The temperature and the fall colors today were exceptional! We arrived a bit before noon and parked in the lot just west of the newest overpass that crosses Higgins Road. Riding in the lot just a few hundred feet to the east gets you onto the trail. The overpass ramp is steep enough to warrant downshifting (at least on a recumbent) but not steep enough to seem daunting.
The trail (which we last visited a few years ago) has been updated with a new overpass. Sadly a woman died recently crossing the Higgins Road juncture alongside the off ramp to the I-290. This is the second overpass across Higgins Road. The other is near the intersection with Arlington Heights Road.
The trail reminds me a bit of the North Branch Trail. But because it is essentially a Loop rather than a long ribbon (as if the North Branch Trail) it invites a certain kind of cyclist, the Mindless Urban Time Trialer (MUTT).
No MUTTS on this MUP, Please!
Dogs usually get the stink-eye from folks who use the MUPs in DuPage and Cook Counties. Actually it would be more accurate to give that look to the owners who come without a means of picking up after Fido. But the MUTTS I am referring to here are the cousins of the fellow who managed to ‘run down‘ and kill the wife of a wealthy television executive. He will live to regret his actions, but what is interesting is that the news of this debacle seems to have had little effect on ‘his kind‘.
They race around the Loop in earnest with a singularly focused gaze on their faces. Some of them actually tell you that ‘they are passing on the left‘. Others say absolutely nothing! I am not a stickler about announcing your intentions to pass if you are moving slowly. But what really frosts me is when a MUTT is moving fast and attempting to pass me while trying to dodge oncoming traffic (either bikes or pedestrians).
I simply cannot abide a person who is too lazy to get his sorry ass out of bed in the early morning to do his interval training rather than waiting until midday when the largest number of people are out pushing strollers, walking dogs and walking two and three abreast when with other adults or strolling with perhaps as many as a half-dozen kids all under the age of six and no taller than my thigh. Hitting one of these precious little ones would be cause to kick some serious ass.
If we are going to continue to be ‘holier than thou‘ about automobiles passing closer than three feet we certainly have to give pedestrians and other cyclists the same courtesy we demand. Otherwise I will continue to call us what we are and arrogant and entitled bunch whose only ‘focus‘ is on our navels. We are rude and boorish to the extreme and this was not just one or two cyclists who were acting this way.
I noted several males and at least one woman, all trying to match their Strava competition while the trail was full of people! Stupid, stupid, stupid! We need to get those two chumps working on the StreetsBlog site to look up from their senseless ‘war on automobiles‘ long enough to get the word out that ‘it ain’t cool to kill people on foot‘.
I tried to flag one guy down to something under 25 MPH and he got angry and decided to veer around me. And as luck would have it these MUPs are consciously designed with gentle bends in their paths to make them more scenic and interesting. But when you are riding along and a MUTT tries take advantage of the speed gains coming off an overpass down ramp he runs the risk of losing control (should there be debris on the pavement) and sliding into any oncoming traffic! That is no doubt how the fellow in Lincoln, Nebraska met his untimely end.
Again, we need to spend far less time straining with our moral microscope at the speck in the eyes of motorists and call in the front end loaders to help us clear the 3-feet drifts in our own eyes. No wonder we have journalists word-bombing us in the newspapers. We actually have earned every single bit of bad press we get.
Mark my words! Somebody soon is going to plow into someone else and serious injury or death will occur on this trail. It is only a matter of time.
Duppie Had It All Wrong!
A year or so ago Duppie wrote the following on the ChainLink Forum:
The sad state of society
Posted by Duppie on July 10, 2012 at 10:05pm
Today, about 5:30PM, temps in the upper 70’s and a nice breeze from the Northeast. All in all a great day for a bike ride outside.
ID Gym on Lincoln is putting their spinning bikes outside for an upcoming class.
Made me think of this quote of U.S Rep. Earl Blumenauer
“Let’s have a moment of silence for all those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to ride the stationary bicycle.”
The sad fact is the cyclists are essentially as arrogant and entitled as their motoring counterparts. They have only two modes of operation:
- They either treat MUPs as time trial sites and we know how well that is working out in Central Park, New York or
- They ride in pelotons at even greater speeds than the MUTTS and instead put motorists and crosswalk pedestrians in danger during those moments when they are not relieving themselves on the lawns of the folks in Lake Barrington Hills.
Indoor spin classes are just the thing for these folks. They get to really find out how high they can get their heart rates because the weaker ones do not get to ‘draft inside the peloton‘. And if you are fortunate enough to own a stationary bike that is hooked to the internet and can make use of Google Maps you get to ride the same terrain as the ‘big dogs‘. About the only thing your sorry ass will be missing are the two babes on either side of you on the awards stand kissing your cheeks.
But at least little kids, dogs, the elderly and mothers with strollers and even other cyclists won’t have to worry about dying today!
Nope the spin classes are our salvation, not a sign of our societal demise.
Distance: 15.6 miles
Time: 1h 51m 42s