Passing etiquette- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Passing etiquette

    (the rant-wagon rolls)

    Imagine, you're on a casual ride. It's not a race. With respect to passing, what are your
    ideas of the conventional requirements?

    So, say you're riding along and you come up on a slower rider. At this point, you don't even
    know if you'll be passing this rider. Why? Maybe it was Mark Weir and he just got back on
    his bike after fixing a flat. Who knows?

    So, what do I do? I'll usually try to assess the rider ahead. Following for a little while (leaving
    ample room) I'll just watch. I don't say anything, yet. Are they riding well? OK, they're not
    going quite as fast as I'd like to go. Now what? Do I yell out "RIDER BACK!", Well, no...I
    don't do that! Shap, it's not my trail and this ain't a race. I'll usually be a little shy
    and hope that they hear me and chose to either wick it up or find a time that's comfortable
    for them to say "you want around?". I have plenty of patience. If I feel that there has been
    plenty of time to acknowledge my presence, yet they have made no yield and I feel that I'd
    like to pass, I politely ask "mind if I come around?" And then I'll wait for a wide spot and
    let them yield before going for the pass.

    So, I'm out at Fantasy Island and I come up on a rider. I begin to assess. 5 seconds later,
    they turn their head back, see me and yield off the trail to the left. I say "thanks, one more
    back" and roll on by. I then pass their partner up ahead with the same type of encounter.

    20 minutes later, we come up on a large group of riders that are at an intersection. They've
    completely cut off a couple of extended loops. Turns out that 2 of these riders are the two
    that we previously passed. I wait at the intersection till I see that Tracey has seen which
    direction I'm going and continue. I hear someone try to jump on my wheel.
    Maybe they didn't know Tracey was with me. (Surely if they knew, they would have waited
    for both of us before starting up again). Whatever. I get to the next intersection and have to
    wait for Tracey as this entire group has gotten into the middle between myself and Tracey.
    Moments later, this beginner rolls over to where I'm waiting and in a concerned, testosterone-enhanced
    voice says something to the effect, "You need to call out 'rider back' when you're passing.
    You scared the hell out of my wife." I was a bit confused. You read the account of what
    happened. Not sure how this was supposed to pan out. Anyway, I politely said I was sorry
    that she was startled. To me, it seemed that she wasn't startled at all. At this point, he
    reiterates, "You need to call out 'rider back' when you're passing." Ohhh Kay. Anyway, as
    I rolled off again, I was somewhat frustrated because I had this feeling that his wife was
    even more of a newbie as he was and she simply wasn't enjoying this "mountain biking
    thing" and my passing might have just been yet another excuse to say that it sucked.
    And then I was kinda laughing because I know the guy had no clue about who I was or how
    long I'd been riding and how ridiculous it would be to try to tell an old dog like me what the
    proper passing etiquette was.



    So, who out there wants me to start yelling "RIDER BACK!" the moment I see you
    on the horizon?



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  2. #2
    EXORCIZE
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    I'm not rude - just quiet...

    Fantasy Island, huh? - you should have let him know he was Tatoo, and you were The Boss. Woops - I'm dating myself.

    "mind if I come around?"

    Thanks. I'll use that. My "on your left" (if anything) has been seeming too harsh and I didn't know what else to say. I would simply copy what others use when they pass me, but well, seeing I never get passed...

  3. #3
    Tucson, AZ
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    When you have a chance, do you mind if I pass you?

    or

    When there is room ahead, I'd like to pass

    I rode Kentucky Camp Epic yesterday and Tucson Mtn Park (night ride).... only saw one mtn biker all day and it was Nakedguy (MaxM).

  4. #4
    im4Gsus
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    ettiquete must be something you tucsonians practice. good 4u

    here in phoenix i get passed and don't recall any such ettiquette.
    if i hear someone behind me i usually pull to the side when there
    is room but sometimes they're not patient and pass where ever
    they want. tis so rude!!!
    "If God is your co-pilot you're in the wrong seat!" S Barrington

  5. #5
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    I run a small bell on the bars. When I come up on a rider or hiker, I will slow up and knowing that my SS is pretty damn quiet, will ring the bell once to let them know I am there. If it is singletrack, I will then say "Keep it up and I'll pass when it opens up". (This is all provided they are not blasting an Ipoo and can hear me) Then when it opens up I pass very slowly and say "Thanks- You looked good through there" or something to that effect.

    I find "On your left!" stymies the hundreds who have no clue what thier left is.

