In the summer I often go off-road on some of the gravel trails around the Mersey. There seems to be a tutting generation of passive aggressive pedestrians who seem surprised that there would ever be a cyclist on these trails, including those clearly marked as part of the National Cycling Network (although some of those are just muddy pathways.) Even though I am slowing down to pass them and they hear my freewheel, or I even say 'excuse me' to pass them, I get some of the most panicked responses with people jumping out of my way or even stepping in front of me like they were being chased by a lion.
And then come the comments. I was going along a nice wide alternative route to a bypass road, 4m wide Network route. I go to the left of the route and a fella grabs his Golden Retriever and pulls it the full width of the route and says 'Your Welcome' loudly as I pass. This wasn't a fast process, I didn't ask you to throttle your dog. That is even before I have to navigate the horse turds there. And then there was the family on one side of the path. Dad calls out to his dog at the last moment and instead of leaving it to safely snuffle in the bushes it runs to him directly in front of me. Not only is it off the lead on a popular cycleway shouting at it is the very last thing you should be doing.
There are 10's of thousands of miles of mixed use pavements and routes in this country; however pedestrians always assume you are not supposed to be there no matter how slowly you approach them. Roads are for cars, paths are for pedestrians, don’t dare to ride on either or expect the wrath of the tutting classes.
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