs. Seems to work very well.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I sometimes do the fake cough as well if I'm riding casually, and it seems to work. If I'm really hauling ass I simply shout, "On your left!" or "On your right!", obviously depending on which side I'm planning on cruising past them. They sometimes are startled, yes, but it's better than being run over.
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  4. #4
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    I use a bell (one ding) to get their attention if the tires aren't noisy enough on the leaves or gravel.

  5. #5
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    On my bikes with v-brakes, I flick the brake levers a few times to make an audible clicking sound as I approach. When they turn around, I just give them a big smile, say "Hi there!", ride past and say "Pardon me. Thank you!"

    Can't do the same when I have the bike with the hydro brakes - they don't click.

  6. #6
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    i exude my love for the trail so much that they catch my vibes, and when i pass them they usually have an onset of depression because they realize how much more fun i am having than them.

    but when i am not on drugs, my bike makes so much damn noise squeaking and creaking and rattling, the hikers i come up on have already turned around just to see what the damn racket is behind them.

  7. #7
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    I usually wait until I'm about two seconds away, and if they don't move I yell "share the f'in trail you a$$hole!".

    Just kidding. Usually I just do like you do. At some distance, I'll say "Hey...how ya doin'?", or if I'm going pretty quick I'll say "comin' up on yer left". (I spelled the words in the quotes like that because I try to use a calm, casual, laid back voice like that when I talk to them). I do try to slow down quite a bit while passing though.
    I suppose if I went on heavily used trails I'd probably get a bell.

  8. #8
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    I usually just say "hello" in a calm but happy voice. They still jump. Even when I'm going quite slowly they run off the trail like I'm a maniac. I've notice some hubs that make a really loud freewheel noise. That could be helpful. Or maybe hubs that play a song instead of just making that clicky noise.
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  9. #9
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    Big dorky bell. Iooked high and low for a bell with a sharp, high tone (many are too weak and can't be heard easily from a distance). I ended up with the Cat Eye "Wind Chime" or "Wind Bell" -- something like that -- that I found at REI. Very crisp.

    I give them a ring while I'm still a good distance behind them -- never close enough to startle them. Usually gotta slow down anyway, but at least this way they know I'm behind them before I wisper "Hello" in their ear.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuruAtma
    Even when I'm going quite slowly they run off the trail like I'm a maniac.
    I've noticed that too. I usually slow down to walking pace, say in a normal tone "Hi, how's it going?" And they FREAK out. Grab the dogs & kids and lunge off the trail like I'm some serial killer running around with a chainsaw.

    It used to bother me. Now I find a little humor in it.

    Maybe I'll try coming up and saying "MMMMMM... that baby looks DELICIOUS!". I already get the crazy reaction, I might as well earn it.

  11. #11
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    yup, I'm a bell boy all the way. When I first got my bell several years ago, my brother laughed at me and told me that he'd buy me some handlebar tassles to go with it, but now he often asks me to go first when we know we're gonna pass hikers.. A bell is easy. I just ding it a couple times when I'm like 30 yards away, and if they don't turn, I ding it again, when I'm closer. Some people get startled no matter what. I think it's funny to see people trip over themselves. I usually appologize and say hi.

    On a side note, I've only met one unruly hiker in my years of biking, but he saw me from far away as he approached form the opposite direction. He started cussing at me and told me that I better not run into him. Then he started cussing some more and told me to slow down. The thing is I was going uphill on a fairly steep wide section of single track. I told him that if I slowed down anymore I'd fall over. This was met by more cussing. That guy had some issues..

  12. #12
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    Bell

    A bell works great; otherwise I say something like "bikes on your left." And I slow way down for pedestrians and say something like "thanks, great day isn't it?" We're all ambasadors for mountain biking.