    On double track I will ring then say I am coming around you and let them pick the line they want- which I will then pass on the other one.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  6. #6
    sixsixtysix
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    If i am actually making a move to pass, its "On your left", same goes for bikers and hikers. The only other directive I give is "1/2/3/4 Back" for anyone who is behind me. Other than that is anything needed besides "Hello's" and "Thank You's"? "Rider Back" doesn't make much sense unless your 6" off someone's wheel in a race.

  7. #7
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    Fantasy Island is a slippery slope. There are way many n00bs and beginner level people on there. I find that I could care less what people think out there. I do what all of you have said, know "I am going to pass you up here etc", but there is always some doofus out there that is offended that you emasculated him in front of his wife or GF or bro's or whatever when you manualled by them or caught them on a rigid SS or whatever.

    I am always shocked by the reactions of these people but it is just human nature to feel cheated when your whole understanding about how rad or strong or good you are at something is so thoroughly decimated. Especially if it is by a hefty dude on an old single speed bike wearing gaudy clothes and talking to everyone he passes (me).
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  8. #8
    Shovel Ready
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Just say you're on passing on one side or the other it makes one difference to me. Heck you can even say I need to pick up the pace a little. Bottom line just be polite. If you are and someone can't be civil in return. No procedure is going to change that in my opinion. I have passed this little old man out at Papago dozens of times. Walks with a stick and walks dead center in the middle of the trail. Gives me a dirty look every time I see him. But I always say passing on your left or right and thank you sir as I go by. I also pass at a very slow pace and wait for a spot. Again he won't move to one side or the other but I don't let it ruin my ride.Then again I don't ride anymore anyway.
    Currently at Mayo Clinic being tested for a kidney transplant. Donors welcome.

  9. #9
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    just start crying...

  10. #10
    im4Gsus
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    Quote Originally Posted by trb2929
    Then again I don't ride anymore anyway.
    wuzzup with that? you injured like me?
    "If God is your co-pilot you're in the wrong seat!" S Barrington

  11. #11
    Shovel Ready
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    Still can't breathe worth a darn and dealing with some severe muscle spasms. They say is related to the diabetes. But in my opinion they are missing something. Just about ready to say the heck with modern medicine and give Envita a try.
    Currently at Mayo Clinic being tested for a kidney transplant. Donors welcome.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    Common courtesy goes a long way. As stated in another thread, there are many uninformed riders who do not know basic trail etiquette. It is the rest of our responsibility to inform them, and if that hurts their feelings- screw 'em.

    Joke 'em if they can't take a f@&k.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Patrick
    (the rant-wagon rolls)

    Imagine, you're on a casual ride. It's not a race. With respect to passing, what are your
    ideas of the conventional requirements?

    So, say you're riding along and you come up on a slower rider. At this point, you don't even
    know if you'll be passing this rider. Why? Maybe it was Mark Weir and he just got back on
    his bike after fixing a flat. Who knows?

    So, what do I do? I'll usually try to assess the rider ahead. Following for a little while (leaving
    ample room) I'll just watch. I don't say anything, yet. Are they riding well? OK, they're not
    going quite as fast as I'd like to go. Now what? Do I yell out "RIDER BACK!", Well, no...I
    don't do that! Shap, it's not my trail and this ain't a race. I'll usually be a little shy
    and hope that they hear me and chose to either wick it up or find a time that's comfortable
    for them to say "you want around?". I have plenty of patience. If I feel that there has been
    plenty of time to acknowledge my presence, yet they have made no yield and I feel that I'd
    like to pass, I politely ask "mind if I come around?" And then I'll wait for a wide spot and
    let them yield before going for the pass.

    So, I'm out at Fantasy Island and I come up on a rider. I begin to assess. 5 seconds later,
    they turn their head back, see me and yield off the trail to the left. I say "thanks, one more
    back" and roll on by. I then pass their partner up ahead with the same type of encounter.

