Doug Haslam: Gischeleman’s Blog

July 1, 2007

Getting Ready for the 4th of July Boston, and I’m nice to roller bladers because they’re going to hell anyway

Filed under: 4th of July, Boston Pops, Cycling — doughaslam @ 10:20 pm



Actually, I try not to get caught dead near Boston’s Esplanade on the 4th of July, but an unplanned bike ride into the city prompted me to whip out my trusty but inadequate camera phone to snap a couple of pix of the preparations for the big concert at the Hatch Shell. Here, you see the Hatch shell itself:


And here is the cannon prop for the “1812 Overture” finale.

What was really on my mind was how nice it is to have a bike path that can take me from my house to the middle of Boston without having to fight automobile traffic. Boston has a few great bike paths, among the the Esplanade trail I favor lately, to the Minuteman Trail, which I rode frequently when I lived in Somerville Mass. Funny to come home later to read an article in the Boston Globe about the conflicts among pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, and other path users. Perhaps the trail is getting a bit too crowded. that’s a good problem to have, but I understand the tensions among the differently-speeded groups of people using these trails.

The Esplanade trail along the Charles River is often crowded as you get nearer the Hatch shell area in the Back Bay, but I didn’t find any antagonism as well as I sped my way along the trail. A few thoughts about trail etiquette that usually help me:

  • As a cyclist, I am usually the fastest, and bear some responsibility for not killing the pedestrians and others on the trail. I like to go fast, but slow down to reasonable spees when it is crowded.
  • Pedestrians and joggers: don’t go three abreast on a bike trail, you are just asking to get killed. Also, make sure you can hear cyclists yell “on your left” as they try to get by, even if you wear headphones. It’s the little things that help.
  • If you need to stop– to gather a group, fix a tire, make a call. GET OFF THE TRAIL. There was a family group of about 8-10 cyclists, including children, sitting on the trail, just waiting for someone to run them over.
  • Rollerbladers– the very nature of your transportation makes you a pariah and a blight on the trails. You take up too much room going side to side, and most of you do not have enough control over the things to be allowed out in public on the skates. I stay nice to skaters and give them a wide berth when I can, but rollerbladers– you are hated. Just get used to it.

In all, it was a great ride today. I was patient with all my pet peeves, and just enjoyed the day. We cyclists rule the trail from the top of the food chain. From us, a little tolerance goes a long way.

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  1. Read the article this weekend. I was a little surprised by the exact mix of use. I figured there’d be more dogs, especially.

    Comment by Todd V. — July 2, 2007 @ 9:26 am

  2. I’m more often a walker than a biker and my inability to tell my left from my right makes me freeze when people yell, ‘on your left’. I wish there was a better signal, like ‘don’t make any sudden moves for the next few seconds, conscientious cyclist approaching.’

    Comment by JohnC — July 2, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  3. Todd, I was hoping the Llama had gone by during their little census taking. That thing is famous.

    John, I yell “on your left” but fully expect people to turn to their left on hearing, it, nudging themselves into the line of fire. I don’t speed past until I know they see me.

    How about “hit the deck, coming through!”?

    Comment by Doug Haslam — July 2, 2007 @ 9:38 am

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