The biggest “oops” moment I ever had on a trail was late last spring—and it still resonates in my mind a year later.
Unlike many of my colleagues here at RTC who are die-hard cyclists (although I am proud to say I have recently gotten back on a bike after years—meaning decades—away!)—my favorite trail activity is running; honestly, it’s such a freeing feeling for me to get out there and cover a bunch of miles underneath the beautiful sky and amongst my fellow trail users.
Anyway, back to the day in question: It was a hot day, I had just done a long run on the W&OD Trail (my go-to spot) and had not brought water on the trail (another oops)—and I was a little exhausted. Forgetting to look behind me, I began to step to my left to exit the trail and almost (by a nose) collided—I mean split second—with a fast-moving woman on a bicycle.
It. Was. Close.
She was just as startled as I was, and we both gave each other sheepish grins and waves. I walked away feeling responsible and vowed to make an effort to be more alert in the future!
I didn’t tell this story to assign blame. After all, it’s not blame but a spirit of togetherness that makes trails great. I told the story because it was a huge reminder for me that while trails are one of the best ways to bring an entire community together—to make sure we’re all having an amazing experience, we do need remember a few simple tips of safety and etiquette!
I’m reminded of something my colleague Katie—an avid trail cyclist—once wrote: “I know that every time we hit our favorite pathway, we have the power to lead by example and create a trail culture we want to be part of.” (And proud of!)
That being said—RTC is challenging everyone this summer: Be the best you can be on America’s trails. That’s it. And it’s simple to get involved. Here’s how.
First, bone up on the six “Golden Rules” (they’re just simple tips) for safe trail use.
- Use Safe Speeds.
- Keep Right, Pass Left.
- Standing Still? Stand Aside.
- Mind Your Pets.
- Be Alert.
- Know and Follow the Rules.
Then, take our 2016 pledge to Share the Trail. You’ll be pledging to be your best trail self, so to speak.
Remember (and I’ll leave you with our “Share theTrail” saying for the summer):
Safe + fun = a great time for everyone.
See you on the trail!