    20 minutes later, we come up on a large group of riders that are at an intersection. They've
    completely cut off a couple of extended loops. Turns out that 2 of these riders are the two
    that we previously passed. I wait at the intersection till I see that Tracey has seen which
    direction I'm going and continue. I hear someone try to jump on my wheel.
    Maybe they didn't know Tracey was with me. (Surely if they knew, they would have waited
    for both of us before starting up again). Whatever. I get to the next intersection and have to
    wait for Tracey as this entire group has gotten into the middle between myself and Tracey.
    Moments later, this beginner rolls over to where I'm waiting and in a concerned, testosterone-enhanced
    voice says something to the effect, "You need to call out 'rider back' when you're passing.
    You scared the hell out of my wife." I was a bit confused. You read the account of what
    happened. Not sure how this was supposed to pan out. Anyway, I politely said I was sorry
    that she was startled. To me, it seemed that she wasn't startled at all. At this point, he
    reiterates, "You need to call out 'rider back' when you're passing." Ohhh Kay. Anyway, as
    I rolled off again, I was somewhat frustrated because I had this feeling that his wife was
    even more of a newbie as he was and she simply wasn't enjoying this "mountain biking
    thing" and my passing might have just been yet another excuse to say that it sucked.
    And then I was kinda laughing because I know the guy had no clue about who I was or how
    long I'd been riding and how ridiculous it would be to try to tell an old dog like me what the
    proper passing etiquette was.



    So, who out there wants me to start yelling "RIDER BACK!" the moment I see you
    on the horizon?



    GTFOOMW! I HAVE A VIDEO CAMERA!
    He has no idea what he is talking about. "On your left/right" or "can I pass when you get a chance" is what I'd ususally say. If with a group, I'll add something like "there are 4 more behind me." F absolutes like "You need to call out 'rider back.'" Says who? I bet he's a roadie.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  14. #14
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    If I am just out riding and I come up behind someone, I usually just start talking to them... ask how their ride is going, talk about the weather, tell them nice bike, whatever comes to mind. Almost 100% of the time they say something back and ask if I want to pass... then I make the pass! When I go by I just thank them and tell them to have a good ride. Sometimes I just stay behind them and have a conversation.

    In a race though, that is a little different story... I will come up behind someone, "I say how's it going, let me know when I can get by..." Usually they will say now and move over. The "I'm coming on the right", or "Track right", or whatever does not work at all... most people do not know the difference between right or left (at least when they are pushing hard in a race!!!). Occasionally there is the jerk that won't let you go by... and usually he is the guy in last place in the class that started ahead of you, however 99% of the time in races everyones cool about the passing thing...

  15. #15
    All That is Man
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    I just keep a good distance and pass them when they take a break or with the case of FI, I'll hold back on the steep uphill rollers and roll by them if they don't make it and have to dismount. As long as you shoot them an honest hello, few people are rude about it. If they are . . . then screw them. The worst are road bikers I'll greet with a 'good morning' or whatever as I pass them and they just snarl at me.

    I'm usually conscious of the sound of someone behind me though and don't hesitate to let them by, after all, it's not a race like you said. Most people will say hi as they pass and all is well.
    John

  16. #16
    All That is Man
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    I'm also a fan of bells. It's good for blind corners too, I was thinking of getting one. They always make me laugh when I here them too, it's pretty goofy. I need to wait until I'm truly hardcore to sport a bell with style though.
    John

  17. #17
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    In racing you say "get the **** out of the way!" especially in DH haha

    what's even funnier is fourcross or bmx racing, now that's passing.

  18. #18
    I ride with tools
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    So true!

    Quote Originally Posted by cstem
    I find "On your left!" stymies the hundreds who have no clue what thier left is.

    .
    As well as the others whose left is really their right.

    Chronic stupidity is rampant - 1 in 3 suffer from it.

  19. #19
    just 1 more
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    Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon? works OK. Older riders laugh, young ones get confused and let up
    bikes, guns, dogs....perfect

  20. #20
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    seriously, if someone gets that scared when another rider comes up behind them, on a trail with high use, then i think you making your presence known is the least of their worries. im not gonna handle everyone i meet with kid gloves just to keep them happy. i have enough trouble trying not to piss of hikers, if a cyclist is gonna get all huffy (no pun intended) about something as trivial as this, then that is their problem.

    "rider back" ??? cmon. this is a trail not a crit.

    just ask nicely if you can pass, or just go around IF IT IS SAFE. theyll get used to being passed soon enough and stop getting scared.

  21. #21
    AKA shitbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwrtrainer
    seriously, if someone gets that scared when another rider comes up behind them, on a trail with high use, then i think you making your presence known is the least of their worries. im not gonna handle everyone i meet with kid gloves just to keep them happy. i have enough trouble trying not to piss of hikers, if a cyclist is gonna get all huffy (no pun intended) about something as trivial as this, then that is their problem.

    "rider back" ??? cmon. this is a trail not a crit.

    just ask nicely if you can pass, or just go around IF IT IS SAFE. theyll get used to being passed soon enough and stop getting scared.

