Unfriendly trail users- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Unfriendly trail users

    Why are trail users-mountain bikers included, such an unfriendly group? I try to say hi-hello-how are you...whatever to almost every trail user I encounter. I would estimate only 40% or so even acknowledge that I'm on the trail, the rest simply ignore me or give a blank deer in the headlights look or a scowel.
    Does anyone else notice this or is it just where I live and ride people like to keep to themselves?

  2. #2
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    My experience is different than yours, but in any case, some people are just sour and grumpy all the time. Heck of a way to go through life.

  3. #3
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    Maybe its that mad axe your carrying around that puts them off

    Just saying

  4. #4
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    I just finished a ride. I saw two mountain bikers and two hikers and everyone said hello.

  5. #5
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    It probably depends on where you are. I ride a trail system that is just outside a major metropolitan area quite often. This area sees a lot of trail users and if you said hello to every other trail user you'd wear out your vocal chords halfway through your ride.

  6. #6
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    I think a lot of folks get out and use trails to get away from it all, which includes having to talk/interact with other people. Don't take it personal.

    While I say hello to just about everyone I encounter, I ride to train and have some me time. I talk to folks at work all day, when I'm recreating I just want to be by myself.

  7. #7
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    I too have the opposite experience that probably 80% of people are friendly. And the 20% that aren't, it's usually pretty clear they're focused on their workout or just not interested in socializing.

    But as others said, most likely it's just people not interested in saying "good morning!" 20 times on their morning hike every single weekend.

  8. #8
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    Think of the scene in "Crocodile Dundee" when he first gets to New York, and walks down the street saying "G'day" to every person he passes.
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  9. #9
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    OP, I noticed you're from Boise? For the most part I've known ID riders to be pretty friendly, although my experience is in central and northern parts of the state. I think you will find most trail users are pretty friendly no matter where you ride. Even if they aren't so cordial don't sweat it and have fun. For the most part I acknowledge other trail users and they reciprocate. If they don't no big deal.
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  10. #10
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    Not taking anything personal, I didn't know any of them...it's simply an observation.

  11. #11
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    In CA where the trails are crowded by multiple user groups, I've only run into a handful of users who were unpleasant in the 21 years I've been riding.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrozz View Post
    Why are trail users-mountain bikers included, such an unfriendly group? I try to say hi-hello-how are you...whatever to almost every trail user I encounter. I would estimate only 40% or so even acknowledge that I'm on the trail, the rest simply ignore me or give a blank deer in the headlights look or a scowel.
    Does anyone else notice this or is it just where I live and ride people like to keep to themselves?
    Might be bad luck. Only problem I encounter on the trail is people coming downhill way too fast and furious and not respecting the right of way (i.e. forcing the uphill to give way). Some occasionally look way to serious (as if they were racing or going somewhere in a hurry) but otherwise it is pretty good. Today I had a short 90' ride at China Camp and I chatted with three different groups, including a very nice (and pretty) mtb-woman who wanted to take a photograph. And two mtb-men complimented my Mojo ... what more can I ask for.

  13. #13
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    I live half time in Seattle and other half Santa Cruz. Very different trail experiences. SC everyone is so friendly, folks even interrupt rides to stop n chat. PNW not so much. On heavily traveled trails a lot of times it's like they don't even know you're there. Not sure how to explain it altho it's not just mtbers or trail users but people in general. You can be out for a stroll and say hello and people look right thru you. Back to mtb, Bend OR might be worst ever tho. Locals are downright grumpy and rude to other riders. Cross the border into Canada, a different story. Very friendly folks. As for Boise, had nothing but good experiences in Idaho (Sun Valley, Stanley, Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint). One year hooked up with a gang riding Ventana from Boise, had riot time at the campfire post-rides...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrozz View Post
    Why are trail users-mountain bikers included, such an unfriendly group? I try to say hi-hello-how are you...whatever to almost every trail user I encounter. I would estimate only 40% or so even acknowledge that I'm on the trail, the rest simply ignore me or give a blank deer in the headlights look or a scowel.
    Does anyone else notice this or is it just where I live and ride people like to keep to themselves?
    Are you giving off a creepy vibe? Do you look angered, too? Are you biking in the 'hood?

    There can be many a factor in determining the politeness of fellow trail users. Most of us are engrossed in our perceived rates of exertion and attempting to rank on Strava to be concerned about others.
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  15. #15
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    I always greet other trail users, even if it's only a quick "get the f#€£ out of my way".

    Seriously though I've mountain biked in loads of places and rarely have a rude encounter. Almost everyone says hi or even chats a bit. I've lived from coast to coast in Canada and traveled extensively in the US. People are friendly.
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  16. #16
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    in Boise also. notice the same in Boise foothills. Bogus, Avimor, Eagle, and elsewhere not a prob. to many rats in the maze. during the day when most people are working it is not a prob at all

  17. #17
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    Maybe it's your vibe. It's rare that I encounter anyone who is outright rude. If they ignore my head nod or "hello" it's usually due to wearing ear buds.

  18. #18
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    In the zone maybe, just concentrating on their ride, getting away from the normal reality and not wanting to be bothered. I usually only say something on very slow areas or stoping points

  19. #19
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    It's about 50-50 here. Everyone gets a greeting and a wave or head nod depending on terrain. Seems to be the older more serious runners never waive when I'm on the bike but they do say hi if I'm running...
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  20. #20
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    Never really noticed any sort of general "unfriendliness" on the trails.

    Only one occasion that I can recall was just one guy's own personality problems (and I got that straightened out right quick). I was doing some solo volunteer maintenance on the local university trails. I was a grad student at the time, and helped out there when I had time. I was working on clearing some deadfall and closing a rogue social line with some big, heavy pieces of wood.

    I was in the process of crossing the trail with one such piece and I heard some riders approaching. I called out well in advance to let them know what was going on, and the lead rider accelerated past me (I was standing over the large piece of debris that was in the middle of the trail trying to get their attention so that they wouldn't crash into it). I called the dude out for it - he made no attempt to slow down, say excuse me, or thank me for clearing the trail or anything like that. He stopped and went all meathead 'roid rage on me, acting like some sort of an authority figure saying "I don't even know who you are. I am the PRESIDENT of the cycling team!" (with the tone of "how DARE you talk to me that way") I was friends with his team/club's faculty advisor (who was the de facto manager of the trails, and under whose authority I was clearing the trails), and I let him know who was giving me trouble, and how he behaved. That was fun.

    Only time I've ever had an actual problem with anyone on the trails. Sometimes all people give is a subtle nod or a grunt. Sometimes that's all I give. If someone stops at the same rest stop I'm using, I'll actually use words and chat a little. Out actually riding, greetings are subtle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrozz View Post
    Why are trail users-mountain bikers included, such an unfriendly group? I try to say hi-hello-how are you...whatever to almost every trail user I encounter. I would estimate only 40% or so even acknowledge that I'm on the trail, the rest simply ignore me or give a blank deer in the headlights look or a scowel.
    Does anyone else notice this or is it just where I live and ride people like to keep to themselves?
    I notice this a lot in my area. It used to bother me a lot but now I've become more used to it. I still make a point of at least saying hi or thank you to any hikers or riders that move over when I encounter them on the trail. My area trails is mostly xc with no bike parks or mountains or anything around. It was ironic that when I rode in the mountains in Wyoming everyone was super friendly when I thought they'd be on the elitist side.

  22. #22
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    Ironically the only butthurt trail users I've come across was a hiker (while I was hiking) who complained about all the MTB riders "flying past him on this fire road". This after I watched a rider go slowly past him and say hi.

    #2 was some downhill MTBers who were flying down an uphill only singletrack. The pretty much ran me off the trail while I was climbing it.
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  23. #23
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    maybe you shouldn't be laughing maniacally with a thousand mile stare when you say hi.
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  24. #24
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    Some time folks are out to ride and not socialize. That they don't stop to shoot the breeze with everyone they encounter or return a salutation says nothing more about them than where their focus is. Too much butthurt.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Some time folks are out to ride and not socialize. That they don't stop to shoot the breeze with everyone they encounter or return a salutation says nothing more about them than where their focus is. Too much butthurt.
    Yep, and it says "I'm a rude jerk, so I'm actually doing you a favor by not ever saying 'hi' "

  26. #26
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    I saw around 20 other trail users on my ride yesterday -- 1 on a moto, 2 on horses, the rest MTBers.