    BTW, if you have never hiked on a trail with mountain bikers, it is really hard to understand how vulnerable a person on foot can feel when a bike cruises by, even at speeds that feel "slow" to the cyclist. Perspective is everything, and it is wrong (in my opinion) to assume that because you feel safe, others should feel safe too. For those willing to have an open mind, a good "experiment" would be to hike a commonly biked trail with your girl friend, mom, younger sister/brother, kid, grand parent, etc. You might see things a little differently and have a little more emphathy for hikers. And if some moron on a bike blasts past you and someone you care about, you might find yourself looking for that person at the trailhead with a big stick in hand, even if you are "Joe mountain biking activist." YMMV.

  13. #13
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    Scream like I'm Outacontrol!

    Go as fast as i can at'em Screamin ' like i'm out of control or no brakes, They usually Jump out of the way! No really i use the cough method ..."ughgh excuse me mind if i pass?" then they usually get all huffy! the ones i hate are the walkman wearers...You could have a bullhorn and they still wouldn't hear ya! so i end up scaring the Sh!t out of 'em as i pass through!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    ABTW, if you have never hiked on a trail with mountain bikers, it is really hard to understand how vulnerable a person on foot can feel when a bike cruises by, even at speeds that feel "slow" to the cyclist. Perspective is everything
    Absolutely! We are "in the groove", heart racing, adrenalin flowing, and what's slow to us can still pretty fast to a hiker.

    But I walk my dogs on the trails and know that (a) some bikers are not as courteous as others and (b) excited dogs can be a nuisance to bikes and to themselves.

    I completely agree with the "ambassador" comment -- I never so hurried riding that I can't have a 5 second conversation with a hiker, stop to pet a curious dog, or step aside for a horse. Feel like a politician kissing babies sometimes.

  15. #15
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    I just shift gears rappidly and unnessiccarily. other wise I'll say "ay ay! YO!! AY!!" and they move. otherwise if i'm in the city and since i'm pretty agile on the road or sidewalk (where i ride as opposed to the road) I just dont say any thing and just swerve around people without warning. they're usually like"Assh0le! "

  16. #16
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    The problem with saying "on your left" is that half the time the hiker/biker/whoever promptly becomes totally confused and themselves move left. Then they look back and see you right behind them and then they cower in fear, bracing for impact, while giggling sheepishly at their mistake and apologizing all the while. Now I admit I do use the "on your right/left" method, I'm just not lulled into a false sense of security in assuming that the passee understands the intricacies of its utilization. I think a good bell is a good idea.

  17. #17
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    Currently I have a bit of play in my brake levers so I slow down and click them to get attention, I try not to pass unless the hiker is aware that I'm coming, or I'm far enough away that if they guess wrong they won't be right in front of me.

    I find its really easy to hear some bikes coming, but a smooth rider can really be pretty silent.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    While riding some nice wooded singletrack, I often find myself aproaching hikers from behind. It seems that no matter what I do, I startle them. If I shout out from a distance, they jump. If I wait until I am almost up to them and speak in a normal tone of voice, they jump. If I grab big handfuls of brake and make them squeal like a pig, the hikers really jump.

    It seems that the hiker species is a bit.......jumpy. Or at the very least skittish. So, how do I make these fragile creatures aware of my aproach without startling them? I know that if this keep happening that I will end up as the poster child for trail closure.
    Just get some more speed, let go the brakes and just roll right over 'em or bunny hop them!

    Just kidding! All the above methods seem to work at various times. I try to look if they are wearing a walkman or something and yell a little louder from a distance. I also have a bell on one of my bikes. Sometimes I whistle, especially when coming around blind corners (which there are a lot of in China Camp). Just rest easy in the satisfaction and good karma that you are at least trying to do the right thing. It's not your fault that the hikers aren't paying attention.

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  19. #19
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    From behind?

    I prefer missionary, but what can I say, I'm old-fashioned.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by abegetchell
    ... If I'm really hauling ass I simply shout, "On your left!" or "On your right!", obviously depending on which side I'm planning on cruising past them. They sometimes are startled, yes, but it's better than being run over.
    I hope you slow down. If not, please do! A walking pace on bike seems painfully slow. When hiking it seems fairly fast and you don't hear anything until the least second and it is startling. Try hiking a few trails and you'll get the idea.

