a Sunday bike ride and a small rant

Our city has miles and miles of glorious walking/biking trails that snake along our river valley.  Access is about three minutes from my door and the childs and I often take advantage of the paths to walk or roll one of our many, many wheelie things.

Usually, though, our use of the paths happens during non-peak hours.  As home schoolers, we like to do our public appearances during the day, when most people are off in some sort of institution or workplace, and we can doodle around with limited contact with humans.  (Especially the skate park as we like to get there before the all the good drugs are gone.  That was a joke.)  Admittedly, summer time is a bit of a nightmare, when the regular rules are out the window and there seems to be children everywhere, all the time.  Seriously, don't they need naps or something?

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Girl child, gloriously alone, at the skate park.  Roller skates, scooters, bikes, skateboards... we love all the rolling wheeled toys.

 Anyway, today I decided to give my asthmatic lungs something real to complain about and take a bike ride on the paths and suck in the acidic apocalyptic atmosphere from the burning of Western Canada.  While I should of thought a bit harder about the poor air quality and the desirability of keeping both lungs inside my body, I completely failed to take into account that Sunday afternoon is high time on the city paths.  Definitely not nap time.

It was interesting to see how many people text while walking.  Or riding their skateboards (while holding their helmets in their other hand, since you only need one hand to participate in social media).  Or riding their bikes.  Being a judgmental person and not having a small hand held Google box myself (I prefer to rely on a slate and chalk for my text communications away from the house), I had some harsh thoughts about this but, really, whatever man.  If someone wants to focus almost exclusively on a screen three inches from their nose and ignore the gorgeous nature all around you, then it's no skin off my teeth.

Nope, actually, my problem is not the screen use but the screen use in addition to the ear buds.  I'm glad the concert is private and I don't have to listen to the (smokey) air being polluted with the bewildering popularity of Katy Perry but I do have some concerns about trail users blocking out two of their five senses when I'm cycling past.  Particularly since the ones they've left themselves with to avoid a collision paradoxically requires close physical contact.  Well, maybe not smell, but if you can smell me, we're too close still.

Have you ever noticed that a person bike riding with ear buds and a phone in their hand tend to sort of weave all over the path, like they've just left happy hour?  Wobbly, weaving cycling is also not a good way to avoid collisions.  I can bing my little bell all day long for all the good it does me.  By their own design, they become aware of me and my bicycle at the point where we are touching.

This is not an ideal situation.

I'm not a stranger to contact.  Violent contact.  I find it fun, actually, when I play roller derby.  But today I've left my mouth guard and sense of fun at home, and I'd rather not bend the rim of my bike on a body or send myself careening off the cliff side into the river to avoid running into a willful deaf and blind person.  This time.  Next time it might be worth the bent rim.

Damn tourists.  On my paths.

Lesson learned.  Before my next bike ride or skate, I will research the peak Internet usage times and be sure to avoid the paths at those times.

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Boy child, aka Green Ninja, at the skate park using his hearing and sight to avoid collisions.  I think.  I'm never quite sure what's really going on with this one.

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