    The horse people were extra nice. Probably because they knew what awaited me on the trail they had just come up (a huge pile of steaming poop right on the good line of the first switchback).

    The moto dude was just toodling around trails that they use but MTBers don't. We waved.

    I stopped at a wide flat spot to let 3 riders pass me heading into a techy uphill. Not so much as a head nod. Meh.

    I did get my first ever, "You're crazy to bring that thing [SS] up here!" from a woman riding in a pack of 10. By the end of my ride, I agreed with her.

  27. #27
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    Guess I must be lucky here in WNC, just friendly faces all around so far.

  28. #28
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    There is a local group of riders that all wear the same shirts from a local forum, Just about every experience with them has been unfriendly. Apparently they think the trails are their personal circuit and expect you to yield to them no matter what. Everyone else I have met on the trail, biker, hiker have been pleasant

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
    It was ironic that when I rode in the mountains in Wyoming everyone was super friendly when I thought they'd be on the elitist side.
    Haha, weird! I've never thought that people would think they would find us Wyoming folk to be elitist! I'm glad you had a positive experience

    When I'm out on the trails I find usually other mountain bikers will at least say hi. It's usually the trail runners and hikers that can be standoffish or act annoyed.

  30. #30
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    The best is the guys that rides with the poker face. Dont get me wrong I know there are many of you out there doing that as a defence mechanism because of the constant fear of being robbed at gun point. The same reason some of you are strapped while riding. LOL!! But for me Riding is a fun thing thats why I started.

  31. #31
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    I'm in New England if it matters, but it's pretty rare not to at least get a nod or a quick 'hey' from most other users at most places I've ridden. On my local trails, most everybody stops to pass a couple words or even share a beer (helps that I had a big part in building the trails and most people on them are aware of it).
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  32. #32
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    I think as tire diameter increases, friendliness decreases. It seemed like people were nicer when some were still running 24" back wheels. :P

  33. #33
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    i cant say i stop and talk with everyone i pass, but almost everyone gets a "hi" or if they pull over to let me pass, a "thanks". id say this happens maybe 60% of the time from other riders. but the other 40% are probably too busy setting Strava KOMs to bother...,

  34. #34
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    I run into way more smiles and hellos when hiking or biking on the trails. My friend has a theory on the bike path though. flat bars=hello, drop bars=no look at all.

  35. #35
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    I am out there to ride not socialize. Most of the time I don't even stop or interact much with people I know and encounter on the trail. I am very friendly generally speaking, but when I'm in the zone on the trails I want to stay there.

  36. #36
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    As far as the biking community goes; here are my experiences from most friendly to least friendly cyclist types:

    1) Mountain bikers -generally friendly, but not so friendly when I a trail run the single track that I ride (if the trail is unidirectional I always run the opposite of mountain bike traffic).

    2) Road Bikers - Generally less friendly than MTB types. My experience is that the smaller the crowd the more friendly the road biker (smaller pelotons = friendlier crowd/group)

    3) Triathletes - Least friendly types and only slightly warm to fellow triathletes (my short course triathlete buddies tend to be more down to earth and far less narcissistic than the IM types).

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  37. #37
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    Only on the "important" trails do I meet more than an occasional person that is stonily uncommunicative - like the forestdale loop. Even on these trails, most people are quite friendly.

    On my special trails on in the Cache Creek Wild lands (northern California), I rarely meet anyone other than the occasional hiker, hunter or equestrian. They are almost uniformly friendly. Since I ride mostly weekdays, I often will ride all day and see no one at all. Given this, I carry minimal overnight clothing and a satellite beacon.

    One reason so many people want to talk, I think, is that I am now riding my fatboy almost exclusively and folks are not used to seeing such a beast. They all want to know if it's harder to pedal (no) and if it has too much rolling resistance (also no). I tell them that the fatboy's niche is fun - more than any other bike I've ridden.

  38. #38
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    I was born with a poker face. Can't help it. Been a problem all my life. My natural expression looks very serious and I'm often accused of looking mad when I'm not.