    You've passed someone before?
    JRA

  22. #22
    In the rear with the beer
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    I've started using a bell myself. and usually say on your left. The bell actually works really well, even with hikers and horses. They can't feel like you've "yelled" at them on the trail. Folks are sometimes startled...in fact, I'm commonly startled myself when someone comes up on me if I'm kinda into my thoughts during the ride, but that is my fault for not being aware, not the fault of the person who was trying to do the right thing and give me a heads up they were coming up behind me. I only get ticked off when some speed demons come flying up on my tail and I don't hear them and they make no effort to give me a heads up. These dudes usually look angry that i'm "in their way" since apparently they own the trail....as long as you give some warning, i think your cool..no warning, I think very much the opposite
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  23. #23
    Everyone Bleeds!
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    I did not know....

    I did not know that there was a set of rules that I had to follow. Are these rules posted any where? Like maybe a trail head? Or do folks make the crap up as they ride along? Who makes these rules anyway? Common courtesy and common sense rule how I ride my bike. Someone making rules on how I ride my bike and how I behave pretty much sucks, in my book!

  24. #24
    Too many Sedonuts...
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    ugh. Marzocchi girls please? It clears and sharpens my mind. Then I might have something useful to post. Carry on...
    When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall.

  25. #25
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmedMonk
    I did not know that there was a set of rules that I had to follow. Are these rules posted any where? Like maybe a trail head? Or do folks make the crap up as they ride along? Who makes these rules anyway? Common courtesy and common sense rule how I ride my bike. Someone making rules on how I ride my bike and how I behave pretty much sucks, in my book!
    From an infamous bike race here in Arizona that turns boys into men: 4) Obey all laws, natural or man made. Don't be mean to hikers, cut off cars, or ride bikes off trail. Common sense indeed, but made public for those that might be new to mountain biking.

  26. #26
    In the rear with the beer
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    Not trying to alert someone that you are coming behind them = not common courtesy (not cool)
    . Giving someone a heads up when you are coming up on them = common courtesy (cool).
    Salvation Outdoor
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  27. #27
    In the rear with the beer
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    and while I understand the rider communite is generally against rules....here's IMBA's take on it: http://www.imba.com/about/trail_rules.html
    Salvation Outdoor
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdudecycling
    and while I understand the rider communite is generally against rules....here's IMBA's take on it: http://www.imba.com/about/trail_rules.html

    The crux of the question remains, "at what point does one extend this common courtesy?"

    The moment they see someone on the horizon?

    When they're within 30 feet?

    How about 50 feet?

    How about 20 seconds before they would overtake?

    60 seconds?

    If you read my description, you saw that 5 seconds after I saw the rider, they did a "look
    back" and pulled off to the side.

    Are you suggesting that I did something wrong? Obviously, the newBe hubby erroneously
    thought so.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  29. #29
    In the rear with the beer
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    imho, unless you were right ontheir a$$, I don't think you did anything wrong. I'd only get ticked if the person shouted out when they were on my shoulder and already overtaking me. The newbie was probably a roadie 'entertaining' his lady with a dirt ride.

    I hope you folks aren't reading my comments thinking I thought you were wrong, I definitely think you were in the right. I just don't like when some dudes give little or no warning and practically cut you off, and I think most slower folks would agree with me on that.
    Salvation Outdoor
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  30. #30
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    I don't think you did anything wrong. Sounds to me hubby was a bit sensitive about his wife's first ride out there. When I'm out there at FI with my newbie girlfriend I stay behind her, ride at her pace and call out upcoming obstacles. (Plus the view is better. ) If someone comes up on me, I have time to tell my g/f to find a good spot to pull over without her freaking out.

    On my SS, I usually ring the bell about 20 feet away just to let them know I'm there. And as I get closer I say something to the effect of: "No hurry, but when you get a chance..." Most folks are very nice about it. And if I see someone ahead I make sure to meet them at a spot I know will be good for passing... I never rush up on someone close to a downhill or uphill area (if I can).

    Normally I can spot n00bs and take a little extra precaution to let them know I'm there and in no hurry to pass.