  21. #21
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    Sixth or Seventh on the Bell idea

    I got a bell and was mocked for it until everyone noticed how effective it was. Usually ring it at what I think is the limit of hearing distance and then once every few seconds or so until they notice it. The bell sound really carries better than a voice does over distance.

  22. #22
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    Well last fall me and my friend were out riding on a fireroad at Grafton State Park. Then here comes this jogger coming towards us, and we just assumed that he saw us coming, but here comes the weird part. The guy had to have just looked side to side like ten times, and all those times he did not even notice us. Then when he finally noticed us, he had to have jumped a mile, and then he said nothing and he just kept runing, and this just kept me and my friend laughing. So I guess some joggers/hikers are the casue of their own fright, becasue they are in a zone.

  23. #23
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    Goose 'em.
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  24. #24
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    [I just tell my dog to "SIC "EM!" she does all the work for me...

  25. #25
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    I usually try to dismount if the hiker isn't aware that i'm right there behind them...then I walk up to them with my bike and say "Hi, nice day, isn't it" or something similiar..

    If the hiker is coming towards me, I dismount and pull off the trail to the side and let them walk past first. I always say "hello" and smile.

    Why do I do this?

    Because I am a sometimes hiker too, and it does our image on the trails no good at all if we don't give way to people walking.

    Imo, pedestrians must come before any type of powered vehicle, even if it human-powered like a bike.

    If you don't agree with this, try hiking yourself on a trail used by bikers.

    I have only ever met one guy who didn't respond favourably to my method of dismounting and saying hello, he was really abusive about bikes on the track in general, so I figure he must have had some bad experience with rude bikers in the past.

    I have met some really nice and interesting people on the tracks over the years, if you take the time to stop and say hello.


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  26. #26
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    I usually say "Rider Back"

  27. #27
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    ... You know it's funny, but I learned curteous biking behavior the good old fasioned way. Used to be that around here most of the other trail users were heavilly armed hunter, trapper, rancher, etc. types. And given that this is grizzly country, people packed weapons just to head into grizzly country. So if you saw someone on a trail, they were most likely looking for something to shoot. Then came along the bikers who took to the trails, first happy to be on the trails and then later most happy traveling warp speed down the trails. Something was bound to happen. What happened was a form of natural selection. Some bikers simply hit big objects and were removed from the game. Among the remaining cyclists, good behavior was rewarded with the ability to live and bike another day. They'd shoot a tire or wound a cyclist in an arm or leg, but generally you would live to bike another day. The others who didn't ride by in a polite manner ... well ... ahem ... they were weeded out.

    Now it is mostly the horse riders who pack arsenals. Fortunately it is rather hard to aim at a moving object from horseback (lost art I suppose).

    True story!

  28. #28
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    Clicky

    click! Even though I have a bell, I've been doing the "brake lever click" for a coupla decades now!

    It's a really "gentle" sound, they usually turn around slowly to determine the source of the sound....nothing startling.

    (Spin...you're scarin' me man!)



    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    On my bikes with v-brakes, I flick the brake levers a few times to make an audible clicking sound as I approach. When they turn around, I just give them a big smile, say "Hi there!", ride past and say "Pardon me. Thank you!"

    Can't do the same when I have the bike with the hydro brakes - they don't click.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    While riding some nice wooded singletrack, I often find myself aproaching hikers from behind. It seems that no matter what I do, I startle them. If I shout out from a distance, they jump. If I wait until I am almost up to them and speak in a normal tone of voice, they jump. If I grab big handfuls of brake and make them squeal like a pig, the hikers really jump.

    It seems that the hiker species is a bit.......jumpy. Or at the very least skittish. So, how do I make these fragile creatures aware of my aproach without startling them? I know that if this keep happening that I will end up as the poster child for trail closure.
    "BwwAAAHaaaHHAAAAAA!!! Roar!!!! Lion!!!!" Oh wait, that's how I sneak up on my kids.

