At the risk of sounding like a fogey, I have to say that if you cannot hear what is going on around you, your damn music is too loud!
Yesterday I was on my lunchtime ride; along the A309 I came upon a kid bee-bopping along listening to his MP3 player. I have nothing against people who listen to their music, at least he wasn't trying to sing like whoever it was he was listening to. The problem is that he wasn't paying attention to anything but the music being pumped into his head. Oh, yes... And he was taking up the entire bike path rather than keeping to the walking side of the path.
"Now be fair, Don!" I hear you saying. "How do you know that he wasn't listening to the news, or a recorded book or something?"
You're right. I guess he could have been listening to BBC 4. Tony Blair's latest speech, I understand, had quite a nice beat to it; quite a danceable oration! I did mention that he was bee-bopping along the path!
I tried passing while the path was still pretty wide, before we reached Summer Road (after that, the path narrows significantly). Unfortunately, as I pulled into the walker's path a group came around the corner and I had to fall back. By the time I was able to get back near him, he was on the narrow path south of Summer.
"Passing on the right." I called to alert him to my intention to pass. His response (if, indeed, he heard me and was responding) was to drift even closer to the center of the path and take-up more of it. I would have passed but for the barbed-wire fence to the one side of the path and the curb to the other. The bus stop ahead also constricted my option to pass.
"I need to pass..." I called again, a bit louder. I was now not more than ten feet from the kid as he traipsed obliviously along.
"Room to pass, please!" I called again but with no better luck than my previous two attempts had had.
"HEY! YOU!" I finally yelled. At this point my speedometer was registering 2.5 mph.
"The nerve! How rude some people are!" The kid said, turning around to glare at me.
"I agree, some people have no manners at all." I agreed.
Of course, I mentally seethed all the way back to the office, thinking of things I could have said... I have the feeling, though, most of them (If you'll forgive the intentional pun) would have fallen on deaf ears!
I hope that wherever you are today you're surrounded by polite people!
Don Bergquist - 27th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom