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No matter how good you are, or fast, there is always going to be someone who is faster than you. All of us share a passion and enjoy mountain biking, so why potentially ruin someone else’s ride? Every single one of us has at one time been that faster or slower rider. You either catch someone up and you’re riding behind them, or you’re the one who has a rider behind you. It’s not really fun for anyone, is it?
Last weekend, the FNY Collective were running their ‘intro to Golfie’ ride with a group of women. There were about 25 riders in the group and they had a bad encounter with other riders. Aneela McKenna posted about it on her Instagram:
Judging from the comments on the initial post, many people, especially women have had this kind of experience.
For those who may not have access to Instagram, here is Aneela’s post.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. I get asked a lot about why women need their own spaces to ride bikes and this story I’m about to tell explains one reason why.
The @the_fny_collective run these intro to the Golfie rides for those looking to progress from trail centre to off-piste riding.
There were about 25 of us in the group. We made our way towards NYNY and we separated out to give each other space to get safely down the hill.
Later did we find out that one of our group missed out on that post downhill buzz.
When we set off from the tree line on NYNY, she could hear bikes behind her and naturally assumed they were other women in the group. When she got to the bottom a group of five guys came out just after her. One of them shouted at her ‘can I make a suggestion that you pull over when you have faster riders behind you’ to which she replied ‘sorry I thought it was my friend Claire’. He then replied quite aggressively ‘would your friend Claire be coming that fast behind you, I don’t think so’.
The guy didn’t spoil our day but it really was upsetting to hear that one of our group had to endure this kind of behaviour when the whole point of the ride was to build confidence on more challenging trails.
This hasn’t been the first time. Women exchange these kinds of stories all the time – receiving comments that make them feel intimidated while on the trail.
So next time if you hear your pal say something that you think nah that wasn’t very nice, please tell them to get a grip. Yes there is a certain etiquette for racing but if you’re out in the woods just trying to get your PB on Strava, and you’re bullying people off the trail ask yourself is it really worth it, making someone feel really shitty about themselves.
Remember the trails belong to everyone so think before you speak, be kind and most of all don’t be a dick.Aneela McKenna
Give People Space
Sometimes you come up to someone without warning. You can either choose to pull over and give them space, or ride right behind them. Most people choose the latter and are chill. No one wants to feel like they are slowing someone down, and it can be really distracting if you know someone is on your back wheel. It can also be very intimidating, especially for new riders.
Often, general trail etiquette means either the rider that perceives themselves the slowest will let the faster riders go first, or the faster rider will allow the people in front plenty of space. If you want to pull over and let people past, do it when you feel it’s safe and you’re able to do so. But there’s no rule that says you should or have to. And in the case of the above, the rider was unaware that the person behind wasn’t her friend.
Just Take a Minute
We can all get a bit angry in the heat of the moment. It’s easy to rant and shout when you’re caught up and seeing red. Just like it’s very easy to say horrible things to a somewhat faceless entity online. The point is, just take a minute to be calm. There are things you say that you can’t take back.
Just be patient, give people space, and don’t be that person.
We touched upon this briefly in our upside down bikes story, and will certainly be looking to work together to form a set of guidelines that can be communicated with trail users. Mark wrote about trail etiquette a while back, and we discussed who should be the one to give way. As a general rule, there are universal things that we all come to know and understand about riding, sadly, some people think they are above that. Some people consider themselves immune, and etiquette is a word lost on them.
Who Should Give Way Poll Results
|Downhill gives way to uphill rider||409 Votes|
|Uphill gives way to downhill rider||247 Votes|
It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure we look after the places we ride and act in a way that won’t have a negative impact on other people.
It seems there is a mixed view on this one. Some people think shouting rider should be used only in races. Others believe if you shout rider it means the rider in front should move to allow you to pass. Here is one comment that has since been deleted from Aneela’s post. We have removed the name from the comment.
Strava Isn’t The Problem. People are.
Yes, there is a certain etiquette for racing but if you’re out in the woods just trying to get your PB on Strava, and you’re bullying people off the trail ask yourself is it really worth it, making someone feel really shitty about themselves.Aneela McKenna
As Aneela says in her post, the trails are for everyone. So next time you ride take a moment to consider whether your actions mean someone has had a bad time. Strava is a great training tool but the issue is the person using it, not the app itself. Don’t let Strava or any other excuse be the reason you cause someone to have a bad day on their bike.
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