    On my full-squishy geared bike... it's rattling is so loud people can hear me miles away and move over in fear from the bike they think is going to fly apart.
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  31. #31
    rockcrusher
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    Imagine, you're on a casual ride. It's not a race. With respect to passing, what are your
    ideas of the conventional requirements?
    I usually find that firing a few warning shots works the best. Even with an iPod turned up max volume they usually hear the round "snap" over their head or at least see the dirt and rocks kick up in front of them. They will either pull off the trail or start hammering, either way.. problem solved



    j/k but as of late i've been more of a "passe" v. a "passer". Showing a little courtesy common sense goes a long way. If I hear you coming up have a little patience and Iíll let you pass when the trail opens up,

  32. #32
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    I usually yell "coming up" when I'm about 30 or 40 yards back so t hey know I'm coming up on them. When I'm on top of them I usually then say "I'll pass on the right/left."

    I'm not there to be polite, but it usually helps. Most people tend to have their MP3 players in both ears so I scare them anyway. Oh well.

    Evil Patric, I think you were more than polite.

  33. #33
    JohnniO
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    I think we need a bike patrol on top of every hill with bull horns shouting instructions to such complex problems as passing and uphill right of way.

  34. #34
    im4Gsus
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnniO
    I think we need a bike patrol on top of every hill with bull horns shouting instructions to such complex problems as passing and uphill right of way.
    it won't do no good, the morons at fault will not understand...
    "If God is your co-pilot you're in the wrong seat!" S Barrington

  35. #35
    JohnniO
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    that was my point. That along with coming on this board and whining every time someone brakes one of the "unwritten laws" .

  36. #36
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    JonniO- Why are you so hostile towards making the trail safer, easier to use and more enjoyable for all. I agree that we will never as a group have the full support of the hikers, that people will always think they were passed unfairly etc. But things like trail etiquette are not rules- they are manners. Kinda like saying please or thank you. There are riders out there that may be wondering about the unwritten and societal facets of trail use and they can learn that here. I realize by your avatar line you are probably a downhiller. Your group unfortunately gets a lot of gripes and you of all riders should be interested in keeping your right to bomb downhill because a DH bike is pretty worthless without trails to ride down. Heres to passing you on a downhill on my HT single speed someday!
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  37. #37
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    demons inside

    Quote Originally Posted by cstem
    JonniO- Why are you so hostile...
    Yeah, go back to SanFran or stay in your designated gender friendly area at Papago. You so crazy JonniO the lover of cornholiO.

  38. #38
    JohnniO
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem
    JonniO- Why are you so hostile towards making the trail safer, easier to use and more enjoyable for all. I agree that we will never as a group have the full support of the hikers, that people will always think they were passed unfairly etc. But things like trail etiquette are not rules- they are manners. Kinda like saying please or thank you. There are riders out there that may be wondering about the unwritten and societal facets of trail use and they can learn that here. I realize by your avatar line you are probably a downhiller. Your group unfortunately gets a lot of gripes and you of all riders should be interested in keeping your right to bomb downhill because a DH bike is pretty worthless without trails to ride down. Heres to passing you on a downhill on my HT single speed someday!
    Read the Avatar again. Your assumptions are wrong by a mile. I am not part of the ebonics crowd. I just think it's a joke when people go on the internet and whine because someone didn't wave or give them the right of way or some other petty shite. I ride responsibly and am not uder the illusion that a message board with 9 people is going to change anything. Lighten up a little. If my posts get your panties in a bunch that's your problem and my amusement.

    BR-AZ , EAD

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnniO
    I just think it's a joke when people go on the internet and whine because someone didn't wave or give them the right of way or some other petty shite.
    Not to stick my nose where it don't belong, but I think there is a big difference between not waving and not giving the right of way. If somebody does not wave as we pass, no big deal (I'll admit, I've passed somebody and not acknowledged them), but I've also told somebody who has made a dangerous pass, or who did not give me the right away when climbing something steep. I think there are big differences between the two.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  40. #40
    wannabe corporate shill
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    Join Date
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    x2 on the difference between being overly friendly and acknowledging every other person's existence on the trail/ and passing in a safe manner. I'd be pleasantly surprised if someone said anything to me other than "on your left" while passing. Being that I get passed on a routine basis, any basic acknowledgement of another rider being behind me and wanting to go around is good enough.

    Then again, I'm not racing and I'm not looking for best buddies either...

  41. #41
    NardoSS
    Guest
    I say "yarg" before passing and stab them with my hook.

  42. #42
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nfidl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by trb2929
    Still can't breathe worth a darn and dealing with some severe muscle spasms. They say is related to the diabetes. But in my opinion they are missing something. Just about ready to say the heck with modern medicine and give Envita a try.
    I'm skeptical of all things but my Dad was cured of arthritis by acupuncher, Dr.'s told him he was wheel chair bound and no cure. Worth a try...

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