    Oh well, can't help that, I'm not going to make my cheeks sore by plastering a fake smile on all day. I do nod or give a 2 finger wave to most trail users though, and will say hello if passing someone on a climb.

    Have a full range of positive to negative encounters with just about every user group out there. In my area, the only user group that I can't remember a negative encounter with are trail runners, other than maybe situational awareness issues with earbuds.

  39. #39
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    I usually have good encounters with all groups when riding. I do get pissed when I come up on someone with earbuds in and they have no clue I am trying to pass them. I have a pretty loud bell and call out. I normally wait for a spot to pass and nudge my way through.

    The thing that bothers me the most, is when downhill riders don't yield to me when I am climbing. If there is room for both of us to get by, go for it. When I have to stop and unclip on narrow single track climb because they just keep coming, GRRRRR!
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by iWiLRiDe View Post
    In CA where the trails are crowded by multiple user groups, I've only run into a handful of users who were unpleasant in the 21 years I've been riding.
    ^^^This....funny that you're from Boise (my son goes to Boise State) because I've read a lot of posts on City-Data dot com where people have moved to Boise and said it's hard to meet people there, as people generally keep to themselves. I have no idea if that's true but I've read it many times...I hear the same things about pretty much everyplace in Utah (except Park City)

  41. #41
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    So far in Utah, I've only ever met a few people on the trails on whom I'd wish a grisly death. They're a pretty even split between MTB'ers of all lengths of travel flying down canyon too fast for anyone but their KOM's good, and runners who, even if you give them the trail, will tell you to go uck yourself. Most of the people I've ever stopped to say hello to have been sweet.

    All that said, sometimes I just want to hammer and I'm way too focused on not drowning in my own mucus to say "hi." I understand that if you're training for a race and you only barely have enough O2 to keep control of your various sphincters that you don't have the spare energy to ask me how my day's going.

  42. #42
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    I live in Los Angeles, here is what I have found on my scientific fact finding rides.
    The further you get away from the metro areas the friendlier riders become. Almost everybody is friendly way into the back country. The xc riders in their lycra aren't friendly, yes I wear lycra on occasion and I ride a road bike. Horse back usually are friendly, especially when I pull over and wave to them; ) The dog walkers are very friendly, especially when you pull over the say hi to the doggies; ) about half the hikers are friendly. Some times I am not friendly, depending if I am doing good on a climb or going slow enough to say hi on the down hill!

  43. #43
    How much further ???
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  44. #44
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    Around here, most people are nice. Horse rides vary by how much entitlement they feel to be using the trail. Some places they think they own, and everyone gets 'Mean-Mugged' while other places they know they're in the minority and usually quell the attitude a bit.
    Hikers and trail runners are almost always chill and all smiles and waves unless the biker is being a dill-hole.

    Bikers are usually an awesome group, but can vary by how behind they are on the Strava segment KOM chase.

    Ironically, the last bad encounter I had was with another rider.
    I'm grunting my way up the hill, cursing my out of shape legs and 30x36 granny. Coming up behind a female cyclist in full lycra, race-kitted out with the name of a local shop plastered all over her jersey and shorts. Everything color matched to her Carbon Cannondale Lefty hardtail, *THAT SHE'S PUSHING UP THE HILL*

    Now I'm no hater. I push my bike plenty. So about 20 feet behind her I say good morning.
    "Morning...(pant,pant)...gonna sneak by...(pant,pant)...on your left....(pant,pant...gasp)...you good?...Need tools?"
    Her:
    (gives me a quick eye-ball once-over)
    "Huh...Do you really need those knee pads and flat pedals?"

    I was flat stunned. I didn't even know what to say.
    Not 'morning' or 'No thank you,I have tools'
    Of all the things she could have said in response, she chose to judge me on my gear.
    I just shook my head and kept pedaling. I damn sure wasn't gonna get off and walk after that though.
    Stpuidly, I let it make me angry and I ended up hammering out that climb, totally blowing up my legs in the process.
    At the top, lungs on fire and legs turned to lead jello, I just had to remind myself that life it too short to get pissy over mountain biking.
    Now I kinda chuckle about it.

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