    One time I rode up behind two ladies out wogging on the singletrack, and I said, "Pardon me...excuse me...HI!" but they were loudly blabbing (each at the same time, no less) about how one of their girlfriends was hurt and angry that her cousin didn't make it in time for Thanksgiving dinner this year and that she probably did it on purpose and it all goes back to when they were kids and blah blah blah BLAH BLAH...!!!

    After failing to get their attention, I gave up and just rode behind them (about three feet behind them) and eavesdropped, waiting to see how long it would take for them to notice that someone was behind them. It took HALF A MILE! "Oh! Where'd you come from?!?! " Christ almighty, talk a little MORE why don'tcha?!?!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0gre
    I got a bell and was mocked for it until everyone noticed how effective it was. Usually ring it at what I think is the limit of hearing distance and then once every few seconds or so until they notice it. The bell sound really carries better than a voice does over distance.
    Here's an alternate viewpoint - I hike, I bike, I hate the bell when I'm hiking. It sounds like the guy behind me is impatient and too into his own thing to be friendly. I'd rather hear a cheery "hello! bike back... thank you."

    An earlier poster was really right - we are all ambassadors for biking. Friendly is good. Very, very good.
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

  31. #31
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    If its a multi use trail..

    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    A bell works great; otherwise I say something like "bikes on your left." And I slow way down for pedestrians and say something like "thanks, great day isn't it?" We're all ambasadors for mountain biking.

    BTW, if you have never hiked on a trail with mountain bikers, it is really hard to understand how vulnerable a person on foot can feel when a bike cruises by, even at speeds that feel "slow" to the cyclist. Perspective is everything, and it is wrong (in my opinion) to assume that because you feel safe, others should feel safe too. For those willing to have an open mind, a good "experiment" would be to hike a commonly biked trail with your girl friend, mom, younger sister/brother, kid, grand parent, etc. You might see things a little differently and have a little more emphathy for hikers. And if some moron on a bike blasts past you and someone you care about, you might find yourself looking for that person at the trailhead with a big stick in hand, even if you are "Joe mountain biking activist." YMMV.
    Its all in the ears and the eyes..there are going to be other users. When i ride i anticipate this.

  32. #32
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    bell..

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    While riding some nice wooded singletrack, I often find myself aproaching hikers from behind. It seems that no matter what I do, I startle them. If I shout out from a distance, they jump. If I wait until I am almost up to them and speak in a normal tone of voice, they jump. If I grab big handfuls of brake and make them squeal like a pig, the hikers really jump.

    It seems that the hiker species is a bit.......jumpy. Or at the very least skittish. So, how do I make these fragile creatures aware of my aproach without startling them? I know that if this keep happening that I will end up as the poster child for trail closure.
    then a "thanks"...

  33. #33
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    baseball card in the spokes

  34. #34
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    ... and if we just ... slam the brakes

    i just slam on the brakes a few feet away and whip my tail around to see them jump.
    Yah i no i'm immature

  35. #35
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    I had a good one a few weeks back. It was an old guy (80?) hiking with earphones on (listening to music). I said "bike" in a normal voice a few times, and I followed him for a couple hundred yards.

    When I finally saw the earphones I got pretty pissed, so I yelled at the top of my lungs "BIKE!" and he jumped pretty good. That reaction was worth it, and hopefully he won't be on the trail with the music all turned up again.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  36. #36
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    My favorite is the squel with wet disc brakes. Other than that I will try the fake cough. It is amazing how unaware some people are on the trail.

    The other night while bombing down a section of trail 'hardtimes connector' for those that ride at Bent Creek, I had a rider yell at me. He was a good 60 yards up the trail and I saw him the whole time. Guess I freaked him out.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    While riding some nice wooded singletrack, I often find myself aproaching hikers from behind. It seems that no matter what I do, I startle them. If I shout out from a distance, they jump. If I wait until I am almost up to them and speak in a normal tone of voice, they jump. If I grab big handfuls of brake and make them squeal like a pig, the hikers really jump.

    It seems that the hiker species is a bit.......jumpy. Or at the very least skittish. So, how do I make these fragile creatures aware of my aproach without startling them? I know that if this keep happening that I will end up as the poster child for trail closure.
    may i recommend this...

    Zounds air horn on a P2

  38. #38
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    i squeek my mojo. George McSqueek Blowhole

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  39. #39
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    If you don't agree with this, try hiking yourself on a trail used by bikers.
    I've hiked on trails with bikers and I could hear the bikes coming from a good distance, giving me ample time to take a step to the side. Between the coasting freewheel, tires on the ground, talking, derailleur slap, and brakes, a biker makes a lot of noise. How a hiker can't hear a bike coming up is baffling, unless of course they're yapping to another hiker too much to pay attention.

  40. #40
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    how about just ridding arround them? without warning

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    I've hiked on trails with bikers and I could hear the bikes coming from a good distance, giving me ample time to take a step to the side. Between the coasting freewheel, tires on the ground, talking, derailleur slap, and brakes, a biker makes a lot of noise. How a hiker can't hear a bike coming up is baffling, unless of course they're yapping to another hiker too much to pay attention.
    I'd have to agree, most bikes make a racket on most trails and it's hard to imagine a hiker not hearing one coming down on them, HOWEVER I do also enjoy hiking and sometimes even if you're not hiking with someone (the talking thing) you still can just get lost/in the zone of the place and be oblivious to all else. Forunately we don't have to many hikers here, 'cept for on my fav trail and all the ones I've met have be courteous and polite as I have been to them - it's normally hi, nice day, how the trail? Most move over to let you through since they aren't in a rush and it's mostly tight, bush enclosed single track.
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  42. #42
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    2 words.
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    100% behind everyone's right to do stupid sh!t and get hurt as long as they don't sue anyone.

  43. #43
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    Boo?

    Boo! would probably be more effective for me, I've scared just about every person I've passed in the last while, I've tried "Hello", "Bike", changing gears, slapping the brakes and everything.

    I'm going to go get a squeeze toy squeeker and zip it to the handle bars so that the unleashed dogs in the leashed trail can think I'm a squeeze toy.

    The last lady power walker I passed thought I was a bee and jumped a foot off the ground.

  44. #44
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    may i recommend this...
    Hell yes.
    100% behind everyone's right to do stupid sh!t and get hurt as long as they don't sue anyone.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    Now it is mostly the horse riders who pack arsenals. Fortunately it is rather hard to aim at a moving object from horseback (lost art I suppose).

    True story!
    Are you telling me that Clint Eastwood couldn't really kill a man from 1000 yards away with a pistol while at a full gallop? Crap! My whole world view is shattered!

    Kn.
    I used to be with it. Then, they changed what "it" is, and now what I'm with is no longer "it". And whatever "it" is, is strange and confusing.

  46. #46
    lurker spaz
    Reputation: Dr.Faustus's Avatar
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    Re: Appoaching hikers from behind?

    How do I approach hikers from behind?

    With lube and affection.

    Dr.F.

  47. #47
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OkieInCT's Avatar
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    If they have a nice behind, I don't mind riding along behind them for a while and enjoying the view.

    Otherwise, I have a bear bell that is in my camelback. I just bounce the bike a couple of times and they hear the bell.
    ***CRASH ***
    2 arms...
    2 legs...
    1 head....
    Check....
    SWEET!

  48. #48
    Currently in Exile
    Reputation: Frozenspokes's Avatar
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    Rotflmao

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Faustus
    How do I approach hikers from behind?

    With lube and affection.

    Dr.F.
    If you get them in the mood first, the lube is unecassary.

    Lots of good points all. I have always felt the bell was a bit dorky. My kids have them on their bikes. Maybe I should drag my eight year old out with me so that she can ding HER bell at the unsuspecting Hikers.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  49. #49
    should know better.....
    Reputation: neverwalk's Avatar
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    I slow down and back-pedal, so my freewheel makes some extra noise, then make some inane comment like " nice day for a hike"...

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